Common Sewer line Problems and How to Prevent Them

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August 19, 2023

Common sewer line problems problems

If you have been told your sewer line or lines are in trouble you may be asking what are the most common causes of sewer line problems?  In this blog we’ll cover the most common sewer line problems and the top causes of failure. We’ll also go over what you can do to prevent them and some of the signs of sewer line trouble. Here’s a quick list of the most common sewer line issues. 

Tree Roots in Your Sewer Lines

Problem- Roots getting into your sewer line. This is the biggest one in the Spokane area. Sewer lines tend to fail from tree root intrusion. Tree roots seek water and nutrients, sewer lines are rich in both. It’s a recipe for disaster, newer sewer line materials are more robust to resist root intrusions but given enough time and the proper motivation roots will get in.

Solution- There are several solutions to keep roots out of your sewer lines, the first is prevention.

  1. Plan where to plant trees and plants,  try to avoid putting them directly over the sewer line. Alternately you can plant trees and shrubs that don’t have seeking roots and are deemed “sewer safe”
  2. Several types of barriers are commercially available to help discourage roots form getting into sewer lines.
  3. Certain chemicals are used to discourage root growth but should be used with caution as they can also inhibit landscape growth. Some examples are potassium hydroxide or copper sulfate.
  4. Finally keeping your trees and landscape properly watered and having soil nutrients readily available can help prevent the roots from growing down into septic lines.

Grease Deposits in Your Sewer Lines

Problem- Grease in your sewer line can cause big problems. Grease deposits can harden can clog up your sewer lines, just like your arteries. Eventually this can cause water interruption, backups and even breaks in the line. In the sewer and plumbing industries this kind of buildup is referred to by the acronym FOG short for Fat’s Oils and Grease.

Solution- There are again several solutions to prevent grease problems in your sewer lines. The first once again is prevention.

  1. Don’t pour oils fats and grease down your drains.
  2. Install a grease trap or grease interceptor. This is a device designed to prevent fats oils and grease from getting into public sewer systems or septic tanks.
  3. Sewer line cleaning such as hydro jetting can help prevent these kinds of FOG build ups in sewer lines.
  4. As always, the price of freedom for fear of sewer backups is eternal vigilance of your sewer lines, regular inspections can help you know when a sewer line might be in trouble. 

Debris in Pipe

Problem- Debris often gets into sewer pipes it can come from a variety of sources, including items other than human waste flushed down toilets, garbage disposals, sinks and drains. During the early days of the covid pandemic creative toilet paper alternatives were more common and caused some serious debris issues for homeowner’s sewer pipes.

Solution- The first solution to preventing debris build up in your sewer line is, you guessed it, prevention. Don’t flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper, please. Another option again is to clean the sewer line of debris through sewer line cleaning service such as hydro jetting. Again, getting a sewer line inspection is the only surefire way to know if you have debris in your sewer lines or not.

Crumbling or Broken Pipe

Problem -Sewer pipes get old, weak, and brittle and eventually can break. Certain kinds of pipe which are still prevalent in the Spokane are such as Orangeburg pipe have a bigger tendency to break in this way.

Solution- Unfortunately there isn’t an excellent solution to helping keep old pipe from breaking other than replacing the pipes before they fail and your left with a huge mess. Trenchless sewer repair services from Shaw Trenchless are an excellent alternative for old sewer lines that’s haven’t failed yet. Again, it’s important to stay on top of sewer problems before they become a catastrophe. Scheduling a sewer line inspection when you think you may have a sewer problem can save you tons of money, time, and headache. 

Offset Pipe and Pipe Belly

Problem- Misaligned pipe (offset pipe) or sagging pipe (pipe belly) can cause big issues for your sewer line. Sometime these problems can be cause by natural processes like freeze thaw cycle, extreme rain, earthquakes, and tree roots. You might not even know that you have a sewer belly or offset pipe until it causes a major problem. Again, therefore a sewer line camera inspection is such an essential part of maintaining your sewer lines.

Solution- Both Sewer pipe bellies and offsets can be fixed often by simply trenching in the effected portion of the pipe and replacing the damages pipe segment. Other times complete pipe replacement is required to rectify the issue when it is severe. 

Sewer Repair from Shaw Trenchless

For every problem there is a solution or several solutions. When it comes to sewer problems, the solution is calling in Shaw Trenchless. We’re always to help get to the root of your sewer issue and get it fixed in short order. Spokane sewer repair is our specialties and we’d be happy to come on out and give you a free quote on your Spokane sewer problem. Call us today to schedule. 


Contact Shaw Trenchless Today

Contact Shaw Trenchless

At Shaw Trenchless, we endeavor to offer the highest quality of services and customer satisfaction to the people of Spokane, WA, and its surrounding areas. Contact our team today to schedule an appointment.

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