Help! Chunk of plaster stuck in main drain line. Can't remove it!


Well-known member
May 29, 2017
Worcester, MA
So I've been wondering what has been clogging my main drain line. I bought a house a few months back with a pool and we are getting it dialed in. Realized 2 weeks ago our main drain is connected to the second port in the bottom of our skimmer basket. It's my mission to get it to work and also to use our new float valve assembly to help direct flow between skimmer and main drain.

Anyway, earlier this week I noticed the main drain seems to be blocked as there is a lot of cavitation and air when I connect to it.

At the suggestion of people on this site, I purchased a "drain king" and blasted it for several minutes, several times.

Then today, I hooked up my float valve assembly and connected the pump directly to the main drain. There was a lot of noise and cavitation.

I turned the pump off, removed the flat valve assembly from the skimmer basket, and viewed down the tube to the main drain. That is when I saw a large (a bit smaller than a golf ball) chunk of plaster wedged into the fitting at the end of the main drain line as it enters the bottom of the skimmer basket. It got sucked up and stuck there when I shut the float valve.

It's too deep and down the pipe too far to get out. I can see it, but cannot "reach" it. I took a long screwdriver and was able to touch it, but then it detached and fell back down the pipe again. Did this a few more times along with a few blasts with drain king. Same result. I can't get it out.

I'm also worried if I continue to try. As of now it is in the main drain line and my pump / skimmer works perfectly. I worry if I close the float valve it will somehow break free, get into the skimmer basket and then get stuck in my main line from my skimmer to my pump. That would be a DISASTER.

Any suggestions on how on earth I can get this chunk of plaster out of the main drain line? And also how I can prevent it from getting stuck in my main line from skimmer to pump?



Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
Tucson, AZ
Wondering if there is a way to grab it with pliers or something to try to break it into smaller pieces .... will be thinking more .....


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
Bedford, TX

Sorry, I can't think of anything off the top of my head that would work... :confused:

But, before you go crazy, keep in mind that there are thousands of pools that operate just fine without an operating main drain. I suspect even if you get your main drain working, that you will not be able to tell the difference, one way or the other.

Let's see if one of our sharper members can come up with a solution to your problem..

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.


TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
Maybe dissolve it with acid if you can figure out a way to do it safely.

Put a screw-in grate in the main line hole.


Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 31, 2015
Gaylesville, AL
I wish you lived closer to me... I have a long (2 foot long) pick at work that has a small hook at the end of it that I am willing to bet could get down there, and grab it for you.

That being said... the lightbulb just went on over my head.

You can go to harbour freight, buy a LONG flat screwdriver, drill a hole in the blade on a slight upward angle JUST big enough to put a small finishing nail through (point facing back towards the handle), and snag that thing.


Silver Supporter
Jul 3, 2016
I don't know if this helps, found it on another website
"About 4 Years ago we had the pool replastered. We discovered immediately that the attached spa had plaster in the bottom drain. The pool contractor came out and put a standpipe in it and poured acid into the pipe, it dissolved the clog, no problem."