Well, they are done and we're not sure how we feel about it. We're also really confused cause I don't understand everything that happened.
So they were supposed to work on the sewer line Thursday. (It was frigid, a high of 4 degrees.) My husband swung by the house after checking out of the hotel around 10:45 to see if they were there & they were already at work digging up the yard with their backhoe. He asked if they needed anything and they asked him to unlock the basement door in case they needed to get to the utility room for anything. Then we didn't hear from them the rest of the day until I was just leaving work at 5:05. The Sewer Excavator Guy called and I thought he was calling to see if I could come over. But he was calling to tell me they didn't finish after all - that they needed to get different fittings. I asked if the camera had been run yet & he said not yet as the Camera/Draincleaner guy couldn't come until Friday also. He was mostly calling to let us know to go lock the basement door.
So right off the bat I'm wondering if they really didn't finish because of fittings or because they were waiting for the camera and because of the extreme cold. So I went by and locked the door. A ditch was dug from about 5ft from the house (about where they had stopped the last time) to a few feet from the street (just short of the red painted stripes showing where the power lines are). A long piece of Schedule 40 pipe was laid alongside the hole, propped against the backhoe which was straddling the ditch.
Then today we don't hear anything again. My husband avoided going by the house because he didn't want them to feel like we were checking up on them. (silly of him) I swung by the house on my way to work at 8am and unlocked the door, texted the Ditch guy & told him but didn't hear back. Then he calls me about 3pm and asks if I can run up to talk.
I get there and the backhoe is just finishing up piling the dirt back over the former ditch. It's in piles because of the cold, the ditch guy says it is too frozen to clean up nicely and it'll just have to settle in the spring.
He tells me that the line didn't belly after all. That the camera/draincleaner guy just thought it bellied because there was so much water in the line. That there was a spot with a series of fittings and a small curve about 20 feet out that was solidly packed with dirt/gravel. He said it was all from the earlier break that was repaired - that during the previous break, there had been so much gravel washed down the line that it had created a second clog that they hadn't known about at the time.
So there was the previous spot coming out of the house which was repaired, then a long stretch of pipe, then the clog, then more pipe running under the power lines, under the road to the main. They re-used the long stretch of pipe because it was fine and dandy, schedule 40 pipe which he likes, very clean, etc. They just replaced the clogged chunk.
At some point (I'm really not clear when) the camera/draincleaner guy cleaned the pipes. He got supposedly 125 feet out cleaning which is a mystery to them as supposedly the city main starts about 20 feet out from where they were. But his camera is broken from when he came the other day and it slammed into our clog of gravel. He actually left today to head to Denver and fix his camera. So he couldn't use the gps feature to find exactly where the line was under the road.
Sewer Excavator Guy kept saying camera/draincleaner guy didn't come today cause he had to go repair his camera. And he said he held off having him come yesterday since they were having issues with the fittings. So I'm a little confused when did he run 125 feet of line to clean if he didn't come? Or he did come, then left, then didn't come back?
So since camera/cleaner couldn't come Friday, the contractor/digger guy ran a hose with some kind of sewer nozzle. He ran the hose 50 feet out to make sure there was no gravel left in the pipe. When he pointed a light into the pipe (the piece poking out from under the power line where they were about to replace clogged section) he could see two spots where it wasn't perfectly straight - where the line was offset a tiny bit. But he says it was offset with the further piece slightly below the closer piece and since water runs on the bottom, we should be fine and not to worry. He also never felt his hose hit the city main line which he thinks is odd. But without a camera, there's no way they can determine anything for sure. According to the city, the city main is 20 feet out. But he never felt it so he's not sure what is going on.
So because of the two off-sync parts of the pipes & the fact that they aren't sure where the city main line is, he recommends having camera/draincleaner guy back out in the spring/summer just to have a look and make sure everything is A-OK.
My husband and I just don't know what to think at this point.
For one, if this clog was part of the original problem, then shouldn't they have run the hose the first time and caught the problem then? Should we have to pay for this when we already paid once? Or at least, should we expect a discount - no transportation fees and so on? (We don't know what the bill will be - he quoted us $1500-1700 on Tuesday when we first discussed this. Which is how much we paid last time. But that was when we thought the line bellied, not that it was more clog from the earlier disconnect.)
Two, this whole part about "the pipes not being seamless when he shines a light down them, but not to worry, but have it checked out in the summer". And the city sewer line they aren't sure is where it is supposed to be. How should we feel about this? We wanted peace of mind and to know 100% no more problems and I don't feel like we were given that. But at the same time, if this guy was trying to give us the run-around, he wouldn't have told us all of this in the first place.
So not feeling like we can just relax, not worry, resume life as normal & just mark on our calendar to have a camera run in a few months. I'm trying to talk to the City Public Works Director who came out to watch and took some pictures of his own. (Is that normal or just one of the things that comes with being in such a small town?) He worked for 12 years with a different sewer-excavator crew so he should know his stuff and hopefully be able to make recommendations. I left a voice mail yesterday, tried calling today and got voice mail again and didn't want to leave a message two days in a row. We're still waiting for a bill and pictures from Sewer Excavator Guy - last time he dropped them off the very next day but nothing so far this time. But it's only been a few days, maybe he was just really fast that time. Or maybe he's decided not to bill us at all... I posted the whole saga on a plumbing forum and someone there recommended getting a different camera guy asap. We probably will soon as I manage to get ahold of the city guy. If we even have another camera guy around here.