Plumber Traces Flooding Problem Caused by Misaligned Pipes

California plumber finds misaligned pipes due to ground settlement and guides family throughout the repair process.
Plumber Traces Flooding Problem Caused by Misaligned Pipes
Drain technician Boris MacDonald (left) and field specialist Ryan Colgan stand in the warehouse at Pacific Drain & Plumbing in Escondido, California.

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When Boris MacDonald, drain technician with Arrow Pipeline Repair, dba Pacific Drain & Plumbing, was dispatched to handle a late-night emergency call, he arrived at a residential setting to deal with a backed up sewer line and the related fallout.

And that fallout was already severe.

When water was used without an awareness of the existing blockage, it created significant flooding damage. An entire section of the house is positioned about a foot lower than the rest, and this lower section — including the master bedroom — was filled with sewage.

The family was in a panic, recalled field specialist Ryan Colgan, 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.


“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 300 sewer 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. From there, 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 that the remediation work was underway.


After helping restore a sense of normalcy for the customers, Colgan set out to identify the source of the problem as well. 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, which is common where the plumbing changes from plastic to metal. Plumbing code dictates the use of rubber couplings in these scenarios, he explained, but it doesn’t take much to offset.

“With an offset, we can’t use any lining or any of the newer technologies,” Colgan says. “We just have to dig it up and repair it.” Following his inspection, he put together a proposal for the repair work that recommended digging down about five feet, cutting out a 3-foot section of pipe, and rebuilding it from there.

When handling this type of work, he noted the care that the company and its people 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, explains Kevin Post, 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. 


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