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The Sewage Bathtub: Forked River Case Study

A bathroom

Imagine that every time you flushed the toilet, you took a one-out-of-ten gamble that raw sewage might seep up into your bathtub.

Would those odds put you edge? Would that be enough for you to call a plumber?

We thought so.

The Toms River family this happened to had to agree. This is the story of how Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Ocean County owner — and master plumber — Frank Horvath inspected, diagnosed, and solved the case of the sewage bathtub.


The first time it happened, someone screamed bloody murder.

The toilet flushed, but the water didn’t go down — the toilet might be clogged. Right?

Wrong. Instead, a foul smell and brown water surged UP into the bathtub, from the drain. Brown water that smelled like waste, like sewage — call it whatever you want, it smelled like feces. Because it was feces.

Feces into the tub where they took their morning showers — into the tub where their kids took a bath. They bleached the tub, then scrubbed it until their hands were sore. They had to kill all the sewage bacteria with bleach. Then they had to scrub out the bleach to ensure the tub was safe for their children.

When the husband and wife recovered from the shock, they called a plumber. Just any old plumber. The guy felt confident he knew what was up.

The plumber performed a cable clearing on their main sewer line. He promised them — whatever the problem had been — he’d fixed it. He collected a few hundred bucks and went on his way.

Everything worked great for about two weeks…then it happened again. More sewage in the bathtub. More scrubbing, bleaching, and sore hands.

They called the same plumber back. He made excuses – he must not have gotten it all the first time. He offered do it again…for another few hundred bucks, of course.

Same price, same result. Another two weeks of relief—then it happened again.

They tried to get on with their lives, despite this nastiness hanging over their heads. After a while, the family almost got used to it…almost. Can you ever really get used to scrubbing out raw sewage —by hand?

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Ocean County ON THE JOB

Eventually, enough was enough. The husband and wife called Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Ocean County for a second opinion.

As soon as Frank arrived, he did something the other plumber didn’t do: he asked questions. He learned about the incidents, about the plumbing system, and how the family dealt with it.

“The family was really scared,” Frank remembered. “Every time the toilet didn’t go down right away, they got scared. They thought: ‘here it comes again.’”

He also learned about the age of the house: his first clue. Because of the town’s past, a certain age range of homes in Ocean County are extremely susceptible to this disaster.

As another contrast to the other plumber, Frank then employed a sophisticated Benjamin Franklin Plumbing tool: the sewer line cable camera. This device allows our expert plumbers to see the inside of a sewer line to locate and diagnose blockages.

Benjamin Franklin experts, are just that, experts. That’s why Frank investigated. He did his research. He measured twice and cut once.

He guided the camera through sewer system and found the cause of the blockage: tree roots. Thin fibrous tree roots. It was exactly as Frank suspected. The previous plumber HAD managed to cut a hole in the roots, but they just grew back.

Further investigation revealed more details. The roots infiltrated through a hole in the sewer pipe. You could cable clear roots as many times as you wanted, but they would always grow back.

Repairing the pipe was the only real, long-term solution. Frank explained everything to the family, openly and honestly. That meant the most to them. He had been honest with them—rather than just trying to collect a check for quick work. He cared enough to bring a solution.

Contact us to bring the compassionate, thorough solutions of Frank Horvath and Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Ocean County to your home today.