Will My City Sewer Service Fix My Sewer Line?

When you find out you have a problem with your sewer line, you may think your first call should be to your city sewer service. After all, you pay for sewer service every month, so issues with your sewer line should be covered. However, that is rarely the case when it comes to sewer line repairs. Here’s the scoop on sewer line repairs and who is responsible for fixing pipes on your property.

Most municipal sewer services provide drainage of sewage to a local treatment plant. Homes and businesses in the city connect to a main sewer line from their buildings. However, the sewer line that runs from a home out to the main sewer line is not part of the municipal sewer system. In most cases, if a sewer pipe breaks or is clogged, it is the property owner’s responsibility to fix. Exceptions may include if the issue occurs at the connection to the city sewer line or if a backup is caused by the city sewer line.

Repairing Your Sewer Line

The first step to fixing your sewer line issue is to call in a sewer service to inspect your pipes. Your sewer professional can tell you where the problem is; if it is a city sewer line issue, they can let you know and you can contact your city utility department to report the problem. If the problem is with your side sewer pipe, you may be able to cover the cost of repair or replacement through your home insurance, depending on your coverage and what caused the damage.

When repairing a sewer line connected to a city sewer, make sure to use a qualified sewer service. Some cities require certification for sewer services that work on side sewers that are connected to the city system, so check the requirements in your area.

Posted on behalf of:
Kiddco Plumbing Inc
Sterling, VA 20166
(703) 435-4441

Does Your Insurance Cover Sewer Line Replacement?

When you realize you have a broken sewer line, the first thing to run through your mind may be the cost. Sewer line repairs or replacement are expensive – it can cost thousands of dollars to fix a sewer line problem. One way to mitigate the cost is to find out whether your homeowner’s insurance could cover some or all your sewer line repair.

Not all homeowner’s insurance covers sewer line repairs, but some have limited coverage. If the sewer pipe breaks due to a natural disaster, damage from weight or other accidental incidents, there is a chance that the replacement may be covered under some insurance plans. You would need to check with your homeowner’s policy and read the fine print regarding these special types of repairs or talk to your insurance agent. However, there are some causes of damage that are most always NOT covered under insurance, like wear and tear or damage to the sewer line connection to the city main line.

If you do not have sewer line replacement on your homeowner’s insurance, you may be looking at paying for your repair out-of-pocket. If you have not had a sewer line problem yet, call your insurance agent. Find out if coverage is available for your sewer lines to protect you in case of accidental damage.

Keep in mind that sewer lines will eventually need replacement due to normal wear and tear. It is better to be proactive and replace old pipes that are beginning to deteriorate before they cause a sewer backup and need emergency replacement. Schedule an inspection of your sewer lines to make sure they are clear and in good condition as part of your regular home maintenance.

Posted on behalf of:
Bynum & Sons Plumbing, Inc.
2120 McDaniels Bridge Rd SW
Lilburn, GA 30047
(770) 736-8283

Tips on How to Handle a Broken Sewer Line

One thing a homeowner doesn’t want to deal with is a broken sewer line, but it does happen. Sewer lines can last for decades without any issues, but even these durable pipes can eventually break. Tree roots, corrosion, pressure from vehicles/heavy equipment and other factors can cause a broken sewer pipe in your yard. When it does happen, knowing how to handle the situation can reduce the stress and cost of the repair.

Recognizing a Broken Sewer Line

First, you need to know how to quickly identify that you may have a sewer line problem. Most sewer lines are under the ground, so you may not know one is broken right away. Some signs you may have a broken sewer pipes include:

  • Wet spots in your yard
  • Bad odor outside your home
  • Backed-up drains in your home

If you notice any of these issues, it is time to act. Stop using your plumbing immediately and call your local sewer service company. If there is a sewer backup into your home, you may want to have any children or pets stay elsewhere until the issue can be resolved. Sewer backups contain dangerous bacteria and toxins that you do not want anyone exposed to, especially kids or pets. The mess will need to be cleaned up and the area disinfected before you bring your family back home.

The one thing you should not do is ignore a possible sewer line break. Even if the plumbing is working fine, don’t wait for a backup to occur. Call your sewer professional and have your sewer line repaired to limit the damage to your home.

