The tilting Millennium Tower's sewage is backing up, flooding units

Originally published at: The tilting Millennium Tower's sewage is backing up, flooding units | Boing Boing


Basic physics.

(ETA: restricted for language, not visually explicit)


Wait, sewage coming from the oven? How is that even Peoria?

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On the third floor!?!

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Could be the tilting because that would lead to a bit of bending in the lower parts of the structure and that might affect the pipes.
Could be someone flushed a towel.
A shitty situation either way.


I’m hoping practical engineering will throw together a transparent mockup of a highrise sewage system (already fun) and put it on a tilting platform. I want to see the magic happen.


Well, when it collapses it will give CNN something new to spend 24 hours a day on.


The Towering Earthquake Inferno.

“Okay, so the plan is to put out the fire on the lower floors with sewage from the top, then get out before the next tremor hits and the building comes down.”

“It’s a shitty plan!”


According to Wikipedia the 605 ft tall tower is currently leaning about 28 inches when measured from the roof to the ground. Doing the trig, that results in an angle of about, uhmm, a really small number. Horizontal sewage and drain pipes have a mandatory downward slope per local building codes, which is far more than whatever the slope of the building is. So yeah, any sewage backups are in all likelihood being caused by much more mundane reasons, such as whatever they’re been flushing down the toilet. And there are claims that sewage is backing up into ovens? WTF?


I’m currently battling the complications of “non-standard plumbing solutions” implemented by my farm’s previous owners. They made some bizarre choices, including neatly trenching 1500’ of pipe underground from one house to another instead of replacing the burnt out pump I just pulled from a well near the second house. But at no point do they seem to have run the septic system through the oven. So that’s a plus.


We’re all in this together, kid!




Something like 0.2 degrees, I think. Assuming that the building is rigid and dosen’t have any major local distortions or whatever.

Sewer pipes between 3" and 6" diameter usually have a minimum required slope of 1/8 inch of elevation per foot of length, or just over 3 times the lean of the building. (Not as steep as you’d expect, right?)

So I dunno. The change to pipe slope seems fairly minimal but maybe it really is enough to affect function, at least if the pipes were originally installed with the very minimum slope allowed.

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The plumbing code for sewage pipe slope, at least for the area that I work in, is 1/8" fall per foot of run for pipes 4" and larger, and 1/4" fall per foot of run for pipes smaller than 4".

If the slope is too steep, the water will outrun the solids, leaving it sitting to block future sewage. If the slope is too shallow, the sewage travels too slowly to be carried away effectively.

Both situations leave shit sitting, which is not what you want shit to do.


Today I learned, or to put it another way, shit I never knew


The two aren’t separate. Assuming an ideal lightly downward slope, any change from that is going to provide worse drainage characteristics. Things that would previously have cleared now have the potential to become blockages. Its not a question of absolutes, but change at the margins. Think about the almost horizontal pipes along floors rather than the vertical pipes between them.

The residents with the visible problem could be telling the truth and it could still be wipes. If the flooded resident is lower than the guilty wipe user, the blockage could be after the lines connect. My favorite Twitter sewer district account can teach you all about the danger of “flushable” wipes.

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