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Thoughts While Waiting for the Plumber

And the little matter of County Code 20.24.080

My mom always washed her hair before visiting the hairdresser, even though Monsieur Jacques of Dayton would be washing that same hair a couple of hours later. It was just a little act of courtesy, I guess.

Before I call the plumber, I scrub every inch of the bathroom, even though I’ll have to clean again when he’s finished.  Seems the least I can do–to get everything tidy and smelling sweet, considering the job that lies before him. Plumbers are frontline heroes in my book, willing to go the extra mile most of us fear to tread.

I don’t know if you’ve put our county's Consolidated Sewer Maintenance Annual Report on your winter reading list, and if not, let me just give you a couple of Cliffs Notes.  Most notably, according to Code 20.24.080, as a homeowner you’re responsible not only for the sewer system that’s on your property, but also the entire “lateral” pipe, that travels from your house to the main sewer line, however far from your property that may be.

Public Works provides a phone number to call if you’re unsure whether it’s your line or the county line that’s responsible for any sewer backup–1-800-675-HELP.  If you call, I have a pretty solid guess as to what their answer is going to be.

The County is one smart cookie. Because the reason I have to spend a lot of money every year to get all the pipes snaked and root-free is because of  trees–County trees or, anyway, trees on County property. As to why the County doesn’t take responsibility for the roots invading my pipes, well, I’m sure there’s a county code that explains it all. 

Steve Lamb February 23, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Yes, just as you are responsible for the trees that the County has in front of your house, its all very tidy, they write the law to benefit themselves. I guess one should not even imagine it could be different.....Hey next time you get your lines snaked call Ram Rooter- they are local Altadena owned and based and do a excellent job not only at snaking, but they fix all my oddball 100 year old el wierdo stuff too.
Karin Bugge February 23, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Weirdo plumbing doesn't even begin to address what's over this way, Steve. Whenever the plumber comes (local chap), I hear him mumbling in the basement, "What the heck? -- or words to that effect.
Natalie February 23, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Someone should invent tree-root-proof pipes. But then again, roots can do anything, given time - look at those huge granite rocks in the mountains that they've split apart.
Steve Lamb February 23, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Karin- Yeah lots of Altadena homes had plumbing sourced from Lincoln Ave Lumber who at one point bought up a bunch of out of date surplus stuff. Just like Lincoln Avenue water who bought up a bunch of surplus riveted pipe 20 years after it was no longer manufactured for the main coming out of Millard.....and then some VERY CREATIVE guys used to work around here and often did the otherwise unthought of....
Steve Lamb February 23, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Natalie- They did. it's copper. Its WILDLY expensive also becomes more brittle over time and doesnt do well in land movement or earthquake. The modern plastics are a real upgrade from clay or cast iron.
Angela Odom February 23, 2012 at 07:20 PM
There were three things I could depend on living out here in Altadena. One, I could always depend on critters falling in love with transformers Pepe Le Pew style. Two, my telephone would go out whenever it rained. Thanks to La Vina that problem is now fixed. Finally, every year my pipes would back up and thus, an annual date with the plumber. About two years ago I quit him. I purchased a cute little snake that I can attach to a drill. That worked up to 25 feet. Then I got really smart and bought a floor model that goes out to about 100 feet. I've not seen my plumber in a few years and I like it like that. I'm sure we'll see each other again but for now, our relationship is on hiatus.
Karin Bugge February 23, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Good to know, Steve. And Angela, that is true self-sufficiency. Speaking of contractors, one consideration is that they get along with dogs. My boxer was always trying to make out with the plumber.
doris finch February 23, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Was it the view from the back as he knelt under the sink that so enamored her?
Susan Campisi February 26, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Thank you for the Cliffs Notes. I didn't know I was responsible for trees on County property, but it doesn't surprise me. Business as usual, I guess. Angela, very impressive DIY approach.
Pasadena Adjacent February 27, 2012 at 06:28 AM
I have a not so "cute" snake but the drill idea is brilliant. Also a product that you flush down the toilet once a month to go after roots.
Pasadena Adjacent February 27, 2012 at 06:31 AM
While I'm here - I wish Patch would NOT require me to sign in when I post. You think you have a relationship going, then on the fourth comment I'm asked to go through the roll call. It's annoying.
Bill Stewart August 23, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Those are good thoughts. I always clean my <a href="http://www.thegentlemenplumberscalgary.com/en/calgary_unplugging_a_toilet.html">toilets in Calgary</a> before someone works on them. However I guess that is a little different.
Jack White November 12, 2013 at 07:41 PM
I think that these <a href="http://www.needaplumbercanada.ca">calgary plumber</a> do such an amazing job. It's amazing what a little work can do.

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