“The sewer line isn’t my responsibility, is it?”

The line running from your house that connects to the main city sewer line does belong to you. Any blockages or damage to the line is your responsibility, too.

A damaged or clogged sewer line will not properly carry sewage and wastewater away from your house. Additionally, a blockage can result in clogged or slow-running drains in your sinks, and a clog can force waste to back up into your home.

Throwing debris into your toilet or pouring grease down the kitchen drain can begin to build up blockages. (Despite common opinion, running hot water after the grease does not eliminate the problem.) Plant roots from landscaping near the line can infiltrate sewer lines made of porous materials such as clay. Shifting ground may cause lines to bend and rupture.

“How do I know if I have a problem?” First, don’t ignore slow-draining sinks or bathtubs. You may have an easy-to-fix clog, or you may have a larger issue deeper into the line. Do you notice a change in the appearance of the lawn near the line?  Is it wet and soft during dry periods? These are signs your sewer line may have a problem.

“Can I inspect my sewer line?” You need a professional plumber to inspect the line for you.

“How does an inspection work?” A licensed plumber will do a video inspection of your line using an in-line camera. This device transmits images to the plumber for his inspection and records the depth and physical location of the line.

“What happens if I need to repair or replace the line?” Your plumber may do a traditional replacement, digging a trench to expose the old line, replacing the old one with a new one, and refilling the hole. With trenchless repairs, however, he will dig small holes around the damaged area, pull the new pipe through the old line, and refill the holes.  It’s sort of like laparoscopic surgery.

“Why is fall a good time for a sewer line inspection?” The freeze-thaw cycles common in winter can escalate any damage to your line, leaving you with bigger problems in the spring. Remember, the city takes no responsibility for the sewer line from your house to the mainline. Avoid bigger problems by enlisting a professional to do an inspection for you today.