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Old 06-21-2008, 12:06 PM   #1
57_Stepside
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Default Garage Floor Drain Backing up

We moved into a new house that has a 30x42 shop that is probably 10-15 years old (Pictures later). There is a drain in the shop floor that may be backing up and spewing oily water on the floor after a rain. The center of the shop, close to the drain, gets wet & oily while the perimeter is damp to dry. The building has steel roof, ceiling and siding. One long wall has older exposed R-11 insulation, while the opposite wall has some foam backed with paper for insulation. One short side has the garage doors and its opposite side is insulated. I do not know what is above the ceiling for insulation, but I donít think this is condensation problem. I have thought about surrounding the drain with sandbags (play sand) to really determine if thatís it.

Where do these drains typically discharge and can it be pumped or cleaned (augured)? The house has a septic tank, but would the shop drain be hooked into that?
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:14 PM   #2
jay50
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Default Re: Garage Floor Drain Backing up

Oily water is not a good sign; wonder if previous owner dumped all the waste fluids down the drain?

Get a snake and run down the drain to see if you have an obstruction.
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:59 PM   #3
Vicegrip
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Default Re: Garage Floor Drain Backing up

It sounds like rain water is getting into the pipes between a line clog and your shop floor drain. It can't flow out downhill so it backs up into your garage. Does the garage drain drain water? Test with a garden hose to see if it backs up. If it backs up how long before the water shows is a crude indicator of how far the clog is way from the drain. What other drains are on the same pipe line? Drains such as sometimes seen in landings in outside stairwells or entryways. If none you might have a cracked or crushed pipe that is both blocking the line and letting rain water in. In the mean time you can get and install a pipe plug to keep water from backing up into the garage.

Last edited by Vicegrip; 06-21-2008 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:09 PM   #4
p-nor
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Default Re: Garage Floor Drain Backing up

are there any other drians in the shop? bathroom, sink? is the main house at a higher elevation? worst case senario is that the leach field is bad. if it only happens after a large rain storm water could be entering the septic tank from the leach field and then backing up to the floor drain. this is only a possiblity if this is the lowest point.


french drains, parking lot drains, and most irrigation/erosion type drains don't go to the sewer or septic. they should daylight into a lower area or head to a sump where they are pumped to a lower area. if this drain was installed with the intention of it being a shop, i'm hoping nobody planned on the stuff that would certainly make its way down a shop drain ending up in a creek or field. in this case, it would be tied into the septic.

it's pretty tough to say over the internet. a sewer snake, hose or video inspection camera will tell you a lot more.







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Old 06-24-2008, 02:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Garage Floor Drain Backing up

I'm with Jay 50 on this. It sounds like the previous owner dumped something that should not have been dumped. I also don't think it is code to dump into a septic tank but not for certain. I would try and get it figured out myself before calling someone in and it isn't up to code. I would try the garden hose route. Turn it on and start feeding it down, pushing and pulling, pushing and pulling until you find the obstruction. You may have a bend before it drains into whatever it goes into and it is allowing water to backup before that. You may also want to have your septic pumped around the same time that you are working on this, to see if it does drain into the septic and that is not some of the oily residue you are seeing. Some septics have the gray water go into them so that may be part of it. The heavy rains could be backing up the septic forcing the water into the least resistance line. At a heavy rain, does any of the stools, or other drains in the house have any problems with draining or slow draining?
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Garage Floor Drain Backing up

Rain water should not be connected to the sanitary sewer but the floor drain should be. It could be that the floor drain is simply too low. In that case, expose the pipe somewhere and put in a backwater valve (like a sideways check valve). Pick a location where you can get to it, like a hole in the floor where you can put a cover, so that you can service it later.
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Garage Floor Drain Backing up

in a septic system, rain water is connected to the waste. if the leach field becomes saturated, the rain water will run through the leach lines and enter the septic tank. if it rains long enough, it can make its way from the tank back towards the drains in the house. IF this is what's happening (i have no reason to think it is other than it's a possiblity), putting a check valve on the floor drain will just let the water build up further and find the next lowest drain.

if you have risers on your septic tank you can run water down each drain you're concerned about and see if the water is entering the tank. at least this way you can see what is going where. if the floor drain is headed to the septic tank is should have a p-trap on it. now, there's no guarantee that what should be, is. if it just runs outside like a rain gutter drain, it wouldn't need a p-trap.






