Yes.... it is true. The sewer line was blocked by evergreen tree roots. Although I had high hopes, it didn't take long to realize the sewer scope (camera) was not going past the big fir tree in the backyard.
Thank goodness for new sewer lining technology because the backyard was preserved and so was the big old fir tree, honeysuckle trees, lilacs, and everything else that has taken root.
The basement was dug out to expose the old sewer line and then the alley was dug up to the city main sewer line. Naturally this is a pretty easy process, or at least that is the theory. Digger Dan (Windy City Excavation) found the city main and the old line and also found out that the city main was plugged. The city guys were called to power flush the city main and because we all take orders very well, no one got sewage on them when it blew through. I did see that happen once, and I have to say I am not sure I ever laughed so hard. Yes is was disgusting, but it was truly funny and an excellent reminder to stay clear when they say "stay clear".
The new sewer liner was pulled through. It took about a day, after they were able to get their equipment around the root of the old fir tree. Quite incredible that you don't have to destroy your backyard anymore to replace a sewer line. Big plus for technology.
Now the Jenks Mansion is equipped with a new state of the art new sewer line to the city main. I did budget this expense, however I really was hoping the old line was still in good condition. What was I thinking for a house that has been vacant for almost 40 years???????