I have a drain pipe that goes through my garden, and it's clogged. I've cleared the pipe from a manhole cover, but not 100 %. I also have a special type of water cable that is designed to clear blockages.

The problem is that when the cable stops after 10-15 meters, I don't know where.. I'd like to find out where the block is, so that I can dig down to the pipe and do some brute force.

How can I find the pipe, from under the ground? Use a key finder with high noise, that I can attach to the cable and put it in the pipe? Would this be loud enough so that I can hear it from 0.5-1 meter deep ground?

I appreciate all creative answers here!

  • Is this a sewer line or a storm drain for rain runoff? – mikes Jan 1 '14 at 16:16

To the question - almost certainly impossible to hear any sort of beeper through a meter of soil.

A pipe tracer (with or without camera - there's really no need for one here) can often be rented, or there are inexpensive models that can be had for under $100 (perhaps well under if bought direct from Asia.) You either connect to the pipe if it's metal, or insert something metal (such as your snake) into a plastic pipe, and the pipe tracer will put a radio signal onto the metal part which the detector portion of the tracer can find.

If you know any amateur radio folks, this is an easy cobble from things they already have, and might be enough of an amusing application to interest one in helping you, especially if you supplied a beverage or two.


There are pipe cameras that will do what you ask. They (at least the one I used) have a signal it emits and there is a hand held tracker to follow it above ground. It will also give an idea how deep it is too. These are quite costly, last I heard in was in the hundreds of dollars (US).

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