I keep getting onion and tomato peels coming out of my basement storm drain after doing any sizable cooking and putting it through the garbage disposal. The kitchen is on the 1st floor, the drain is in front of the basement apartment door. The 1.5" drain pipe from the kitchen travels some 5' horizontally, then drops down into the basement (where it says "vertical stack"). I know the diagram because I did the pipe work a few years ago. The outdoor storm drain is 3", from the point where it meets the vertical stack coming from upstairs, it becomes 4".

It can be snaked out, I have done it several times. But is there any way I can prevent this from happening in the future without digging out and rearranging my drain pipes? Could it be cause by poor drainage downstream, which causes buildup in the pipe so the solid waste doesn't drain as fast and it floats up and through the outside drain?

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  • 4
    Get a plumber to put a camera down your drain to see what's up - you shouldn't have to snake it that often. There could be a collapse in the sewer line, or it could be that when snaking it you are just making a small hole through the sludge
    – Steven
    Jan 8, 2013 at 17:59
  • How is the "vertical stack" connected to the drain line in the basement, is it a tee or a wye?
    – Tester101
    Jan 8, 2013 at 18:07
  • it is a wye because the outdoor drain also ties into it in the same place
    – amphibient
    Jan 8, 2013 at 18:11
  • T and Wye refer to the shape of the connector. Both styles would connect in the same place. T connectors are shaped like T's, while wyes are shaped like Y Jan 8, 2013 at 18:22
  • 1
    One practical step is to eliminate placing excess solid type waste down your kitched drain. Whilst this will probably not fix the root casue of your problem [pun intended :-) ] it can go a long way toward not having to see all the vegatable waste in your basement. Try composting or simply discard the solid waste in the regular garbage barrel.
    – Michael Karas
    Jan 8, 2013 at 21:00

1 Answer 1


It is obvious to me that the main sewer line is restricted somewhere between the house and town line. In areas that allow storm drains to be coupled to sewer lines, it is important that these lines run freely. If yours is backing up with kitchen waste, there is only one solution. You need to have the line checked with a camera. you could have a simple clog, a root growing through the line in the yard, a rust blockage if it is black pipe, etc. You won't know until it is looked at. At that point I'm sure you will need a rotary bit cleaning or a new liner installed. The longer you wait, the worse it will get. There is no DIY cure for this type of problem.

  • Agreed! Also have to say that I find storm drain and waste line to be totally incompatible. Why would you want rain water going into the sewer?
    – Paul
    Jan 8, 2013 at 21:56
  • many towns and cities do not allow that to happen. It totally overloads the treatment plants after a storm. Storm drains are routed separately to cisterns or to the ocean or large river. Jan 8, 2013 at 22:35
  • do you think this will do the job: amazon.com/gp/product/B004ADETZ0/…
    – amphibient
    Jan 9, 2013 at 18:29
  • @Foampile I have not seen or used that product. i believe it would have to be attached to a semi rigid snake. The question still begs, when or if you see the constriction, what are you gonna do? I doubt it is gonna be soft and easy to remove. The walls of the pipe should be scraped down good. Jan 9, 2013 at 18:53
  • @amphibient I've used the item you link to. It worked for a grand total of 5 minutes.
    – Louis
    Nov 14, 2013 at 11:38

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