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Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/18/2010 2:03 PM

We have a new building and have discovered that several of our floor drains are full of concrete. Are their any creative ideas out there on how to remove the offending concrete without digging up the floor? This is not a small amount of concrete;the traps are full. And, yes...it was vandalism; the contractor was fired leaving us with no warranty.

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#1

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/18/2010 2:22 PM

Do you have any insurance that covers vandalism?

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#39
In reply to #1

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/21/2010 7:47 AM

No...

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#2

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/18/2010 2:34 PM

Could you use a drilling rig similar to a core sampler?

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#40
In reply to #2

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/21/2010 7:48 AM

No...S-Trap is full.

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#3

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/18/2010 2:39 PM

I read that someone was able to "eat" a small amount of concrete out of a plastic PVC drain pipe with some muriatic acid. I think the acid concentration was high and very hazardous to handle. I cannot confirm this works, just suggesting a line of further research before you start digging up everything.

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#41
In reply to #3

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/21/2010 7:50 AM

This is the kind of thing I am looking for but had hoped someone had some experience using acid.

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#68
In reply to #41

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

07/26/2022 10:51 PM

Would you consider hydrofluoric acid (solution) perhaps? I believe it is used in mining applications.

HF is extremely corrosive, so users will need to be fully appreciative of the dangers... PPEs a must!

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#78
In reply to #68

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

07/28/2022 11:13 PM

You severely understated the dangers of Hydroflouric acid.

The tiniest amount of fume in your lungs will kill you , it dissolves flesh , including lung tissue.

Even the vapour on your fingers will melt the flesh.

Having said that , anyone who tries to buy it in concentrated form will be met with a strict regulations so that should prevent most Darwin Awards.

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#4

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/18/2010 2:41 PM

"...it was vandalism; the contractor was fired leaving us with no warranty." No warranty? This does not sound like a warranty issue. This sounds criminal.

In no particular order: Was it a bonded project? Have you notified the bonding agent? Was this vandalism investigated? Was the conclusion, indeed, willful vandalism? Will the conclusions of this investigation hold up in court? Has your contractor been paid out?

I know you are looking to get the concrete out of your traps, and this may seem a diversion. I suspect "...diging up the floor?" is going to be the resolution, and I believe you should invite the contractor to participate in the venture, willingly or otherwise. Enforce his performance bond would be my first tack. That would be the least trouble for you.

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/18/2010 2:44 PM

The issue is NOT the cause or the culprit.

The issue is the solution.

They want to know how to fix the problem, NOT who to blame or pay for the fix.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/18/2010 3:23 PM

Hello farmatt.

"NOT who to blame or pay for the fix." You are correct, and I do not wish my comments to be a diversion (gee, that sounds familiar).

Having been involved in construction for 25+ years, I have seen this sort of thing several dozen times. When the end-user (in this case, jsimpson) discovers the several thousand US dollar price tag to truly remediate the issue, "...who to blame or pay for the fix" will become an intense preoccupation. Might as well start now.

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#8
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Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/18/2010 3:28 PM

I somewhat agree. I do also hope (like you) that the contractors board in his area is notified.

I just feel like his SOLE purpose for asking his question was to find a way to clear the drains.

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#9
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Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/18/2010 3:47 PM

I remember a recent thread where a member asked how to size a steel beam for a 30 foot span. You came forward and suggested he forget about that, and use a railroad flatcar. And that turned out to be a pretty good idea, eh?

There are peripheral issues with every problem. Most of the members around here understand this, and offer advice that does not always stay on the track of the original thread.

I see you have offered advice on how to break up a cast iron bathtub! THERE is a great example of members straying from the thread! And, it is OK.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/18/2010 3:50 PM

My appologies.

I should think before I type.

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#58
In reply to #10

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/24/2010 3:42 PM

Yes, and put duct tape over your mouth!

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#16
In reply to #9

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/18/2010 7:04 PM

What is this?????????