Posted on behalf of:
Seagraves Plumbing Sewer & Septic
4980 Plant Atkinson Rd SE
Smyrna, GA 30080
(494) 792-2221

Avoiding Sewer Line Problems

Sometimes, a clogged or broken sewer line cannot be avoided, but other times there are preventive measures that can be done. No one wants the unexpected mess and expense of a sewer backup, so here are some tips to prevent sewer pipe issues and avoid costly repairs:

  • Be careful what you put down your drains. Many sewer line problems are clogs that form from fat, grease, hair and other items that create sludge in pipes. Use drain strainers to catch hair/soap in showers; avoid putting grease or fat down the drains. Managing what goes down the drain can protect your indoor and outdoor plumbing.
  • Keep vehicles off your lawn. A heavy vehicle driving over where sewer lines are located can damage the pipes and cause a broken sewer line. Restrict vehicles from areas in your lawn where sewer pipes are hiding beneath the surface. It only takes one instance to put a crack in a pipe or detach joints in your underground sewer line.
  • Schedule regular inspections and cleanings. Your sewer lines can be maintained to avoid many unexpected issues. Having your sewer lines inspected with a digital camera can catch small issues before they become emergency repairs. Your sewer service company can use digital video technology to check for roots, sludge and other repair issues. Hydro-jetting can be used to clear sludge or tree roots that could put your sewer lines at risk for clogs.

Don’t wait for sewer line problems to occur out of the blue. Maintain your sewer pipes and avoid clogs, backups and other messy problems. Call your local sewer service company to schedule an inspection and hydro-jetting to keep your pipes clear and in good repair.

Posted on behalf of:
Bynum & Sons Plumbing, Inc.
2120 McDaniels Bridge Rd SW
Lilburn, GA 30047
(770) 736-8283

Sewer Line Repair: Is it Your Responsibility or the Utility Company?

There is a problem in your sewer line between your home and the main sewer line. The question is, are you responsible for repairing the issue or is your utility company liable for repairs? While every situation is different, there are some standard practices that can help you determine who will foot the bill for the repair. Here are some tips about sewer line repairs.

  • Where is the damage located? One of the first things that will decide who will need to pay for the repair is where the damage is located. In general, most utility and municipalities hold the property owner responsible for repairing any damage to the sewer line on their property and even under the easement area. Only if the damage is at the connection to the main line will it possibly be covered by the utility company.
  • What caused the damage? Did a tree root from your property penetrate the sewer line? Or did it get damaged because a heavy vehicle drove over the top of it. The cause of the damage can also be a determining factor in who pays to have it repaired.
  • Do you have homeowner’s insurance that will cover the damage? In most cases, sewer line issues are the responsibility of the property owner. However, there are homeowner insurance policies that do cover certain sewer line repairs. It is always prudent to call your insurance company to see if it is covered under your policy.

To find out whether you are responsible for the repair, you will need to have a professional sewer service inspect your sewer line. They can explain where the damage is and what caused the issue. Make sure you hire a company that is licensed to repair lateral or side sewer lines in your municipality.

Posted on behalf of:
A-Flo Free Septic
Lawrenceville, GA
(770) 927-7926

Homeowner’s Guide to Sewer Maintenance

Owning a home involves a plethora of items to maintain, from the roof to the underground sewer lines. Truth be told, many homeowners do nothing to maintain their sewer lines. They may not even think about their sewer system at all until there’s a problem. Unfortunately, ignoring your system until there’s a problem often means these issues will be more complicated ones, often at a very high cost and inconvenience. A better plan is to provide preventative maintenance on your sewer system to ensure that it can continue functioning for years to come.

Sewer Maintenance Tips

The good news is there’s not much you need to do to maintain your sewer. Often, it’s more about what not to do than actual maintenance. A sewer system that was installed correctly can work without problems for decades, with a little help from its owners. Here are a few tips for maintaining your sewer lines:

  • Flushing. The biggest sewer line problems often come from the bathroom, where larger items enter the sewer lines. To prevent clogs, don’t flush anything but water, waste and toilet paper, avoiding even items which claim to be flushable.
  • Drains. Keep fat, grease, chemicals, paint, coffee grounds and fibrous vegetables out of your drains. Get in the habit of throwing these items away, not allowing them to go down into your sewer pipes even if you have a garbage disposal installed.
  • Cleanings and inspections. Once a year, hire a local sewer professional to inspect and clean your sewer pipes. Many emergency sewer problems can easily be prevented by keeping your sewer lines clear.

