Hidden Cleanouts - A Horror Story

Long ago and far away, Sam & Sally bought a new home in suburbia.  They lived happily there; raised a few kids, landscaped their yard.  They lived an idyllic life, till one day, disaster struck!  The downstairs toilet started to overflow.  They called a plumber.  He snaked the toilet and said the problem was in the pipe outside the house.  They went outside and looked for the cleanouts.  The plumber said, “There should be a cleanout very close to the house and another one close to the curb.”  With flashlight in hand, they looked and looked.  Under the bushes, between the shrubs, on the lawn, they searched. “Where are the cleanouts?” they cried.  Meanwhile, the toilet continued to backup, and the carpet was getting yucky.   “Call the mayor! Maybe he knows.”  The mayor called the public works director who called the borough road chief who called the sewer crew foreman.  The foreman called his crew in.  Meanwhile, the toilet continued to back up!  YUCK!!!  And the plumber’s time clock was ticking dollars – DOUBLE YUCK!!!

With drawings in hand, the foreman said “The line should be about here.  The drawing says the pipe is PVC so we can’t use a metal detector to locate it.  Get the shovels and let’s get digging!”  The cleanouts were finally located and the pipe was unclogged.  The end result was a ruined carpet, a stinky basement, a front yard with lots of holes, and a huge bill from the plumber.

The moral of the story is: DON’T HIDE OR BURY YOUR CLEANOUTS!   For this story, I decided to drive around my neighborhood and take a few pictures of cleanouts.  I had a hard time finding cleanouts.  So, if your cleanout is not easily visible, find it and mark it.  Or you could have this horror story happen to you.  

Make sure you know where your cleanouts are and that they are easily visible.  Hamilton Township Municipal Authority’s rules and Regulations call for the use of the Cast iron (Panella type) push-on cleanout cover, as shown to the right.  This Detail Drawing No. LAT-6 is available full view in our Standard Construction and Material Specifications for Wastewater Collection System, which is accessible on our website.

Cleanout Cover