"I see you have offered advice on how to break up a cast iron bathtub!"

Both of you visit that bath breaking thing? That thing'll rot your brain!

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#25
In reply to #9

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/19/2010 2:16 PM

I resemble that remark

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#26
In reply to #9

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/19/2010 2:19 PM

So your calling him/her a stray then ?

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#42
In reply to #4

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

06/21/2010 7:52 AM

If only any of these options were open to me...there has been a law suit but things didn't go our way.

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#74
In reply to #4

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

07/27/2022 11:19 AM

I am a Civil Engineer. I think Doorman provided you the best answer. In addition, I totally concur this is criminal. Have him arrested.

Muriatic Acid is not going to dissolve a trap full of concrete.

I am so sorry somebody did this to you. It sucks and they suck.

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#75
In reply to #74

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

07/27/2022 1:01 PM

This crime was probably settled twelve years ago. If it wasn't, then I propose demolition would be an appropriate answer.

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#76
In reply to #75

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

07/27/2022 1:27 PM

After all the great suggestions from the group on trying to help with this issue, it is a shame the Org poster didn't have the courtesy to return after all this time and let us all know how the issue with the concrete was rectified or if it even was.

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#79
In reply to #75

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

07/28/2022 11:16 PM

I just noticed the 2010 date on the OP

How did this pop up in my email feed as a new topic ?

lol

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#80
In reply to #79

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

07/29/2022 12:49 AM

I didn't notice that until you mentioned it. I too thought it was a new topic.

I thought that Tick Tock had gone back and looked up some earlier post, when he said it has been twelve years...

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#81
In reply to #75

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

08/25/2022 8:04 PM

I do not see many threads this old come alive again.

Can someone tell us what effect the various acids recommended so far might have on the water treatment facility? Yeah, by the time the acid hits the plant, concentration will (probably) be a tiny fraction. How far is the first sewage lift station? Will it tolerate the acid? Will the pumps tolerate the concrete chunks now flowing in the waste line?

This guy has (had) a real sucky problem.

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#82
In reply to #81

Re: Floor drains full of concrete

08/25/2022 8:14 PM

Well,… normally there’s a holding pit, where you collect a sample, test the pH,… and if at an unexceptable range, neutralize it, then it gets released into the municipality.

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#5

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/18/2010 2:42 PM

is it a pipe filled with concrete?

if so, what material and how thick?

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#43
In reply to #5

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/21/2010 8:02 AM

I believe the only section of pipe that is full is the S-trap. The pipe is schedule 40 PVC.

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#70
In reply to #43

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

07/26/2022 11:31 PM

PVC is definitely a good thing in this case, as it is resistant to most acids. You definitely need something stronger than vinegar. I suspect that hydrochloric (also known as muriatic) acid will be the most appropriate and reasonable in cost. As someone else already said, whoever uses the acid will definitely need to use appropriate PPE, and have a good supply of sodium bicarbonate on hand to neutralize any splashes or spills, and water to wash that away if needed.

Note that in many cases, depending on the kind of aggregate used, the acid will dissolve the cement, but not the sand or aggregate, so you're going to need some method of extracting that sand and aggregate periodically.

This will take several, perhaps many, applications of acid, with significant wait times between each application of acid and the subsequent removal of depleted acid, sand, and gravel.

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#11

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/18/2010 4:28 PM

Depending on how far past the trap it got and how long its been in there, it may not have cured thoroughly.

You could try boring a small hole and tamping a wedge in to break the plug up.

I wonder if this was done when the initial pour was done or someone carried a bucket around and did this. The answer could give you a clue to how much was down there.

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#44
In reply to #11

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/21/2010 8:07 AM

We didn't realize we had this problem until about four months after the contractor left. I just thought the drains were clogged with debris. I think your methiod would work in the first part of the trap but presents a stumpling block for the remaining half of the s-trap.

