Readers's Spotlight: A Reader Shares Her "Prep Pro Moment"

Raw sewage backed into the showerToday I'm sharing a story that was shared with us by one of our readers--specifically in dealing with raw sewage that can back up into our homes. For the record, I strongly advise that people become familiar with how their sewage system works for their home. If it's city sewage, it runs the risk of filling back into your house in the event of an electrical outage, flooding or other malfunction--especially given what a disaster our nation's infrastructure is in presently. If you have your own sewage tank, this type of problem is still likely under the wrong set of circumstances, but can be handled the same way you would city sewage. We specifically have tennis balls with the plan to firmly place them in the toilet and the bath and shower drains to plug up the drains so that we don't have raw sewage coming back into our homes.
 
Unfortunately, everyone is getting desperate for money, and the work ethic is eroding as well in our nation. The combination of both of these makes for unreliable services and work product as noted in this story from one of our readers. She's makes a few good points and she shares a couple of good tips for ensuring that the consumer is always playing defense.
"This past week my family has been working on testing our preparedness efforts and highlighted to me areas that we need to improve. We have had a horrible plumbing problem and one that is proving to be extremely costly to our family. Our drain lines backed up into our home, filling our walk-in shower with sewage. One day while I had a child home sick from school, all of a sudden, the sound of blub, blub, blub came up and then the smell came. Oh my goodness, NO this is not happening to me! Trying to not panic was difficult for me at this point, because no one wants sewage in their home, right? However, I remained calm and did not lose my mind. I shut off the washing machine, grabbed old towels and the liquid plumber and plunger. That did not fix the problem, thus a call to the professional was needed.
 
Here is where my preps came into perfect play. I needed to use our Raw sewage creeps into the bathtub portable potty. You cannot live with 3 kids and no potty. I had to get out the sink tubs to collect the water for washing our hands. I began to think of what I was going to do if the professionals could not fix this tonight? My husband needs to shower when he gets home from work. He works a very labor-intensive job, thus out came the portable shower. How was I going to wash dishes and continue my daily laundry schedule? Good thing I have my home made washing buckets for the laundry and pots big enough to wash dishes in on the back porch. Not to mention the fact that I am glad I have paper products for times like this when doing dishes is not the best thing. Not that having paper products are the answer to a long term down situation, but for times like this, they work great!
 
We are still working with the professionals, as the problem is not fixed the way it needs to be. Lesson learned here is, roots of trees are far reaching and a nearly 50 year-old home means you best think of plumbing issues. It is not “if” they will happen but when. We need more potty options and I need more laundry buckets. The thought of what would I do if this happened when calling a plumber is not available to me leads me to find a plumber and get them in my circle of trust. There are some skills I just don’t have the time to master. This problem is going to cost our family a huge amount of money and that is a sinking feeling.

Next day--problem STILL not fixed: Not only was yesterday frustrating, my son was throwing up in the middle of the night......... I may actually have to drink coffee this morning and I don't drink coffee!   I am afraid to run my washer or take a shower because I don't trust that my lines are cleared. I don't want to deal with any more sewage in my house. I will throw up if I have to deal with it again. Swear to goodness, an outhouse and a septic tank sound good right about now.  See, this is where having an alternative way of doing or taking a shower another way, and have a back-up potty alternative comes in handy. I will be putting it all to use today.

To make matters worse, we're being tossed around on the pricing. They see we're in an awful mess and they are going back on their word to take care of everything--especially given that the problem got worse due to them not fixing it properly the first time. As a result, I'm having to get sneaky with them and using an obscured tape recorder to record the TRUTHFUL statements made by the men doing the work which is drastically different than what they are telling me at the office on the phone.

End of day:  Finally... I raised cane and got the pricing we were promised and repairs finished. What a rough couple of days!

Better to have this happen now than in a society down situation. I heard that message loud and clear. I also am thankful that I have my preps on hand and I was able to have this hinder my “normal” life without a feeling of panic and helplessness.

