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Subject: piping?
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Author Messages
JaniceW2
(Florida)

Posts:6


04/28/2021 9:00 AM  
20 story oceanfront condo- i own on the 8th floor. a sewerage odor coming from bathtub drain at times strong enough makes me nausea. now there are black flies (intermittently) coming into the tub via the drain. and... when i flush the toilet there is a gurgling in the bathtub drain. this morning i actually heard a gurgling in the bathtub drain like someone above me was flushing their toilet. it is not my P trap (or the unit below me) i had a licensed plumber look with camera my plumbing is intact. i communicate to the management company which gets passed on to the BOD. the board said they are not going to go cutting into walls for some intermittent odor that is only bothering me.
i have lived here 30 years so i am quite shocked at their response.
AugustinD


Posts:1937


04/28/2021 9:21 AM  
For drain flies, from Home Depot and on recommendation from the net, I used Instant Power Commercial Drain Maintainer #1510 as directed on the packaging. Under $20 a gallon right now.
JeffT2
(Iowa)

Posts:639


04/28/2021 9:28 AM  
An exterminator once told me that those little flies (sort of big gnats) come from gunk in the trap and the pipe going to the trap, in other words your pipe, not the common drain pipe. This pipe can get pretty disgusting (I'm not going into detail here), and the flies lay their eggs there. And yes, that gunk can smell. The solution is drain cleaner and running the hot water down the drain for several minutes to kill the eggs. It may take a few days for the flies to clear out.

I would clear up that issue first before assuming it is from the common drain. Hope this helps.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4297


04/28/2021 9:28 AM  
So what do you want done? Your plumbing may check out, but that may or may not mean it's an association issue.

Did the plumber have any ideas as to what might be causing the problem? Have you spoken to your upstairs neighbors to see if they've had similar problems or if of they've had a plumber take a look? Did you check you documents to see where homeowner responsibility for the plumbing begins and ends?

If this doesn't help determine the problems, perhaps you and the association can split the costs of a more detailed investigation. If the association's portion is the problem, it can fix it and reimburse you for your share of the inspection costs.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2607


04/28/2021 9:39 AM  
Since you're in a condo, I'm going to assume that your governing documents say that the building's plumbing is the responsibility of the association, and that individual owners are responsible for their unit's system only.

Has the board bothered to see if anyone else has plumbing issues vs. just waiting for someone to complain? A lot of people don't have very good senses of smell and wouldn't notice a problem. Could you talk to any of your neighbors and see if they've noticed anything?

If I were on your board I would want to investigate further since you've had a plumber say that the issue doesn't appear to be in your unit. Better to tackle this now rather than waiting for an emergency, which always seems to happen at the worst possible time. It truly is in the board's best interest to be proactive.

You may want to go back to them, quote your governing documents saying that the association is responsible for maintaining the building's plumbing system, and point out that waiting for an emergency guarantees having an unplanned and more expensive repair. Also - depending on how your governing docs are written and what kinds of insurance the association has - the association may also be financially responsible if people's homes are damaged by sewage backups and whatnot. I recommend putting this in writing so that you have a record of what has happened.

(If I had to guess, your building may have 20 years' worth of people flushing things down toilets that shouldn't have been flushed. I just saw an article about the increase in sewage backups because "flushable" wipes are clogging the system:
https://www.komu.com/news/midmissourinews/flushable-wipes-causing-columbia-plumbing-issues/article_de4cd102-a7a8-11eb-b28e-f346daddc187.html)

JaniceW2
(Florida)

Posts:6


04/30/2021 5:39 AM  
the most frustrating is when i flush the toilet there follows a 3 second gurgling in the bathroom drain. i read that the gurgling is water going around methane gas- methane gas that shouldnt be in the drain pipe. idk what keeps these pipes intact (a vacuum system?) but i believe they are compromised.
i put signs on the community bulletin board to ask if i am the only one but the notes get removed. i did get one call that on the 18, 19 floor maintenance was in cutting out walls and then not able to patch them up because of serious plumbing issues.
but honestly 4 weeks ago the management company and the board ceased all communication with me. a friend of mine overheard the president saying they have washed their hands of me and they are not going to spend any more time on my problem.
its a disaster because i just closed on a new condo and now this one has become inhabitable. its basically worthless
JaniceW2
(Florida)

Posts:6


04/30/2021 5:43 AM  
yes that has been cleared up. it is not my drain.
JaniceW2
(Florida)

Posts:6


04/30/2021 5:46 AM  
my plumber said it could be a crack in the piping. and that he could investigate further but would need permission from the board to enter the common property. the board then told me they are not going to be cutting out walls just because 1 person has a problem
JaniceW2
(Florida)

Posts:6


04/30/2021 5:54 AM  
there is sewerage odor invading the unit coming from bathtub drain. there is gurgling in the bathtub drain when i flush the toilet. does anyone know does this mean there is a crack in the common piping? that sewer and drain are not sealed off. i think those pipes run vertical and they call them the vertical stacks. the condo was built 1976 and oceanfront. is there erosion of the cast iron piping
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4297


04/30/2021 9:58 AM  
Well, this doesn't look like it'll end well - for who remains to be seen. Looks like you'll have to get a lawyer to hash this out and considering the building is 44 years old, all those years of flushing water, poop, and who knows what else down the drain may be taking its toll. I suspect your board may be concerned this is the beginning of a set of expensive repairs the association doesn't have the money for (especially if it wasn't funding the association's reserve fund properly - assuming they have one). You may also want to talk to the other neighbor who said he/she had similar problems - perhaps both of you need to join forces.