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Old 06-25-2008, 12:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: Garage Floor Drain Backing up

If you just moved into this home, then you want to immediately contact the seller and tell him that you have a problem with the garage drain. My bet is that he dumped oil into the floor drain, and that the floor drain might be nothing more than a drum under the floor with holes in it. When you get heavy rains, the ground water fills the drum, and up comes the water and the old oil that is clogging the soil around the barrel. You also have a serious issue of ground contamination, especially if there is a water well involved. If he dumped motor oil into the drain, then you have a hazardous waste clean up problem. If you ignore this, then when you go to sell the property, no matter when that is, you will be legally obligated to disclose this to the next buyer, and there goes your sale. If you were represented by an attorney at the closing, then I would talk with him. Once the seller disappears off the face of the earth, then you are stuck with a hazardous waste clean up problem. Ignoring the problem today isn't going to make it go away in the future. Deal with it now, before it is too late, and you potentially have a clean up that will cost more than your home is worth..
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: Garage Floor Drain Backing up

Last Activity: 06-21-2008 01:06 PM

Why do people make a post and then just abandon the site, and never come back to read what we have written???????
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: Garage Floor Drain Backing up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Junkman View Post
If you just moved into this home, then you want to immediately contact the seller and tell him that you have a problem with the garage drain. My bet is that he dumped oil into the floor drain, and that the floor drain might be nothing more than a drum under the floor with holes in it. When you get heavy rains, the ground water fills the drum, and up comes the water and the old oil that is clogging the soil around the barrel. You also have a serious issue of ground contamination, especially if there is a water well involved. If he dumped motor oil into the drain, then you have a hazardous waste clean up problem. If you ignore this, then when you go to sell the property, no matter when that is, you will be legally obligated to disclose this to the next buyer, and there goes your sale. If you were represented by an attorney at the closing, then I would talk with him. Once the seller disappears off the face of the earth, then you are stuck with a hazardous waste clean up problem. Ignoring the problem today isn't going to make it go away in the future. Deal with it now, before it is too late, and you potentially have a clean up that will cost more than your home is worth..
Yeah, might be an old rag that got stuck in the drain when he was emptying his waste oil into the drain.
Seller had to have known about this and failed to disclose this; not good.

Your property could effectively become an EPA superfund clean up site; very costly. If so, might be cheaper just to give the house to the gov. instead of bearing the expense.

Trying evaluate the situation first without getting others involved. A plumbing contractor might tip the county health dept off to the situation and you are really screwed up front.
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:30 AM   #11
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Default Re: Garage Floor Drain Backing up

Based upon what others have posted you should probably deal with it yourself and not tell another soul. You might have gotten screwed by the previous owner. You don't want to have to get doubly screwed here. Fix it yourself however you can and don't look back or talk about it again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jay50 View Post
Yeah, might be an old rag that got stuck in the drain when he was emptying his waste oil into the drain.
Seller had to have known about this and failed to disclose this; not good.

Your property could effectively become an EPA superfund clean up site; very costly. If so, might be cheaper just to give the house to the gov. instead of bearing the expense.

Trying evaluate the situation first without getting others involved. A plumbing contractor might tip the county health dept off to the situation and you are really screwed up front.
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Old 06-30-2008, 05:38 PM   #12
57_Stepside
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Default Re: Garage Floor Drain Backing up

Thanks for the advice everyone. Finally got an internet connection here after moving in and 2 weeks of trying. I posted the orginal message from a friend's place. I have a broken leg, but when its better I'll try the garden hose thing. We have no problems with the house plumbing and the shop drain hasn't backed up again despite more rain.
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Old 06-30-2008, 05:42 PM   #13
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Default Re: Garage Floor Drain Backing up

I had some bottles of jack oil and gear lube that were tipped over in the back of my pick-up, also a spare 3 speed transmission back there. Those were probably the source of the oil. A little would go a long way. I have a catch pan under the tranny and its got some oil in it now.
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Old 06-30-2008, 05:57 PM   #14
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Default Re: Garage Floor Drain Backing up

Dump some diluted dish washing soap down the drain. It will help to break up the oil and disperse it. If it isn't much, then the ground microbes will take care of it in a few years.
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