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#12

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/18/2010 5:07 PM

Just a thought -- If the concrete is only in the traps and if the pipe is made of PVC, you could drill a series of holes in each concrete plug, pour in some water, and drop in some chunks of dry ice. The dry ice will cause the water to freeze and expand, and crack the concrete. To avoid cracking the PVC, don't fill the pipe with too much water.

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#23
In reply to #12

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/19/2010 1:10 PM

An elaboration on your suggestion would be to fill the bore with water and use a tightly fitted ram to form a hydraulic cylinder of sorts. This ram could be struck with a hammer.

This could possibly damage the pipe, but the pipe could be relined in situ.

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#33
In reply to #12

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/20/2010 12:26 AM

My Man, I like the way you think. I never would have considered that angle.:)

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#45
In reply to #12

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/21/2010 8:08 AM

I will give this some serious consideration...thanks.

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#54
In reply to #12

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/21/2010 3:39 PM

I think this is one of the best solutions I have read....My concern on this is if the drains are "full" they have to have a stopping point....where the concrete can cure and harden... where will the concrete go after is has cracked...I have seen this before....Luckliy it was only on the drain top area about 2 inches...I think this problem will result in tearing up the floor...Good lUCK...Also acid bad idea for your particular issue.

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#13

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/18/2010 5:58 PM

http://www.ehow.com/how_2362488_dissolve-concrete.html

Or use this read it its unbeliveable

A Texas chemical company has developed a molecular cement dissolver, Back-Set, as an alternative to acid for removing hardened concrete from tools, trucks, and other equipment. It uses an active ingredient found in sugar cane syrup; the product is not hazardous to equipment or workers, does not harm paint or produce fumes, and is biodegradable.

The effects of sugar on concrete have been known for many years. In some parts of the world sugar is still commonly used to retard the set of mortar and other cementitious products.

An article from as far back as the December 1957 issue of CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION said, "Sugar affects both fresh and hardened concrete.... Dry sugar has no effect on hardened concrete, but sugar solutions can be very corrosive." The article goes on to describe how hardened surfaces can help guard against these effects in candy factories and other susceptible areas. Meanwhile, a creative and perseverant chemist has turned this vulnerability into an opportunity to safely remove hardened concrete from a variety of surfaces that are otherwise difficult to clean.

Craig Anderson, vice president of RoMix Chemical, Euless, Texas, and one of the chemists who developed Back-Set, says it works by breaking down the ionic bond in portland cement, releasing the cement from any surface to which it has adhered. Chemically speaking, it essentially converts the positive ions in the hardened matrix into negative ions and dissolves the cement into a mud that can be rinsed away.

Application and use are relatively simple. First the hardened concrete is saturated with Back-Set, either with a brush or by spraying. After about 15 minutes, the same area is again saturated with the chemical. The concrete typically begins to soften in 20 to 30 minutes, at which point it should be rinsed off with water. Repeat applications can be used to remove thicker buildups.

Anderson says it has been a bit tricky perfecting the formulation, which the company has been working on for about a year. Now that the product is commercially available, he emphasizes, it is very important to use it undiluted. Because it works chemically, rather than mechanically, Back-Set may be used to remove cured concrete, mortar, grout, and stucco from virtually any surface without harm.

As with the company's other products, Back-Set is supplied in 55-gallon drums and 275-gallon tote tanks. It is also available in bulk. More information on this product is available from RoMix Chemical, 800-331-2243 or www.romixchem.com.

http://www.shieldindustries.com/safereact/conprodo.htm

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#46
In reply to #13

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/21/2010 8:26 AM

This sounds like a distinct possibility...I'm on it. Good answer,Thanks!

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#73
In reply to #46

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

07/27/2022 8:37 AM

Yeah , what he said.

We know it as concrete softener and its used here to clean hardened concrete off concrete trucks.

cheapest fix i see is pour it in the drain , let it sit for a day , give it a blast with a pressure washer , use a wet vac to suck out the water and gravel , then repeat again and again until the concrete is gone

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#14

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/18/2010 6:18 PM

All right. Will you tell us how many drains are involved?

