Project Description

Kennedy Krieger Tennis BallNot long ago I received a call from a plumber working on a job for Kennedy Krieger Institute. Kennedy Krieger’s maintenance staff had been struggling with a blocked sewer drain for a long time—more than a year. They called in a regular plumber who tried everything he could think of and was just about at whit’s end. He invited me to “give it a shot.”

I found a tennis ball lodged in their pipe with my video inspection camera and then had to blow it 100+ feet with a water jet until it reached the main sewer line. It took me a long time to move the ball that far.

That was a major job and very messy. The ball was hopelessly stuck in a large-volume line in a 4-story building (see bottom photo). So much raw sewage blew back on me that I lost my appetite, but in the end the plumber and his customer were happy because I solved their problem.

You have to know what you’re doing when you’re operating a high-pressure water jetter. If you don’t get the pipe you’re working on open you can flood a place in a minute. If it’s partially open it’s a lot cleaner. Unfortunately the Kennedy Krieger pipe was nearly completely blocked and poopy water shot back on me.

What I would like to know is how a tennis ball gets in a sewer line in the first place!

Fred's van and trailer at Kennedy Krieger