Plumbing Problem, broken glass in sewer line
December 23, 2008 12:30 AM   Subscribe

Plumbing problem. Broken glass fell down my sewer line when the toilet was removed... what do I do?

This is a really dumb problem. I am remodeling our bathroom and after removing the toilet during demo work, I decided to plug the sewer line, hole, or whatever its called with a wine bottle. (hey, it fit perfectly and yes I freely admit it was a totally stupid thing to do). Well of course I broke the wine bottle by accident and now there is broken glass down in the line. The pipe is too narrow to reach down in to remove the glass by hand... I'm concerned that if I don't try to remove it, it will plug the sewer line.

Does anyone have any tips to try and remove the glass? Should I call a professional and have them solve the problem?

posted by purenitrous to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Will a shop vac or your household vacuum cleaner hose fit down the hole? If the glass is out of reach, and the glass pieces are small, I'd flush the line with a strong jet of water from the garden hose. This would work better if the bathroom is located close to the front of the house, where there are fewer elbows in the line, though.
Good luck, I know how expensive plumbers can be!
posted by Acacia at 1:49 AM on December 23, 2008

Were I in your situation, I would
-take the nearest long, sturdy thing that would fit down the hole, and
-smash the glass into itty bitty pieces to be sure that the bottom of the wine bottle isn't still intact and circular down there, then
-pour some water down there and
-pretend this never happened.

People flush strange, strange things down their toilets. Bits of broken glass are minor league. You can panic when it's a full whiskey bottle or a pet, though.

[disclaimers: grew up redneck, not a homeowner]
posted by Acari at 1:51 AM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

Is this at grade? If not, and you can get to things below, I'd get below it and take off the 90 that leads up to the toilet.

However, if you're at grade (in the ground), there's a 50/50 chance it's a 4" pipe, which can take a *lot* of abuse. I'd flood the thing wiht a couple buckets of water.
posted by notsnot at 4:01 AM on December 23, 2008

There was thread a couple of weeks ago about a similar issue. I don't remember exactly what and am too lazy to go dig it up but I do remember that one poster had relayed a tale of finding a two liter pop bottle in the pipe running to the municipal sewer line (I don't remember what this pipe is called, only that it's 4"). A two liter pop bottle is bigger than a smashed up wine bottle so I'd think you were OK. YMMV, IANAP, IAARIP (am a random internet person).
posted by LunaticFringe at 6:32 AM on December 23, 2008

This is the AskMe LunaticFringe is referring to, I believe.
posted by TedW at 7:15 AM on December 23, 2008

Oh yeah, that was my thread. The toilet is still working great too after much use so I'm assuming that bottle of lotion is long gone.
posted by rainygrl716 at 11:57 AM on December 23, 2008

I wouldn't stress too much about it. Flush it with a strong hose... if you're really worried about it, you could purchase an expandable plug at a plumbing supply shop. I can't remember the name of the device but it's essentially a bladder you screw onto the end of a hose. You put the bladder in a large pipe (like a toilet drain) and the pressure of the water fills the bladder to make a plug before flowing out the bottom of the bladder. It will allow you to flush the pipe more completely than with just a naked hose.

For what it's worth I had to clean out the main drain in my house last year. 100 year old house, the roto-rooter guy pulled out two five gallon buckets of roots, three GI Joe guys, a "my little pony", several matchbox cars, and a couple small plastic accessories that looked like they went with the GI Joe guys. The guy said the drain would have kept flowing but someone had recently flushed a diaper wipe and the diaper wipe had laid across the big mess down there like a net, catching all the solids going down the drain and plugging it up.

If all that garbage couldn't stop up the drain properly, your broken bottle won't do a thing.
posted by JFitzpatrick at 7:28 PM on December 23, 2008

Great Advice everyone. Thank you. The plumbing is above ground under the house. I was considering cutting out the section, clearing it out, and reconnecting. The only large piece I thought was left down in the line was the neck of the wine bottle. However on a whim, I asked my 11 year old daughter to see if she could reach anything. Well.... she was able to successfully reach around the 90'. She managed to remove most of the large pieces (including the wine bottle neck). I then used the vacuum cleaner hose to get the smaller pieces she was able to sweep back to the 90'. I figure whatever we didn't get will push out down the line (hopefully all small stuff).

Thanks again for your help.

posted by purenitrous at 9:27 PM on December 25, 2008

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