I'm trying to purchase a new build by a small builder. My home inspector was impressed with his build saying he did a lot of silent upgrades that were not necessary but a regular home owner would not know.

Anyhow, around the white clean out line for plumbing, the ground is soft. We've had 100 degree days and it's still soft. Not mud, just soft. The cap was broken and maybe sewage got out as there was a smell for a while but we assumed it was neighbor's dogs. The smell is gone now but wondered if having a broken cap could have made it soft for a while until it fully dries. Or if there could be a leak and something I should check for.

  • Leak checks can be done by dumping a (nontoxic) dye into a toilet or sink fixture and running the water for a while to see if the dye color shows up in the ground anywhere. Jul 22 '16 at 15:07

The broken cap would not generally result in liquid spilling to the ground and saturating/softening the surrounding earth unless there had been a stoppage/blockage and the entire line backed up.

If you have not had a blockage, consider whether the soft ground could just be the result of the recent excavation required for the install. After the line was installed in the trench, the builder would normally back-fill it with the same dirt that was removed but perhaps did not compact it enough.

If you need to reassure yourself that the line has not been compromised, the easiest and quickest solution would be to just hire a plumber with a drain inspection camera.

  • The smell ended up being the cap being left off for an extended period of time. I guess it can remain standing for a bit. However, I have since moved into the house and no problems. Also, I did hire a plumber who came out on a Saturday and didn't charge weekend rate...actually the job was so simple, he cut me a break...lol. But he listed to the flushes and it all sounded good. Thank you!
    – traveler84
    Nov 16 '16 at 20:39

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