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Question DetailsAsked on 5/6/2018

rocks coming n toilet when flushed

small pebbles coming in toilet when flushed

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1 Answer


First thing I would look for - take lid off tank and see if someone put containers of pebbles in there to reduce the water volume in the tank (and hence cut flush volume) to save on water. Maybe one broke open or deteriorated and split from the chlorinated water (especially if you or they use/used the toilet cleaning tablets). If so, remove containers and pebbles or replace with something which will not spill out pebbles if you still want to reduce the tank volume - or just adjust the float height to not refill so high. Any in the bottom of the bowl, assuming just a few, may well pass on through the system in normal use. If large size or quantity, you may have to pull them out of the bottom of the bowl - large long handled salad spoon or tongs should work well, or to avoid trashing kitchen appliances just use a couple of sticks like they are chopsticks, if you are coordinated. Stick with a piece of stiff plastic or waxed cardboard like a spoon will work too.

If not coming from the tank, then I would assume this is a toilet set in a slab on grade, AND you have a broken sewer pipe near the toilet, AND you have a blockage downstream. So when you flush the water is filling the sewer riser or vent pipe and probably a void around it at a break near the toilet and then, when flushing is nearing completion (main outflow has finished) that water in the void around the pipe is flowing back into the toilet, bringing some pebbles with it as it erodes the fill material around the pipe. In that case, likely to need some tearing into the floor to find the problem spot - probably within just a foot or few of the toilet for pebbles to be making it back into the toilet.

If the latter case (pebbles coming in from the sewer pipe, backflushing into the toilet) I would get this fixed ASAP - not only because it is creating a void under the house and you are getting sewage under the foundation which might start seeping back in, but that soil entering the pipe could cause a total sewer pipe blockage at any moment. Repair cost generally $300 minimum and commonly $500-1000 range depending on access and amount of concrete cutting needed to repair it, then backfill with compacted fill material and reconcrete the floor. And no, cost of the Plumber will almost never be covered by insurance because this will likely a considered a long-term problem, not a one-time immediate occurrence.

In addition to getting the pipe fixed, I would STRONGLY advise then (after repair is done) getting the pipe cleaned out - jetting is likely the best way to chase the pebbles out of your pipe into the septic tank or street sewer. Failure to clean the pebbles in the pipe (which presumably are currently making it back up to wash pebbles in to the toilet) makes for a readymade dam to catch solids and eventually create a total blockage.'

Get it cleaned full-diameter in the process - something which should be done every 5-20 years depending on number of users in the house, amount of hot water put down the drains (good) and amount of grease or garbage disposal debris put down (bad) - but fiber, soap scum, and grease will eventually plug up most any sewer pipe so full-diameter cleaning to the street or septic tank should be a routine maintenance item. Typically about $150-350 depending on whether a toilet needs to be removed to access it and length of run to street.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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