How to Handle the Inflow and Infiltration Issues in Your Golden Valley Home

Infiltration and inflow, abbreviated as I/I, refers to groundwater or rainwater that comes into the sanitary sewer system through cracked pipes, leaky manholes, roof and gutter downspouts, sump pumps, foundation drains, and incorrectly connected storm drains. Groundwater, rainwater, and snowmelt are the sources of most inflow and infiltration, and an excess of this can cause problems.

Research tells us that as much as 40% of I/I enters the sanitary sewer system from building sewers. Because the sanitary sewer system was not designed to handle this excess water, it easily becomes overloaded during storms or heavy rainfall. The result is often flooded basements, sewer backups or raw sewage overflowing into our local waterways.

When I/I enters the municipal sewer system, it can easily overwhelm the wastewater treatment process, resulting in increased costs to the city that eventually get passed on to you as a property owner. The City of Golden Valley is working to become a regional leader in reducing excess I/I, and at Marvel Sewer and Drain, we are proud to be part of the effort.

We have some tips to avoid problems with inflow and infiltration in your Golden Valley home:

  1. Only flush toilet paper and human waste down the toilet. Never use the toilet to dispose of feminine hygiene products, sanitary wipes, paper towels, cleaning cloths or any other form of garbage.
  2. Use sink and shower drain strainers to collect hair and other debris and prevent them from clogging up drains.
  3. Strain kitchen greases into a designated container and dispose of it in a trash bin.
  4. Dispose of food scraps appropriately, either via composting or throwing it in the garbage.
  5. Don’t flush garbage, medication or harmful chemicals down the toilet.
  6. Don’t plant trees or large shrubs near sewer lines. In their instinctive quest for nutrients and moisture, roots can easily invade sewer pipes and cause stubborn clogs.
  7. Don’t pour cooking grease down the drain. Grease accumulates inside drains and leads to major pipe blockages.
  8. Don’t connect any type of flood control system directly to your sanitary sewer. These types of connections are against the law.

With these tips in mind, you can help prevent accidents involving inflow and infiltration in your home. For more information, contact Marvel Sewer and Drain for details.

How to Keep Your Pipes Healthy in the Winter in Crystal, Minnesota

Minnesota winters can be brutally cold, and the freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your pipes without proper care and insulation. At Marvel Sewer and Drain, we aim to keep our clients protected from plumbing disasters, which is why we’ve composed a quick list of preventative measures you can take in the winter months to keep your pipes running smoothly.

The best thing you can do to keep your pipes healthy in the winter is to have a professional video inspection completed. Regular check-ups for your pipelines can give you peace of mind and help you avoid costly disasters in the future by identifying potential cracks, breaks, and damage. Most pipeline emergencies can be attributed to inconsistent check-ups, so having an experienced technician take a look at the quality of your pipes regularly can help you avoid future accidents and the collateral damage.

During the inspection, one of our licensed technicians will be able to thoroughly examine the pipes from the inside with a small, waterproof, high-resolution camera. Using an existing access point, the camera will be either manually inserted on a flexible rod, which the technician will be able to manipulate by hand, or driven through the pipe on a small tractor. A powerful light attached to the camera will illuminate the inside of the pipes and a live feed of the footage captured will be sent back to the technician to review. Breaks, cracks, clogs, and root infiltration are visible and discernible, thanks to the camera. A comprehensive diagnosis will let you know if and what repairs are needed to keep your pipes healthy, especially in the colder months.

You may also choose to take additional measures to protect the integrity of your pipes. Some things you can do at home to keep pipes from freezing and breaking are running the water on a regular basis and wrapping exposed piping with insulation.

Taking care of your pipes is the best way to ensure that you won’t find yourself standing in freezing water. Let Marvel Sewer and Drain come out to your property and give you peace of mind, so you can enjoy the majestic beauty of winter, without the nagging fear of a pipeline disaster.

Don’t Fear the Minneapolis Winter, We Can Install Trenchless Pipelines Year-Round

If you’re located in Minneapolis and are experiencing pipeline problems this winter, don’t worry! Our experts at Marvel Sewer and Drain utilize cutting-edge trenchless sewer technology that carries modifications for harsh winter conditions. This allows us to install your long-lasting, highly durable sewer pipe lining or new pipeline system at any time of year, and saves you from the hassle and worry of a home or business pipeline accident – particularly around the busy holiday season!

What Makes Trenchless Technology So Great?

At Marvel Sewer and Drain, we offer a number of trenchless services geared towards simple maintenance or heavy repair. Depending on your needs, we use one or a combination of these procedures to solve your problem in a minimally invasive, low-mess way. All procedures, regardless of severity, are characterized by requiring only a small hole to access your pipe. This is in contrast to traditional methods, which need a large hole, or trench, to be dug in your backyard or underneath the foundation of your house to reach and replace long sections of pipe.