It is not just a drain, it will have a trap. Can you tell us what type of trap?

or

This last arrangement has two traps; a primary bell trap, and a 'P' trap. Might be a drum trap (which is even worse), but I doubt it.

The question posted: How to remove hardened concrete (described as a large volume) from any of these appliances. The real problem: Where is the stuff really at, and how to remove it.

Obviously, every installation is different. If your application is similar to either of those illustrated, you can see that it would not take very much to get the concrete into main lines. Now, that might be the real problem.

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/18/2010 6:45 PM

if its a small trap would it be called a mouse trap ? hahahaha

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#17
In reply to #14

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/18/2010 8:53 PM

This question alone is why the original contractor should get involved. They are required to tell how the drain was intended versus what actually exists. (It's why I gave your first post a GA)

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#48
In reply to #17

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/21/2010 8:34 AM

I have the original engineering drawings; it was a 35 million dollar project not an addition to a home.

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#47
In reply to #14

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/21/2010 8:31 AM

All of the effected drains, 8 in total, are under ground (under finished ceramic tile flooring) they are schedule 40 PVC S-traps that are about 3 feet below grade.

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#83
In reply to #47

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

08/25/2022 10:04 PM

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#18

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/18/2010 9:21 PM

Well, I miss a lot of information. Did he install the drain with a slope? Is it PVC pipe? How new is the building and the when did this happen? What are the pipe diameters involved? Unless you change all the pipe this is a long time job. Not difficult but depending on how you have access to it. Make a GOOD ventilation and poor a mix of 50% muriatic acid and coca cola in it. If no coca cola available, use 12 spoons white sugar per liter water and mix that in. Once it reaches the concrete there will be a reaction and gases will escape through all possible holes. Pour the same mix in those escape holes. Don't inhale the vapors. Don't spill on your floor, The concrete will dissolve but still leave residue behind. It only breaks up. This process generates also some heat - better do it many times with smaller quantities. You can try to get that out by all means - a spring with corkscrew - hose with water - vacuum with long suction hose or a combination of all of these. When the vapors stop - repeat and repeat until the pipe is clear. Depending on what is in there count on days to remove it if really bad. Succes.

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#19

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/18/2010 10:54 PM

There could be more to the story than you know. Call the inspector. Ask if the floor drains were supposed to be separated from other drain lines to a grease trap but were not. The plumber may have motives other than vandalism. May have intended to "delete" the floor drains. Do some detective work on this one.

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#20

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/19/2010 2:04 AM

Depending on where the waste water is supposed to flow, and the assuming your pipes are PVC Plastic to providing your system where to operate correctly, you may try pouring some "Muratic Acid down the trap. It will not eat the plastic but will dissolve the lime in the concrete.

This is DANGEROUS Stuff! If it mixes with ammonia, you will create "Mustard Gas"-Highly LEATHAL!!!!! You must take precautions not to breath the fumes. It will KILL you. It shouldn't cause any more trouble than bleach would in a septic system or sewer, providing you flush with plenty of clean water after the clog dissapates. I wouldn't recomend it but it will do the trick. ;)

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#36
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Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/20/2010 6:51 PM

There are commercial liquid "descaler" solutions which contain 10% hydrochloric acid, specifically formulated for removing lime and scale and marine shell from fresh and salt water pipework systems. They contain buffering agents and detergents to make the chemical attack more selective in metal pipes, and colloids to reduce the effect of accidental skin contact. They will "fizz" in contact with lime (and concrete) as they eat it away, and benefit from being recirculated or agitated to maintain a strong pH. Look for brand names Rydlyme or Dynamic Descaler, and find a subcontractor who is familiar with diluting and pumping these products for chemically descaling boilers and pipework systems.

