the main drain from the house may be plugged with roots,
or the drain to the septic tank might be full; so first
check to be sure other drains in the house are clear. If
other drains are plugged and toilets don't flush, the
problem is most likely in the main sewer outside the
house. Temporary repairs can be made by using a plumber's
tape, a 50' to 100' long strip of steel about 1" wide and
1/8" thick with a point on the end.
a cleanout plug in the basement near the outside wall
where the drain goes out to the septic tank or street
sewer. With a large wrench remove the brass plug and
start the point of the tape down the drain. If the tape
hits an obstacle, ram it back and forth until it clear.
When it clears you will probably hear the water gurgle as
the pipe empties. With a hose flush the drainpipe before
replacing the plug.
the stoppage feels like roots, then water draining slow
and the stoppage recurs frequently you might try copper
sulfate to kill the roots. The following steps should be
stoppage is serious and recurrent, apply 5% copper
sulfate crystals, once a month until condition is much
better. A drugstore or chemical supply store has this
this with one pound doses per year (mark on your
allow copper sulfate to stand in fixture traps, as metal
corrosion may occur. Flush the crystals through toilet
bowl or through the cleanout in the basement and follow
with enough water to insure (a) their transmission
through the soil pipe to beyond the cellar wall and (b)
their conveyance to and against the root obstruction.
NOTE: The clean-out is not the drain where you dump
laundry water. It is the place where a cap must be
removed to gain entrance to the drain.
Don't expect immediate results from copper sulfate; only
the life of the roots is taken by the copper treatment,
and thereafter the normal processes of decay must ensue
before roots can be carried on out to the main
expect the treatment to clean sewers mechanically
obstructed by breakage, bad construction or foreign
copper sulfate is used in connection with a septic tank
tile field, the solution could be poured into an opening
in the tile line beyond the tank itself. If you run the
solution in the through the septic tank it will be
diluted and not clear a stoppage in the tile field and
might temporarily affect the bacterial action in the
article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist,
Emeritus, with references from Michigan Extension
bulletin First Aid for Plumbing.