I did call my plumber. He thinks that leaving the cleanout open near the property line should provide enough of an air gap to prevent sputtering toilets when the city cleans the main sewer line. He suggested that the cleanout cover likely wasn't left open enough (if at all) when the sputtering did occur. He also suggested removing the Sewer Popper lid on the cleanout near the house. It's concealed inside of one of those rectangular green access boxes, so I went ahead and did that. Now I'll just wait until next year to see what happens when the city cleans the main sewer line again. There is a vertical pipe that vents the sewer line in the subfloor up and out through the roof. I'm going to hold off on checking it for clogs. There is a good chance it could be clogged, but I'm hoping the two other openings will do the trick. Does this seem like a reasonable approach?
Is your home on a hill and is the street level? Are you the first home at the end of a sewer line? When they pressure wash sewer lines they use a lot of water at I believe around 10,000 psi or more. Someone will correct me if I am wrong, but there is so much water and pressure coming to your bath room that it could blow water back up through your toilet causing the bubbling and girgeling you experience. Does water come up through the lower traps in you home, the tub or shower? The head used by the city on their hose can have a small hole with water jetting out forward but they also can have jets blowing on a 45 degree angle backward so when they go through any stoppage or lots of paper in the sewer, the backward jets flush the debris toward the city manhole so they can vaccume it out. Another thought is that perhaps your home isn't vented properly or with large enough vents to equal the size of the main sewer line coming into your home. A vent could have a partial blockage in it not allowing the pressure from the city's work to escape and cause the toilets to bubble. You will have to be a detective and eliminate every possibility.
sloren, thanks for the response and for the ideas on things to check. It definitely gives me some questions to ask the plumber. The neighborhood is completely flat and level. I may be near one end of the sewer line because I can see the city truck out my front window at the manhole one house down when they are cleaning the main sewer line and the sputtering is occurring. And -- forgot to mention this in my original post -- my neighbor in that house has sputtering toilets too.
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