You go about your day passing by a pipe in your front yard every day without giving it much thought until something terrible happens: waste water (and other matter) from your plumbing starts coming out of it. What is it and why is it happening? Find out here.
What the Pipe Is
That pipe is called a clean-out pipe. It's there to give plumbers access to the sewer line so that they can clear it without having to access it from the sewer side. It's attached to the plumbing coming from your house, but nothing is supposed to come out of it.
Why It's Coming Out
Typically, when this happens, it means just one thing: something is blocking your sewer pipe.
The reason for this is that the clean-out pipe acts like an overflow release, trapped between the sewer line in the street and the plumbing coming out of your house. If water is flushed down from the house and is blocked by something in the sewer line, there's nowhere for it to go. Once the pipe is completely filled, if you flush a toilet again or run a sink for a long time, the water will likely end up coming up out of the clean-out because it's the only place left to go.
Unfortunately, this can lead to some pretty disgusting situations, as often it's not just water that comes out of this pipe. If you're having this problem, stop using the plumbing in your house immediately to avoid having more filth coming out in your front yard.
What to Do
What you should do is call a plumber. They're the experts at this kind of thing and can often fix the problem in no time.
If the clog is simply that - a clog of material that's come down from the pipes - your plumber will likely use a mechanical snake to break up the clog. Then, by flushing it further down the pipe, it'll lead out to the sewer and your pipe will be clear. You shouldn't have the problem again at this point.
However, there are instances where the blockage in the pipe is caused by an external factor, like tree roots that have penetrated through the pipe. This is usually a problem because as the tree continues to grow, it will keep causing problems in the pipe.
In this case, your plumber may suggest removing the tree or at least cutting off the roots that are causing pipe problems. The pipe itself will either need to be patched or replaced.
If you ever have this problem, stop using the plumbing in your house immediately and get in touch with a plumber. The sooner you do, the less gross stuff will end up in your front yard.
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