As for the bit of gossip your friend spread - she might be right, but you need to deal with real facts, not hearsay. Get an attorney involved and let's see if he'll keep saying the board shouldn't get involved with this because it's only affecting one owner.
AugustinD


Posts:1937


04/30/2021 10:13 AM  
Posted By SheliaH on 04/30/2021 9:58 AM
Well, this doesn't look like it'll end well - for who remains to be seen. Looks like you'll have to get a lawyer to hash this out
I agree. The drain gurgling when flushing the commode has my attention. One can google and see what the latter means. This condo association is not taking this situation seriously enough. I believe it will take an attorney for it to take action. Selling the unit may indeed be difficult until there is a commitment from the condo association to thoroughly investigate and fix as needed what is wrong, assuming the repairs are on the association's side of the unit boundaries (which is not 100% clear).

I do not blame the board for rejecting an owner's plumber from going into the common piping. I do blame the Board for not investigating the problem further. So far it appears to me this board is being ignorant.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2607


04/30/2021 11:13 AM  
Janice may be lucky that Florida provides options for settling disputes before going full-on lawsuit. I hope some of our Florida posters chime in because I'm not well informed about mediation and arbitration in situations like this.

This may be helpful info:

https://www.floridacondoattorneys.com/florida-condo-attorney-discusses-alternative-dispute-resolution/

I hope that the board in this case sees the light and deals with the issue before things really "hit the fan".
JaniceW2
(Florida)

Posts:6


04/30/2021 11:54 AM  
thank you all for so far. i'm holding back tears because this is so overwhelming- especially since i have lived here 30 years considered board members friends. the condo i purchased was over my budget but i assumed i could sell this while the market is hot and suffer a little in the short term for the upgrade. now i am going to be carrying 2 oceanfront condos and an individual lawsuit against a condominium. i am working fulltime, now studying plumbing, piping, and condo law, real estate.
i'll read up on mediation vs the courtroom (what i can find for the average lay person) this weekend. ty again
AugustinD


Posts:1937


04/30/2021 12:41 PM  
Posted By JaniceW2 on 04/30/2021 11:54 AM
now i am going to be carrying 2 oceanfront condos and an individual lawsuit against a condominium.
A few letters from an attorney you hire could yield a high probability of not having to go to court and resolving this dispute with your condo amicably.

It is highly unlikely this is something you can handle without an attorney. Though many want to try.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10595


04/30/2021 2:23 PM  
I am still not sure the need for a lawsuit over this. What you going to get from it? All you can get is the repair done IF indeed it is the HOA's responsibility to do so. Which is still in doubt and needs more professional plumbing opinion. I believe one of the posters on here is/was a plumber.

This may be something you can address without making ALL your neighbor's responsible. Which is basically what your asking for in your lawsuit or request.

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8734


04/30/2021 5:16 PM  
Our 25 story 20 y.o high rise: We've never had complaints about odor coming from a drain. We HAVE had gurgling in pipes that deliver water, but not in drains. and it's always been a common area issue.

Does you building have its own maintenance engineer, who should have some ideas what's going on? At 44 years, yeah, it could be a pipe had corroded or eroded to the point where debris is getting stuck in, say, a crevice. But that shouldn't smell like gas.

Do you know if your drain lines (cast iron?) are on your HOA's reserves schedule? At their age, they should have been put on the reserve study.

We recently learned more about a system that we really weren't aware we have called a sovent drain line. (sp. is correct). It's not everywhere, but can have problems.

Our unit owners often have plumbers come to their units and check WAAAAY beyond the 15 or so feet of our personal plumbing well into the common area plumbing. I think you need to find such a plumber and pay whatever it takes.

It's possible there's some sort of partial clog in your shared drain line. We had a toilet backup (c drain line) that leaked black water to the unit below. The plumbers found a lot of sani-wipes congealed together that they had to cut with a sharp knife to take the mess out of the drain line. During the pandemic, some residents are flushing these and they should not.

This is all I can think of and I really know nothing about this topic. This very likely is an HOA problem and yes, their neighbors will pay, but you would pay for their similar problems if caused by the common area.

We do get tiny flies now & then in our guest bath, where the tub/shower is rarely used. Hot water does the trick.

SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4297


04/30/2021 7:22 PM  
I'd been using the flushable wipes for #2 (and what I call 1.5!), but after reading this, I'll stop now! I also saw an ad for some sort of spray you can put on regular toilet paper to make it similar to a flushable wipe without destroying your plumbing - I think I'll try it. And change my diet!

(sorry if you read this during breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, tea, brunch....!)
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8734


05/01/2021 12:43 AM  
I did read a little about this and learned that a clogged drain line really can small like gas. I'm almost certain this is an HOA issue. Take Augie's advice.
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