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#52
In reply to #20

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/21/2010 11:11 AM

Please recheck your chemistry. Ammonia plus hydrochloric acid makes Ammonium chloride, not mustard gas. Ammonia choride is relativly safe to handle and is the same thing as "sal ammoniac" that used to be used as a soldering flux.

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#53
In reply to #52

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/21/2010 12:20 PM

True Ammonia water and Muriatic Acid (aka hydrochloric acid) will produce only Ammonia chloride and more water. However, since this is not being done in pristine Pyrex labware the cautionary warning is still very valid.

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#21

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/19/2010 7:13 AM

This is an issue of "..the fox must be chased away first".

This is strictly problem solving issue in engineering technology. Is this a consultant seeking solution for clientele services, well it is possible. And if not, then first thing is to report the case to the contractor and every necessary bodies concerned.

Whatever form of solution that shall be proffered the consequences should (cost, maintenance, duration, etc) be considered along.

I have read some comments and suggestions, well may be akay as you suite but the error are clearly seen somewhat, as regard the functionality of the systems, and some require an expert touch to carry out the job in process and stages, but would the client be patient that enough. this is the reason the bodies involved must be aware and be updated and post notify of every actions to be taken.

The chemical for hardened cement dissolving would have been much of proof but what of the clogging of sand, stone and slurry settling and blocking the chemical reching the the in-dept of the concreted face in the pipe. it has to be extracted out somehow, with the pumping system.

Re-channeling the whole system may appear costly but may be sensible with time in account.

Though, chemicals effects on PVC pipes and plastics may be so little, but time process.

I wish you best of luck and chances.

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/19/2010 8:02 AM

The chemical for hardened cement dissolving would have been much of proof but what of the clogging of sand, stone and slurry settling and blocking the chemical reaching the the in-dept of the concreted face in the pipe. it has to be extracted out somehow, with the pumping system. "This doesn't make sense "

Re-channeling the whole system may appear costly but may be sensible with time in account. " Nor this "

Am i to take it that English is not your first language ?

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#24

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/19/2010 1:37 PM

What about this stuff ? Non explosive concrete demolition, perfect for your job.

http://www.archerusa.com/

I dare say a variation on the theme would be to insert expanding Rawlbolts and crack the surface up bit at a time.

Good eh?

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#27

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/19/2010 3:10 PM

In most civilise countries, you can still take him to court, in fact, you may find that the local government may do it for you as that is contrary to any building code and they set the code!

See if you can get one of his workers to go "States evidence".......a new job and a sum of money should get that organized!!

If that is not going to work you need a company that can cut big holes in concrete.....but I really feel that you will end up getting rid of the floor and starting again.....

Do not forget to get the police to search for evidence, fingerprints etc....

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#28

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/19/2010 4:53 PM

You might try to drill and set in an anchor to pull up the concrete plug. you might get lucky if there was some construction trash already in the hole.

You will not be able to bust up the concrete in the pipe without doing damage to the pipe unless you drill out some of the existing mixture.

Do you know who the plumbing contractor was, some plumbers will use a inside plug to keep trash from stopping up the drain lines during construction.

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#29

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/19/2010 4:59 PM

Watched a rotor rooter type company go through 100 feet of clogged rock and hard ficus root filled main drain line, 4" in dia. and break apart the obstructions and pull new drain line behind it , in place. You can run a sensor backwards from the sewer to find the end of blockage, then open a hole to connect new and old. It uses a hydraulic ram and a steel cable to pull the ram through. Check to see if the hydraulic ram of these devices can do concrete---If no steel or large hard rock aggregate is involved, and it is only a slurry (which I suspect, as how else are you going to "pour" a drain line full?), the the material should "ram out" pretty easy---with a new line being brought in at the same time. If a trap is present, then the trap will need to be sawn or broken out first. Sorry for your inconvenience, and hope all comes out well, but you have obviously engaged a cadre of engineers willing to help. Anything to keep these critters off the streets is welcomed!! C-Mac

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#30

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/19/2010 7:00 PM

Lots of great ideas. I like the one about drilling a hole, inserting a plug and yanking it out. And I never knew about sugar water. Muriatic will not work if there are iron pipes in the system, but of course if it is all plastic, then it is the traditional solution to lime based materials existing where they are not wanted.