With our sewer camera inspections, performed prior to any repair, trenchless services are also more precise. A small, high-definition camera is threaded into your pipe to locate and assess the damage, eliminating potentially expensive guesswork. Together, the different aspects of a trenchless service mean your job will be completed in a fraction of the time a traditional procedure might take (often in under a day), clean-up is hugely reduced (meaning your landscaping or foundation won’t need repair), and the hassle to your family or business is minimal.

Marvel Sewer and Drain To The Rescue This Winter

At the time of your service, our highly-trained team of professionals will assist you in choosing the best procedure for your needs, which could vary based on the nature of your plumbing issue:

  • Cured-in-place pipe lining (CIPP): A great option for longer sections of pipe, or areas that are riddled with corrosion, cracks, or other issues. One of our most popular procedures, this employs a fully-constituted liner, which is affixed to the end of your pipe and forced in with high pressure, seamlessly lining the interior of your pipe.
  • PipePatch technology: This procedure is utilized for shorter areas of pipe, or when encountering a highly localized problem. Similar to CIPP, PipePatch is inserted into the pipe as a liquid epoxy resin, and cured with hot water.

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How To Get Your Pipes Ready for a Minneapolis Winter

Winter, especially in Minneapolis, can be hard on pipes. Pipes may not burst where the freeze occurs, but between the frozen points and the closure of the pipe due the pressure, this builds up to the point that the pipes can explode. Insulating the pipes can help keep them from freezing and possibly bursting, causing you unfortunate expenses that could be avoided. Keeping the faucet dripping a tiny bit can help relieve the pressure. Because of this, even if your pipes freeze they will most likely not burst. Opening all of your cabinets with sinks in them can help the pipes to get more heat and will help them to not freeze as much. Adding insulation to basements, attics, and crawl spaces will help to trap heat in these areas that usually get very cold.

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Sewer Inspection Benefits When Buying a Home

Buying a home can be a very exciting yet stressful process. First of all, it is a massive purchase, probably the biggest of your life. Even after you have completed the entire loan approval process and accepted a quote for the house of your dreams, you are still in danger. The inspection can be one of the most important parts. This process is your first line of defense against buying a house that has hidden problems. Sadly, many inspectors ignore the sewer inspection. This service can benefit you in the long run but does come with some extra costs. You are putting in hundreds of thousands of dollars into this home so let’s make sure you get what you are paying for.

Sewer Inspection and How It Works

When you hire Marvel Sewer and Drain to perform a sewer inspection at your home, a plumbing professional will employ a high-tech sewer camera. This will allow us to see what’s really going on inside your pipes.

Root Detection and Root Damage

Our main concerns when it comes to tree root damage are interruptions and cracks in the drainage pipe, excessive buildup of chunky debris, and tree roots that grow into the pipeline creating cracks and holes. If you have these issues, this is a huge red flag.

Negotiating Power

If these things are detected during a sewage inspection, you may have second thoughts. Finding these issues gives you, the buyer, an upper hand on the seller. Share the results with them and negotiate a lower price on your new home. Either they pay for the damages, or you buy your dream home at a lower cost.


Need more information on the value of your home? Call Marvel Sewer and Drain today!

DIY fixes for Plugged Drains

Here at Marvel Sewer and Drain we pride ourselves in loving what we do, from big, glamorous jobs like main sewer line inspection to the toilet and drain unclogging. As much as we love what we do, we love providing the best customer service possible. Sometimes that means putting the plunger in your hands, so to speak. If you’re experiencing poor drainage, you don’t need to run straight for the telephone, you can try these DIY options first!

Hot Water

This tip comes straight from the faucet! Running your tap at its hottest until your problem sink is full can actually go a long way to unclog a drain. The heat will help clear pipe walls of the solid fats that are a problem, particularly in kitchen sinks.

Use Your Plunger

Toilet plungers make great multi-taskers, but a sink plunger will also do the trick. First, remove any drain screens or stoppers and fill the clogged sink with enough water to completely cover the rubber part of your plunger. It’s important to plug any extra openings in the sink, such as the second drain in a double-basin sink or an overflow drain. A wet rag will work fine. From there, simply place your plunger over the drain a give a dozen or so good plunges.

Baking Soda, Vinegar and Pressure

The same properties that make baking soda and vinegar great for your child’s model volcano, make it great for drain cleaning. For this tip, prep your troublesome drain with hot tap water. Next, dump about a half cup of baking soda down the drain and let it set a few minutes. Follow that with a mixture of one cup hot water and one cup white vinegar. The hot water along with the explosive reaction between baking soda and vinegar will create pressure above your clog and blast it away.

