Excuse Me, Have You Got Any Bituminous Fiber Pipe?

Over the last week or so, and especially this past Sunday, the drains starting backing up in the basement here at the house. After showering, or washing the dishes or flushing the toilet, the water emerged and flooded the floor.

So I called the drainage and plumbing company.

They ended up digging out the main drainage thingy (as it is known) in the basement bathroom, and replacing the circa 1956 cast iron fitting with polyvinyl chloride piping (PVC to you).

The pile of rather smelly mud reaches about 4 feet high.

They ran a fiber-optic camera cable through the drainage pipe that runs from the house to the city sewers.

It revealed that the pipe had collapsed, and was the cause of the water backing up. The pipe is composed of bitumen-coated fiber (according to a neighbour who is also a plumber and has lived in the neighbourhood for a quarter century). Basically, this bituminous fiber pipe is a thick cardboard pipe dipped in tarry-stuff - think of rolled up tar paper for your roof. After the war, there were restrictions and shortages of building materials so they used what they could.

So they have spent the day digging the front hole out, and occasionally coming into the house to poke about. I gave them coffee and loitered around the hole for a few minutes until I figured I should leave and get back to work (I worked from home).

The outer hole is 4 foot square and 11 feet deep.

I could not see anything in the earth that they removed, such as arrow-heads, chests full of gold, fossils, or even Mayan Temple ruins. A little gold would have raised my spirits.

Tomorrow they are going to put a machine in the hole out front, and feed a chain from this machine through to the bathroom. First though, a city inspector will review the pipe and see if we are candidates for a city rebate program to help offset the costs (about 20% if we're lucky).

To the end of the chain they will affix some blades, and then some PVC pipe.

The machine will pull the blades back through the existing (blocked) course, and this will cut the bituminous fiber pipe, and line the void with PVC pipe.

Then we will pay them a huge amount of money and they will go and we will research how to subsist on inexpensive rice and peas until the summer.



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