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A sewer trap pit was causing a busy and popular Queens restaurant a lot of distress. They were experiencing both a sewer smell and foul smelling water in their pit. One would normally think that the house sewer was broken or defective. This is an example of why underground drain problems can be deceiving and hard to diagnose. After careful examination and preliminary excavation Balkan found the causes of the problem.

Porous sewer trap

Firstly the sewer trap had become porous from age and many cleanings. Like many restaurants,  this was a restaurant prone to grease stoppages. which require regular cleanings. Over time the walls of the sewer trap had been work away in spots, allowing for sewer water to leak out.

sewer pit

Sewer water escaping into a pit

Pumps had been installed to attempt to relieve the situation. But the real solution was calling in the professionals from Balkan Sewer And Water Main Service. A new cast iron double vent house trap and check valve meant an end to a long standing plumbing problem.

Buried sewer check valve

Secondly Balkan found a sewer check valve installed in the wrong location. The sewer check valve had been installed on the house side of the sewer trap. This allowed for sewer and storm backwater to reach the sewer trap before it reached the check valve. In this it defeated the whole purpose of installing the check valve in the first place.

old check valve

Buried check valve removed


Grease build-up inside old check valve

In addition, unknown to the present owner, the sewer check valve had been buried years ago. This meant it could not be maintained or visually inspected in any way whatsoever. This resulted in heavy grease build up inside the body of the sewer check valve. The flap inside the device was blocked from ever opening or  closing fully. So not only did the check valve not serve a purpose, it actually created a problem.

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The cost effective Balkan solution

Instead of making incorrect assumptions and replacing the house sewer, Balkan was able to address the sewer problem inside the basement of the building. By installing a new double vent house trap the problem of leaking waste water was eliminated.

sewer trap

New domestic trap and check valve

Balkan also installed a new check valve properly located just inside the foundation wall. Installed in the proper location, it prevented backwater from ever reaching other parts of the house drain, such as the sewer trap. Furthermore it was easily accessible for inspection and routine cleaning.

Why is a double vent sewer trap so important?

A double vent sewer trap refers to the fact that their are clean-outs plugs on either side. This allows for easily cleaning both out to the street, and back into the building. A double vent trap is the only legal trap for a sanitary or combined house sewer line in NYC.

It is required by code for both clean-outs vents on a trap to remain accessible for cleaning. It is never permitted by code to use one of the openings for a drain connection, or any other purpose. To do so would defeat the purpose of the double vent trap and violate code.

sewer trap

Water barrier prevents sewer gas from entering a property

Important facts when opening the sewer trap

Before opening any cap or plug on a trap you must make sure that no backup exists. If a backup exists, be prepared for waste water to rush out of the trap. If the city sewer is backed up, opening the trap can result in a flood of waste water.

It is always advisable to open the plug on the street side of the trap first. That is because if there is a trap stoppage, the waste water will be allowed to flow over the trap and out to the street. On the other hand, if a trap plug must be left open always leave the house side plug open. That will prevent sewer gases from escaping into your property because the water barrier will remain in place. The water in the belly of a trap prevents sewer gases from entering your premises from the city sewer.

sewer trap

Always open the “street side” plug first!

Plumbing tasks, even one as simple as opening a sewer trap, it should be left to a professional. A small error or lack of knowledge can result in a lot of aggravation and possible damage. The professionals of The Balkan Team are always on call. Whether your need expert advice or a free and no-obligation site visit – call or click Balkan anytime.

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