The blob

There’s a classic science fiction movie, The Blob.

Emerald Hill is not Downington, but the alien blob did attack — and we don’t know yet whether the attack is over.

Eight to 12 feet of gelatinous, clear, mystery gunk lodged in the main drain line under the house, extending from under the pantry to under Steven’s office, toward the street. It plugged the line. The toilet and shower in the mudroom bath blocked up. There was a flood.

At 1030 pm Tuesday night, Steven texted Barry for help. Jacquela and Steven mopped up everything they could, wiped down the floor with bleach, switched on the exhaust fan, left it running overnight.

At 8 am Wednesday morning, Terry from Custom Plumbing dispatched Tim and Noah, who helped to build the plumbing system at Emerald Hill.

Tim, at rear, snakes the mudroom cleanout as Noah monitors the camera for obstructions. This is where Noah and Tim started the morning -- looking for a blockage in the drain line in the slab under the mudroom.
Tim, at rear, snakes the mudroom cleanout as Noah monitors the camera for obstructions. This is where Noah and Tim started the morning — looking for a blockage in the drain line in the slab under the mudroom.

The snake stopped about 20 feet down the drain line, and would not clear the line.

So we went looking for the whole-house cleanout.

Missing.

It’s not on the side of the house outside the kitchen.

They checked the drain line where it meets the city service main drain at the street, running a camera 75 feet inside the line, back toward the house Nothing. At least the pipe was not crushed or blocked, which would have required digging up the driveway and lawn to trench for a new line.

We put in calls to Barry at Custom Plumbing and Mark at Ranserve. Mark dispatched Mauricio from Gilsa Construction, which poured the paver slabs outside the kitchen. Barry slid his small pickup on the rain-wet street into a parking spot in front of Emerald Hill. Everyone shoveled gravel and dug, looking for a buried cleanout.

Nothing.

Barry opted to rent a snake with a camera and a locator wand. Noah and Tim drove off to pick it up. When they got back, Tim drove the snake through the mudroom cleanout and Noah walked through the house, with the wand pitching tones high and low.

We found the head of the snake lodged in the drain line under the pantry.

Then they reversed, driving the snake from the street toward the house.

That’s how they found the whole-house cleanout, buried almost two feet down in front of the house, in what used to be planting bed of bushes and weedy ground cover.

The whole-house cleanout. Found. About three feet in front of the house. About two feet to the right of the front porch.
The whole-house cleanout. Found. About three feet in front of the house. About two feet to the right of the front porch.

Barry, Tim and Noah snaked the camera through the cleanout into the pipe. That yielded our first real look at the blob. They poked. They probed. They put a cutter blade on the snake. Stick the roto-rooter in and spin away, and the blob just re-formed.

Tim, snaking.
Tim, snaking. Noah with a run of blue pex that they used to spear the blob, taking away small bites.

Two hours into the counterattack, the blob suddenly gave way as Barry flushed the toilet in the mudroom.

What was it? We don’t know. Barry, Tim and Noah agree they have never seen anything like it.

The blob, in the pipe, on the plumbing camera.
The blob, in the pipe, on the plumbing camera.

It’s not normal household waste — feces, toilet paper, rice, vegetable materials, etc. All that stuff was backed up behind the blob. It appears “brain like,” folding back on itself and pulsing.

Steven believes it is some kind of construction material dumped into the line. But, what?

Barry will be back Friday to run the camera back into the pipe for a second look. Just in case.

 

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