Raw sewage leaving its unwelcome mark in the showerTherefore, thank you to the Preparedness Pro for sharing her skill sets and articles. It is because of this blog site that I was even as prepared as I was. My family, including my not so prepping hubby, sees more that I do not just do this to focus on the negatives of life. In fact, I do a task so that negative things in life do not overcome my family and have us running around and arguing over what to do next.

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Comments

just had our same experience

just had our same experience with this - strange in the winter they say cause most roots are dormant??? had to remove a front porch to find the main line clean out port. anyway spring will have us removing a large pine tree near the problem area. and yes buying a porta potty for our 'camping' (prepping cause I am not camping until the SHTF and I have too). the bucket method really bit it for potty but it worked and could do it. my short list is stock piling more 5 gallon buckets and a new/dedicated plunger for washing clothes. hole in lid - fit plunger in and plunge plunge plunge away to wash clothes.

I prefer the Wonder Washer

Preparedness Pro's picture

I prefer the Wonder Washer over the plunger and bucket method, just FYI.

Roots may be dormant but that

Roots may be dormant but that is irrelevant if they have managed to push through into the main home line that drains into the city system. In this situation the roots almost certainly had already penetrated the line and over time the line started to plug up.

Copper Sulfate in the drain

Copper Sulfate in the drain lines to kill roots and if you live in the city, dig up your sewer line, install a valve.Open and close valve to keep it working until you need it..
The guy at the top of the hill will flush until he get poop in his house.
When sewer systems fail, this is the only way to keep the poop out of your home.

I strongly recommend having a

I strongly recommend having a backflow valve installed in your home. This device allows water to drain out of your main plumbing stack as normal but if the pipe begins to backfill the valve automatically closes (via mechanical means, no power required) preventing this exact situation. I just had one installed in my home as a preventative maintenance measure, not because I had experienced the problem. It cost me $1,500 to have the unit installed (plumber jackhammered the cement floor at the location of the plumbing stack, installed the unit, refilled the hole and poured new cement) but gratefully my city has a rebate program for this type of thing and I received $1,200 back.

The poster is lucky that the sewage apparently stayed in the shower and sinks. Most homes have a floor drain in the laundry room so that water can drain away if the washing machine leaks. The sewage could have come up that drain directly into the house. Or, if the problem had been a little worse (for example, if it had started to rain when the problem was happening) the sinks and shower stall could have overflowed.

Most people never think of this type of situation until it happens.

That is a Fantastic

That is a Fantastic suggestion and one I will follow up on. The area of the country we live in, there are no ground floor drains as there are no basements. Everything is on a slab and it has proven to be very educational to us. The reason the shower filled the way it did is, it is at ground level. I love the backflow valve option and as we still have a long way to go to fix the reason this is happening, I will be sure to ask about that valve.

Glenda we love when people

Preparedness Pro's picture

Glenda we love when people want to share our information.  What we ask is that you send them a link that directs them to our site.   Thank you for sharing.

Be careful about using tennis

Be careful about using tennis balls or other items to block the lines to prevent backup. If the backup is under pressure, it will potentially break/buckle lines and even basement floor. The only safe way to prevent back up is to have a backflow valve installed.

In the past we've had sewage issues and they were miserable. We've also been without water, which was a problem, but I'd 100% rather deal with hauling in clean water than trying to get rid of sewage.

Wow! What a challenging

Wow! What a challenging experience to test her preparedness. Thanks for sharing it. It has me thinking...

Wow-what an article! The

Wow-what an article! The stupidest thing that I ever did was sell my house in the Sierras. I got so tired of the 2 hour drive to work and the 2 hour drive home, that I caved. But the house was on a super productive well-we never worried about water, and I had a septic system. 2 wonderful, liberating things to own. And yes, I was way out in the boonies. The man who built the house, had an overly large septic tank put in. I had a plumber out the first year to check if it needed pumped. He goes, "Lady, the only way that is going to happen is if you turn this into a hotel!" These 2 items are definitely on my list of must haves for the next house!

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