Use a Bent Wire Hanger

Think of this as the poor man’s drain snake. With a pair of pliers, straighten out a wire clothes hanger you don’t need and make a small hook at one end. Using the hook end, “fish” for your clog. If your clog is above the p-trap, as is often the case with hair-laden bathroom sinks, the hook should pull your clog right up!

Try Soda

A soda like Coke will clean your drain using some of the same principles as baking soda and vinegar. The pressure from all that fizzy carbonation can dislodge clogs and send them down the pipes. Unlike baking soda and vinegar, though, soda beverages are full of phosphoric acid, which breaks down the buildups that cause clogs!

Things to Avoid

  • Store bought chemical cleaners
    • Drain cleaners like Drano use caustic chemicals like lye that dissolve clogs. That’s not just dangerous to be exposed to; it can also soften PVC pipes, further deteriorate old corroded pipes and even crack the porcelain.
  • Grease, hair and other unflushables
    • We call them unflushable for a reason. Things like grease, hair, paper towels, and feminine products aren’t designed to dissolve and pass through plumbing systems.
  • Going too long without consulting a plumber about a persistent clog
    • If you wait too long to address a clog that just won’t quit, you run the risk of compounding your problem. Standing water in a pipe can increase the speed of corrosion and create pressure that wears on joints and seals.

Preventative Tips

  • Use drain screens
    • A great way to keep unflushable material out of sink drains is to use drain screens. This is especially useful for shower, bathtub, and bathroom sink drains where there is more hair.
  • Use an enzyme-based drain cleaner  
  • Some commercially available drain cleaners use enzymes or bacteria to eat through the organic material clogging pipes. Not only are these less dangerous to human health, but they’re easier on septic systems, which rely on certain beneficial bacteria.

When it comes to drain cleaning in Minneapolis, Marvel Sewer and Drain is second to none. That doesn’t mean you can’t take your own crack at quick and affordable DIY drain cleaning.

No one likes to be backed up, maintain your Garbage Disposal today

Your garbage disposal takes a lot. Every day it receives a new collection of food to grind, and every day it continues to do it’s job with a metaphorical smile on its face. Like all people and appliances, however, your garbage disposal needs a break. Years of working on the job can cause buildup, erosion and if untreated, the eventual breakdown of your garbage disposal. Avoid having your garbage disposal quit on the job by learning a few ways to keep it healthy.

Garbage disposal maintenance tips

  • Fill your garbage disposal with ice cubes and a cup of rock salt, then run it for a few seconds.
  • Keep your garbage disposal clean by pouring a little dish soap down the disposal letting it run with cold water.
  • Use cold water when grinding food. This causes any grease or oil to solidify and then be grinded before reaching the trap.
  • Alternatively, don’t use hot water because it will cause the grease to liquefy and clog the drain.
  • Don’t use bleach or a drain cleaner to try and unclog your disposal.
  • Don’t put large amounts of food, too many potato peels, animal bones or grease down your sink.
  • Call a professional if your garbage disposal stops working or is working slowly.

Know when to call a professional

Garbage disposal replacements are expensive, so take caring for your disposal seriously. If your disposal exhibits any of the following signs.

  • You keep pressing the restart button. This means you either have insufficient wiring or your disposal is beginning to age.
  • You smell a foul odor. If you have tried all the quick tips, like lemon down the sink or using a little vinegar, then it’s time to call in the professionals. We can disassemble your disposal, clean out the mold and build up, and give you a better-than-new garbage disposal.
  • You hear an unsettling sound, like metal on metal. This is an indicator that the parts have started to move incorrectly and need to be realigned. If you don’t call a professional, the parts will become damaged and you will have to replace the entire unit.
  • Your garbage disposal constantly jams, even with small items. Your blades made be getting dull from age and need to be replaced, or there may be a blockage a specialist can clear out. Either way a professional is needed.

Sure, cleaning a garbage disposal can be messy business, but a sink filled with buildup is even messier. Don’t wait until your garbage disposal needs to be replaced. If you are in the Twin Cities metro region and are looking affordable and prompt service, call Marvel Sewer and Drain.

Using state of the art technology, we can clear your drains and clogs no matter how small or large, and get your garbage disposal back to new. We guarantee quick and quality service and promise 100% satisfaction or we’ll take care of the fee. Not only that, but we offer a 6-month guarantee that if the same drain backs up, we’ll come out and clean it again for free. Check out our testimonials, and call today to learn more.

