Cleanout on a pressurized grinder pump system


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Old 03-21-16, 04:13 PM
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Cleanout on a pressurized grinder pump system

My sanitary system is a grinder pump that ties into a private sewer system about 140 ft from the house. The lateral pipe from the house to the main is 1-1/4" pvc with a valve assembly right before the main sewer pipe.. We had to dig up the lateral line today since there was a crack in the male fitting going into the valve assembly that had to be replace. The plumber suggested putting in a cleanout at this location as well since it was 140' from the house and if there was ever a clog that you couldn't get to from the house. So he put in the cleanout "Y" and ran a riser pipe up to ground level which is 52". I went out after he left and saw that the riser pipe was full of water. My concern now is living in the Midwest with freezing temperatures the water in the cleanout riser is going to freeze and crack the pipe if it isn't empty 36" down from grade. His solution is a) install a rubber test balloon in the pipe and place it 36" down to avoid freezing water; or b) cut the cleanout riser off and cap at 36" down from grade.
In your opinion will option A work, or would I have to constantly check to make sure the balloon is inflated during the winter months. Need to give him direction which way to proceed--either install the balloon or dig down 36" and cut/cap the cleanout riser.
 
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Old 03-21-16, 05:42 PM
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I would bury the cleanout and leave a marker so you know exactly where to dig if needed. You'll be out of luck if it ever clogs when the ground is frozen a couple feet down.

Another option might be to shove a 3' or 4' long piece of foam pipe insulation sleeve (like put around hot water pipes) down into the cleanout. The insulation would displace most of the water and be squishy to absorb the pressure of expanding ice. If there should be a clog in winter the auger or drain snake can chew through the foam to get to the drain.
 
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Old 03-21-16, 06:20 PM
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Thanks Pilot Dane. I think I would use the pipe insulation as a back up to the balloon in case it would happen to deflate. If I understand you correctly you would start with the smallest piece of insulation you could get and keep adding larger pieces till the pipe area is filled completely.
 
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Old 03-21-16, 06:28 PM
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No.... I believe he meant to use one piece. Pick the best size to fit.
Pipe insulation is labeled by inside diameter so maybe a piece of 3/4" or 1".
 
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Old 03-22-16, 04:36 AM
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I'd still like to know if the balloon will stay inflated or will eventually go flat like a bike tire.
 
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Old 03-22-16, 08:11 AM
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I think you will have difficulty keeping a consumer grade balloon from a big box store inflated long term. I'm sure it would hold for a good while but it would need periodic attention. There are industrial ones intended for harsher duty and longer life that would work better. They are often used by municipalities and factories for blocking pipes. Usually though they are intended only for temporary use.
 
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Old 03-23-16, 10:15 AM
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Am I the only one who is confused/concerned as to why the riser is full of water? I would imagine the clog further down the pipe would be more of a concern than the water freezing.

Or am I missing something?
 
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Old 03-27-16, 05:56 PM
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after further testing we determined the that "temporary" cap was allowing the sewer to loose pressure and not allowing the check valve downstream to open. Thus, sewage would be stopped at the check valve and follow the path of least resistance up the cleanout riser pipe. We installed a screwed cap on the cleanout, which did not allow the system to loose pressure. With the system pressure normalized it allowed the check valve to open properly and allowed the sewage to drain normally. With the grinder pump off, I removed the cleanout cap. Air immediately was released as the cap was being removed, but no water was evident in the cleanout pipe. I stuck a tape measure into the cleanout riser and no water was found down at least 40". So it seems the riser is going to function properly without any sort of mechanical device to keep the water below the freezing level. As long as the riser doesn't develop an air/pressure leak the riser seems to act similar to an expansion tank on a domestic water system. I am going to continue to monitor the riser pipe over the summer to be sure water is not evident in the pipe.
 
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Old 03-28-16, 10:02 AM
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Thanks for letting us know the solution! Sounds like it was an easy fix, which are always the best kind!

-Mike
 
 

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