When the striking contractors did this to the Big O in Montreal back when, the concrete around the traps was jack hammered out, and the affected traps were replaced.

Are there no clean outs to access these pipes?

Oh, and as far as laying blame...don't even think about allowing the contractor back on the site to fix the problem he caused. He is un-reliable.

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#35
In reply to #30

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/20/2010 1:16 PM

"Oh, and as far as laying blame...don't even think about allowing the contractor back on the site to fix the problem he caused. He is un-reliable."

Hello Yusef1

Boy, you said it there! There is no sense giving him (or any of the other subs for that matter) another shot at this. Participation should be limited to money.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, guys. I appreciate it.

There are many other things to consider. If the drains were truly blocked with malice aforethought, there may well be other 'stuff' behind the initial block... something that will react violently with a chemical or mechanical extraction technique. I have seem such a vengeance tactic, and the result was a workman blinded in one eye, missing fingers, and an ear burned off. This in addition to tremendous damage to the building.

If it is time to vote, I say dig 'em up and replace/repair as necessary.

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#65
In reply to #35

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/27/2010 10:54 PM

That poor worker! I'm sure he was probably just doing what he was told trying to support himself and maybe his family. Money can't buy happiness, but hopefully there was insurance in the incident.

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#31

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/19/2010 11:18 PM

I think we need to know the floor area , how many drains there are , how many drains are affected and layout of pipes from blue prints before we tell the guy to trash the floor, don't ya think. An esimate from jsimpson of how much concrete was dumped in each drain would likely really help, (If at all possible). 5 gal pail per trap maybe, 5 gal pail x 4 traps, a shovel full ? , someone on site must have an educated guess. This would help figure out or at least let us guess how far the Concrete slipped down the pipe past the trap. Size ? 4" likely, maybe 3" . I would think the amount poured in the traps would dictate how to go about getting rid of it. Even the slump would play a factor. Knowing some of the details would allow us to make better suggestions.

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/19/2010 11:46 PM

Get lost or what?

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#34
In reply to #32

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/20/2010 9:56 AM

I think jsimpson has left the building.

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#37

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/20/2010 7:01 PM

We changed into a LAW fo(i)r(u)m?

Did I tell my friends experience on 6 years unhappiness with a lawyer, trying to fix his building problem?

The sun started to shine when someone actually did the physics work.

Multiple tens of thousands of US dollars later. Lawyers need to eat too.

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#38
In reply to #37

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/20/2010 10:01 PM

A town too small for a lawyer is always large enough for 2 lawyers.

HTRN

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#49

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/21/2010 8:48 AM

Many thanks to everyone submiting solutions to my problem, I have some great ideas to mull over...THANKS GUYS. jsimpson

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/21/2010 8:58 AM

You are very Welcome and Good Luck!

Sorry the legal avenues did not work out.

Tell us how well the cement solvents, hydraulic ram and/or any in the field choices worked out.

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#51

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/21/2010 9:46 AM

What about hydrodemolition.

If you contact local specialists they may need to develop some custom equipment for your job, but, it sounds as though it would be worth it.

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#55

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/24/2010 2:42 PM

Contact the Deepwater Horizon crew... The concrete they put in the hole didn't adhere to anything! But then you never know what might end up all over your floor. {sorry}

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#56
In reply to #55

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/24/2010 3:18 PM

{my edit time expired?}

Everyone keeps saying HCl or muriatic acid, sulfuric acid (diluted to 50%) H2SO4 would work cheaper/better and have much less of a fume problem.

I suggest you start by using a small masonry drill and a chisel to get as much of the concrete as possible out of the top of the pipe. Then use that reservoir to hold the H2SO4 solution. you'll only have to protect the surrounding area from direct spillage/splash with poly-film and a loose fitting cover.

