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Assume a plumbing main breaks for whatever reason, and sewage begins to leak into the foundation of a house.

What is the typical timeline for events to play out? For example, plumbing breaks on day x, noticeable smells can be detected by day y, plumbing goes unfixed for z days, sewage continues to leak into the foundation until x days, foundation begins to shift at y days, cracks become visible in home's structure around z days, etc, so on and so forth.

Obviously, there are many factors involved that would cause these to differ from house to house, but I would like to get an overall general idea of the series of events.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

The answer to your question is that there is no answer - there are just so many variables that it's really impossible to answer with anything quantitative.

The biggest variable is how much water is going down the drain. If you had a clog but very little water usage, it could be days before you saw anything on your basement floor. If you have a family of 8 taking showers every day it will show a lot quicker.

The smells start being noticable when sewage starts backing up on your floor, until then its unlikely you'd notice anything. Again, this can vary. If you are just putting fresh water down your drain, it might never smell. My neighbour didn't notice until they had several feet of water in their basement!

The rate of deteroiration will depend on age and condition of foundation beforehand, temperature, soil conditions, what the house was built on, quality of construction, thickness of foundation, etc.

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