Bathroom pipes connected to Kitchen pipes?

My friend at work lives in a high rise condo, it’s old, but not that old, probably 1960’s. She was out with us when this incident occured. Apparently, her neighbor had a blockage in his bathroom, I’m guessing sink, but from the results, it could have easily been the toilet. The building engineer used a high pressure blast to clear the blockage. This resulted in an explosion in my friend’s kitchen. In short, her entire place smells like someone took a monster dump in it. There are chuncks of what she claims is fecal matter all over her kitchen, along with brownish liquid and splatter marks everywhere. She took pictures of it and everything. They cleaned up the apartment last night, but it still smells even with the windows open all night.

So, is this possible? Is the bathroom pipe connected to the kitchen pipes, vice versa? What else could cause that stench and destruction?

Yes. Drains in the same building all connect. They all go to the same place.

It’s more common in a multi-level apartment building to have a common floor plan and all the kitchens lining up to the same vertical drain pipe, ditto all the bathrooms.

Yes. It’s common to have the same drain serve both the kitchen and the bathroom.

It’s not common to use a high pressure blast (of air, I presume?) to clear drain pipes, as they are not designed to be pressurized. Using a pipe snake from a cleanout is the way to do it.

Man, that would suck. It could only be worse if your friend was standing at the sink when it happened.

How many weeks is your friend going to let scalding water run through those pipes before using them again?

The condo association owes him/her a bottled water supply for as long as he’s/ she’s a tennant there.

Just in case you’re really confused over this, the sewage must have come out of the kitchen * drain *, not the faucet. Put a blockage downstream of wherever the waste pipes merge, and this is not an unexpected result.

Still, my enthusiasm for using that kitchen would be pretty low.

Holy crap! (no pun intended) So, it is possible? :eek: So, does incoming water use those same pipes, too? I doubt it. Aren’t they under pressure, and/or a distinct separate part of the plumbing system?

I don’t do civil litigation, and property law was never a specialty/interest of mine, but this should be a condition to break the lease, I would imagine. My friend is super-clean, like OCD clean. She couldn’t even sleep at her place last night. Oh, and yes, it was high pressure air blast that was used.

Have you seen a sink? The water comes out of the thing with the handles on it and the drain is at the bottom of the fixture. Drain and water supply not being connected.

Ah, obviously I was. Thanks Finagle. Like you say though, I too am not feeling much better about the friend’s situation. That building engineer has some explaining to do. Who in their right mind pressurizes unpressurized pipes?

The supply pipes and waste pipes are entirely separate systems.

All of the waste pipes have to come together eventually, since you have only one connection to the sewer. Usually, this is done at convenient places in the design, and using connections that minimize backing up into other drains. Introduce a clog, lets say 1ft past a connection, and pump in a bunch of pressure, all the stuff behind the clog will go up the line to the other drain. Stupid, stupid way to get rid of a clog, but fast, which is good for the lazy super.

I once had a clog past a joint, it resulted in kitchen water backing up into my bathtub. The sink and tub shared a wall, so their linkup was pretty close to the drains.

You’d be surprised at how bad the gunk in your kitchen sink drain can smell if it gets blown back up into your living space.


The incoming water and the drain system are two completely separate systems. They do not interconnect in any way.

What happened in your friend’s case (apparently) is that the use of pressure to clear the blockage in another apartment caused sewage and other drain water to come out of the drain pipes in your friend’s sink.

The water coming out of the faucets is still clean water (although it would be a good idea to thoroughly wash the faucets themselves).

WOW. A quintuple simulpost.

CORRECTION.The supply pipes and waste pipes are SUPPOSED TO BE entirely separate systems.

You would be surprised what plumbing inspectors find!

Most of the time a compressed gas drain clog buster will do it’s job with mo harm done. The exception is a disaster!

Get a hydraulic 'DraIn King," hook it to a garden hose and turn on the water slowly. It will clear any clog except poured concrete. Disconnect immediately as it is connected by what is called a cross connection to an usafe source in most cases.

Elaine got after George for pissing in the shower at the health club. George’s response, “It’s all pipes.”