Drain Cleaner’s Rapid Response Halts Flood Damage for Customer

California plumbing and drain cleaning firm finds misaligned pipes due to ground settlement during emergency sewer line backup call and guides family through the repair process

Drain Cleaner’s Rapid Response Halts Flood Damage for Customer

Boris MacDonald and Ryan Colgan of Pacific Drain & Plumbing.

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When drain technician Boris MacDonald was dispatched to handle a late-night emergency call at a San Diego-area residence, he arrived to more than just a backed-up sewer line.

Water was used without an awareness of the existing blockage, and it had created significant flood damage. An entire section of the home was positioned about a foot lower than the rest, and the lower section — including the master bedroom — was filled with sewage. The family was in a panic, recalls Ryan Colgan, field specialist, because this was happening late at night, they didn’t understand why it was happening, and it was frightening to see just how quickly the problem impacted their home.

Here’s how the crew at Pacific Drain & Plumbing handled the emergency situation.

Fast Fix

“We were able to open up the drain, so we were able to fix the immediate problem and allow the water to drain down,” Colgan says, noting that this quick solution using a Spartan Tool 300 machine helped prevent any additional damage. “They were really happy that we were able to get on it right away that night and not put them off.”

In situations where remediation work is needed, it is the company’s practice to leave customers with three approved vendor referrals. The customer chose one, and that company was called to begin the process of drying out the portion of the home impacted by the sewage spill and flooding damage.

The following day, Colgan arrived on site once again to ensure that the problem had been contained and the remediation work was underway.

Digging Deeper

After helping restore a sense of normalcy for the customers, Colgan set out to identify the source of the problem. Using a RIDGID sewer camera with a CS10 color monitor, he searched for possible causes at the root of the emergency call.

“With my sewer camera, I was able to identify in the front yard a severe misalignment in the sewer pipe,” he says.

The issue was more than likely caused by natural settling, common where plumbing changes from plastic to metal. Plumbing code dictates the use of rubber couplings in these scenarios, Colgan says, but it doesn’t take much to offset.

Following his inspection, he put together a proposal for the repair work that recommended digging down about 5 feet, cutting out a 3-foot section of pipe, and rebuilding it from there. When handling this type of work, he notes the care that the company and its employees put into securing repairs properly in order to prevent any future misalignments.

“We usually put a rock base and some concrete along the repair section,” he says, and the compaction helps fend off future sags in the land.

It is important to hire the right company to handle emergency plumbing requests effectively, says Kevin Post, company president. And from his perspective, the ability to offer all forms of sewer line repair and rehabilitation — pipe lining, pipe bursting, and the traditional dig and repair — is an advantage when it comes to providing a 24/7, one-stop shop for customers dealing with urgent issues.

What’s an example of an emergency call your company has received, and how did you deal with it? Comment below. 

And read more about Pacific Drain & Plumbing in this profile that was featured in the May 2015 issue of Cleaner magazine.


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