How To Prevent Toilet Issues Before Things Get Messy

There are many signs to watch for that will tip you off that there is an issue with your plumbing. That’s the funny thing about underground water and sewer pipes – you can never tell what is happening with them until something goes wrong.

In the case of a clog, the last thing you want is to have a backup of sewage into your home. This is why it is important to know what to do and how to prevent toilet issues before things get messy.

That is why you should be paying attention to the signs that can be coming from your underground system.

The tips include slow moving drains, water pooling, sewer smells coming from drains and having to flush the toilet more often than usual to dispose of waste. All of these are signals telling you that there is something taking place underground and that you better get it taken care of as soon as you can.

How To Find Out What’s Wrong With Your Underground Pipes

The most efficient way to troubleshoot your underground sewer and water lines is with a pipe inspection. The plumbers at Marvel Sewer and Drain are equipped to do this for you.

All you have to do is contact us to schedule your appointment. We will send over a crew of our professional plumbers and they will conduct a pipe inspection.

Because we employ trenchless technologies to repair underground pipes we do not plow a trench through your yard to look at the pipe. A trenchless pipe inspection is very different than that.

We dig one or two small holes down to the pipe connection locations. That allows us to enter the pipe without disturbing your entire yard, street, and neighborhood. Once we can access the pipe connection we will insert a small video camera.

The camera sends us a video so we can take an up close and personal look at your sewer line from inside the pipe. It is the most accurate way of diagnosing and locating a clog, break, crack or cave in short of digging up your yard.

Once we get an actual visual on the problem, we will be able to discuss an appropriate trenchless repair with you.

In fact, you will have a few options available to you depending on the condition of the pipe and what the cause of the clog or slow draining is. Clogs we can flush out quickly where other repairs will take a little more time. All of these details we will go over with you.

Contact Us Today

Trenchless technology is a lot easier for us to use when it comes to sewer and water pipe repairs. It’s easier on the environment and it is most certainly easier on your wallet. In addition, most trenchless repairs that we take on can be completed within the day and with most of them not requiring your water service to be turned off.

So before your toilet starts to send you a very different and messy message about your plumbing, call us at Marvel Sewer and Drain. If you prefer, contact us by email for trenchless information. The number to call to speak to us directly is 763-445-9005.

Spotlight on…Ben Smith!

img_2260We’ve asked the owner of Marvel Sewer and Drain to answer some questions so our customers can get to know him better. We hope this gives you even more reason to love this guy!


Q: How long have you been in the sewer and drain cleaning industry?

A: I have been in the business for 8 years and have loved every minute. I started with another local company and learned the ropes quickly.

Q: What made you decide to start your own company?

A: To be honest, it just started happening. I got a few jobs of my own from friends of friends, and the next thing you know, I had random people calling me and I started my company. It wasn’t something I really wanted to do at first, but once the ball started rolling I just fell in love!

Q: Why did you choose the name Marvel?

A: When my first customer called, I set up the appointment for the next morning and thought to myself, ‘I need a name!’ I sat at my computer making an invoice, trying to think up a name. As I sat there, my dog was begging to go on his walk, so after 2 hours I decided to name the company after my dog, Marvel. Where all this gets fun is that Marvel is named after the comic books. I LOVE the Marvel universe and enjoy the movies, comics and games. Really anything Marvel!

Q: What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned since starting Marvel?

A: I tell you, I never knew how much work it would be! My drain cleaning skills are just a fraction of what I have to do to keep the wheels of Marvel Sewer and Drain turning.

Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve experienced while on the job?

A: It’s not something I have pulled out of drain, it’s actually some of the stories my customers have shared with me! I love the things I learn about my customers. I never thought I would have more interesting conversations being a sewer and drain cleaner than when I was a bartender. Everyday I am lucky enough to engage in great conversations and learn more about the people in our community.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: Well, my wife would be the first to tell you I am a hobby jumper! The hobby that has stuck with me the most is board gaming. I game with a group of friends every Tuesday evening. Other than that, I enjoy some TV shows and spending time with my family.

Q: How would you describe yourself, in 3 words?

A: Social, confident, beautiful. Yup, I said it.

Q: What’s the last book you read?

A: I don’t read many books, but I listen to a lot on audio! The one I am listening to now is The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service. I love to better myself!

PipePatch: No-Dig Pipe Repair

Why let people dig up your yard to repair the sewer?

We have a better strategy.

We don’t dig up your yard

♦ We don’t disrupt your life with a big mess

♦ We create a pipe stronger than the original

We use a new product called:

PipePatch: No Dig Pipe Repair

Marvel is the only licensed PipePatch residential vendor in the Twin Cities.