When the liquid stops fizzing on the concrete plug, douse it with baking soda until that stops fizzing, then you'll be able to suck out the debris with a shop-vac. Use a tool or a coiled wire to abrade the plug until the unaffected core is reached then repeat until the pipe is clear.

If you dilute the acid as needed(*) and use it warm it'll go faster, but expect 45 min to an hour for each treatment depending on the concrete.

(*) WARNING: Do not dilute the acid in the pipe, dilute it in a proper bucket, then use it fresh, it will be quite warm! (HOT)

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#57
In reply to #56

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/24/2010 3:33 PM

In post #47 jsimpson tells us it is 3 foot below grade.

I am uncertain if the blockage is encountered at 3', or if the trap inlet elevation is 3' below floor. Either of those is bad, and makes difficult mechanical action, extraction of debris, seeing what is going on, shop-vac... this is a difficult problem.

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#59
In reply to #57

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/24/2010 4:23 PM

It's precisely because he has 3' of rise that I suggested H2SO4, it is much denser than HCl, so there will be some stirring effect for quite a while. The HCl will stratify over the CaCl2 brine and stop working in minutes.

If the top of the plug is 3' down, one fill of acid should chew all the way through an S-trap full of cement.

If the plug rises to the surface , then he has to create a depression to hold a batch of acid, which will gradually work its way down to the trap. BTW, if the cement really is all the way up the vertical then there is probably a wad of paper or rocks or sticks in the trap, otherwise the wet concrete would have "flushed" as the vandals tried to fill the drain.

A plumber-rooter tool will dislodge the aggregate from the gypsum-ized matrix after the acid has its way, but a bent coat-hanger would be strong enough too.

Sure he'll need to use a snorkel on the shop-vac hose, but the point is that I'd vacuum up CaSO4 waste without a 2nd thought, whereas cleaning out the HCl & brine requires near-hazmat precautions.

Thanks for pointing out the less than clear issues.

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#60
In reply to #59

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/24/2010 5:16 PM

Hello tick-tock. I neglected to greet you before, please forgive me.

Well, let's discuss this 'S' trap. jsimpson keeps telling us about it, but I have resisted that, and have refered to a 'P' trap. There is a distinct difference.

First and foremost, an 'S' trap is not legal to use in a commercial building, and not legal in most non-commercial applications either. A generalized comment from Wikipedia: "In many locations, "S" traps are no longer accepted by the plumbing codes and are even illegal, as these traps tend to easily siphon dry even when well-vented. It is often possible to tell whether a household uses an S or U-bend by checking for the presence of an overflow pipe outlet. Certain drum-styled traps are also discouraged or banned." More general info can be found here.

Your comment "If the top of the plug is 3' down, one fill of acid should chew all the way through an S-trap full of cement." , I believe, is correct. With an 'S' trap, there might be some hope for this chemical solution to work. The waste travels vertically, makes a 1800 turn then another immediate 1800, back to vertical. I looked for an image on Google and, oddly enough, there are very few. This

is the best I could find. Soften it up, push it through, and let is get stuck somewhere else... hopefully not in my building!

The 'P' trap shown in #14 is probably more like what is in place. Should the blockage (we keep saying concrete, but is that what it really is?) have been pushed past the 900 into the 3% from horizontal slope very far, I doubt chemicals will be effective.

I do hope jsimpson will keep us advised regarding the decision and progress.

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#61
In reply to #60

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/24/2010 11:36 PM

Interesting point there Doorman. If instead of a P trap that was filled with cement there was a P trap, I wonder what bearing this might have with the already decided legal ruling. For if the original contractor installed anything that deviated from the original construction specifications (aside from the first legal attempts) then any demolition work required to identify and correct the existing plumbing to match the contracted plumbing should lie in the original contractor's responsibility.

I admit, I maybe beating a dead horse here. But it does help to get the frustrations out.

