Collapsed Sewer Line FAQs

Do you have a collapsed sewer line? If you do, what can you do to fix it? Read these FAQs to learn more.

What Is a Collapsed Sewer Line?

It’s the term for sewer lines that are damaged and can no longer be used. Your pipes aren’t just blocked; they’re now completely destroyed.

What Causes a Sewer Line To Collapse?

There are lots of reasons why collapsed sewer lines happen. Tree roots are some of the most common culprits since they grow through hairline cracks in the pipe and eventually push their way in. Once they do, they can create a hole that can enlarge over time and damage the line.

Misaligned pipes can also be a problem because they allow waste water to leech into the surrounding ground. The soil eventually becomes waterlogged, which can cause the entire line to collapse. Poor maintenance can likewise lead to pipe collapse since hair, grease, paper, and other debris can build up within the line. When this happens, waste water can no longer effectively drain through and will put pressure on the pipe, causing cracks, leaks, and later full-on damage.

If you live in an old house, you might find that the material of your pipes can pave the way to sewer line collapse. This comes from the fact that many older homes have Orangeburg pipes, which are made of tar-coated paper. These pipes became popular during World War II, during which metals were mainly used for weapons and weren’t easily available to civilians.

How Do You Diagnose a Collapsed Sewer Line?

A collapsed sewer line will usually give you clues about its presence. One of these clues is a slow drain, which isn’t really that helpful because it can also signify a simple clog in the line. You may also notice that waste water or even raw sewage is backing up into your home, bringing a putrid smell along with it. When the line has completely collapsed, you might observe that a part of your garden or backyard has become waterlogged or has a depression that wasn’t there before.

If you notice one or more of these clues, get in touch with your plumber ASAP. Using a video camera, he will inspect your sewer line to assess its condition and find out what’s causing the problem. (If it’s completely blocked, he’ll most likely use a rooter to clear the line of any debris and allow the video camera to pass through). The results of the inspection will let your plumber know how to best solve the problem.

How Can a Collapsed Sewer Line Be Fixed?

Depending on the condition of your sewer line, your plumber may recommend to do a relining. In this procedure, a new plastic pipe is pushed through your old pipe to seamlessly replace the damaged line without having to dig up your garden and destroy your landscaping.

If your sewer line is completely damaged, your plumber may recommend pipe bursting. This method requires the use of a pipe bursting head, which is pulled using hydraulics equipment to break the old pipe while pulling the new one into place.

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