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#62
In reply to #60

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/25/2010 10:59 AM

Hi Doorman,

No slight of etiquette was perceived. -- BTW are you related to my other favorite superhero; Milkman (Ret.)?

You're probably right about it being a P-trap otherwise the contractor should've never been allowed to pour the floor. But we all know how *real* inspections work... :^(

If we allow that the drain would have been OK if not for the vandals, then the OP has only "10" ^_^ choices: Powerful drain cleaner. -- or -- Rip up the floor. And while the total cost criteria favors the acid, in most situations they'll opt for the jackhammer.

Since most vandals are hesitant to spend much $$$ to accomplish their mischief, the plug is probably unsophisticated, but you bring up a very good point.

If the vandal did pour something nasty into the pipe, like mastic or carpet glue, noxious materials of opportunity, then a saw & jackhammer are going to be the tools they'll need.

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#63

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/25/2010 11:37 AM

I am not sure if someone said this before, but how about trying sulfamic acid, it doesn't smell much but it might be slow. Its sold as a powder usually in the tile section of a major hardware store for removing grout.

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#64

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

06/27/2010 10:44 PM

similiar to #25 and #28, with a long hammer drill bit, or DIY long thin rod. either drill small diameter hole and then "auger /screw" in a next size up screw/ lag bolt welded to a rod. this may break up the top and then frequently vacuum with wet and dry canister type vacuum. you can make any size of vacuum hose and force together with duct tape. empty frequently. we have used vacuums with sand or gravel, bolts, nuts,glass in sumps, pumps conduit...

if this is a case of the plumbing pipes coming undone [floating up] during the slab pour, then the concrete may be on the other end of horizontal run at the vertical connection.

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#66

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

07/18/2022 7:55 PM

I know this is old but, it Sounds like you had a nonunion contractors working at a union plant. Unions are known for dong things like that.

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#67

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

07/26/2022 10:50 PM

If the pipes are plastic, you may be able to dissolve the cement portion of the concrete using hydrochloric acid. You'll still need a roto-rooter to get the sand and gravel out, and you will want to flush the pipes thoroughly with water and an alkali after that is done.

If the pipes are metal, my suggestion is useless.

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#69

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

07/26/2022 11:30 PM

Hydrochloric acid is effective as well as economical. It is also not so corrosive as other acids are .

Soak the traps with dilute acid, leave overnight and use patience for removing the obstruction in small increments with a pointed thin, but rigid steel rod .

Patience is the key word - not force .

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#71

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

07/27/2022 1:23 AM

I had a situation where a gutter drain was plugged up with pieces of concrete when my walkway was poured. I puzzled over it and then poked around in it and found it to be chunks of concrete. I bought some plastic tubing, in my case it was around two inches in diameter, and I improvised a connection to my shop vacuum and sucked the concrete out. Pieces too large were held against the tubing and I could pull those pieces out and then shove the tubing back down until I was able to clear the line of the concrete. Perhaps this technique will work for your situation.

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#72

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

07/27/2022 4:36 AM

From experience I would use Hydrochloric acid to etch the concrete away. Have used it to eat concrete away off walls where it had been splashed in large dollops. All the usual precaution will need to be taken re PPE and ventilation for the acid gives of HCL fumes when it is used in the undiluted 35% form. From memory it is not possible to increase the concentration above 35% before the HCL is given off.

More drastic would be to use Nitric acid up to 98% concentration but at this high value it to gives off brown or white fumes but below 86% it tends not to fume. Sulphuric acid up to 98% concentration is available and lesser concentration is used in lead acid batteries.

Sulphuric acid reduces the cement to aggregate and Calcium sulphate or Gypsum which is soluble and can be washed away with water. Sulphuric acid or hydrochloric would be cheaper than nitric acid.

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#77

Re: Floor Drains Full of Concrete

07/27/2022 2:02 PM

It's been *TWELVE YEARS* someone should ask jsimpson what they did.

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