Your local sewer line service company can offer additional advice about how to keep your sewer system maintained. Ask them for maintenance advice at your next inspection and sewer line cleaning.

Posted on behalf of:
Hunter’s Septic Service
Nesbit, MS
(662) 429-1686

The Benefits of Having a Sewer System Versus a Septic System

You may live in a small town, rural, community where almost everyone has a septic system. Gradually, new developments of homes arise. Soon what was once a wooded lot close to town becomes a strip mall and business development is on the rise. As businesses begin to boom and construction increases, there is little doubt that the installation of public sewer systems will soon follow. So, what advantages can you anticipate when this change reaches your neighborhood?

According to today’s developers and city planners, a community becomes more established and permanent when a sewer system is installed. Once they get over paying for it with their taxes, most people tend to prefer a city sewer system, primarily because major problems, like main line stoppages, become the responsibility of the controlling municipality. Furthermore, because a public system is so well contained and monitored, the quality of drinking water is preserved. Conversely, septic tanks can seep and pollute drinking water, potentially threatening one’s health.

Besides safely and effectively transporting wastewater from an entire neighborhood of homes and businesses, sewer systems usually have designed a run-off plan for excessive rainwater in the hopes of flood prevention. This is one way in which sewers and water treatment plants help to preserve the environment. Primarily, sewer systems help to ensure that wastewater that is discharged back into the environment is sanitary, safe and free of potentially harmful pollutants.

Contact your local septic-sewer professional if you are considering changing from your septic system and hooking up with your city’s sewer system. They can help you with the sewer installation process and ensure that your best interests are protected.

What Causes Sewer Line Clogs

There can be all kinds of reasons for a sewer line clog, but the most common causes include deposits or build-ups of grease, oil, hair, and food waste flushed down the drain, foreign objects that get flushed down the toilet or drain, tree roots, and a collapsed sewer line.  In most cases, the clog is caused by two or more of these factors.  The good news is that no matter what the cause, your sewer-septic professional is an expert at clearing clogged sewer lines and can diagnose the problem and provide you with a cost effective solution that will get your sewer line flowing freely again.

Even if you don’t flush pure grease and oil down the drain, food waste and even human waste contains oils that adhere to the walls of your sewer line. Over time, the greasy build up accumulates other material such as hair, coffee grounds, food particles, egg shells, and other material and builds up inside the pipe.  Eventually, it blocks the pipe and causes a clog.

Foreign objects such a child’s toy or a wash cloth can also get stuck in the greasy deposits and begin to accumulate other material such as toilet paper and hair.  A clog will quickly form behind a foreign object lodged in your sewer pipe.

Tree roots are attracted to the moisture inside the sewer pipe and will infiltrate any cracks or joints in a sewer line, no matter how small.  The roots will then grow, expanding the crack and allowing more roots to enter.  Eventually, the roots will form a mat of roots inside the pipe that quickly accumulates oil, grease, hair, paper, and all sorts of other material and forms a tough clog.

Finally, your sewer line can become clogged if it fully or partially collapses.  This is a common problem with older cast iron or Orangeburg sewer lines.  These types of clogs cannot be cleared.  Instead, you will need a sewer line replacement or repair.

Root Control for Sewer Lines

One of the most common causes of clogged sewer lines is root infiltration.  A sewer line clogged by roots is a serious problem that needs immediate attention.  A clogged sewer line can result in raw sewage backing up into your shower and tub drains, sink drains and toilets.  Yuk!

Roots from almost any type of plants, shrubs or trees can cause sewer line back-ups, but tree roots are the most common offender.  Trees usually have the deepest and most extensive root system and they can penetrate into tiny cracks in sewer lines.  Once the tree roots have found their way into the sewer line, they will continue to grow and can cause the crack to expand, allowing entry of more roots.

Eventually, a mass of roots will form inside the sewer line which will collect grease, oil, hair, and other debris.  Ultimately, a severe clog will form and stop up the pipe.  No amount of plunging or liquid drain cleaners will clear one of these clogs.  Instead, its time to get an experienced plumber or sewer septic professional involved.

Modern video camera inspections will confirm that tree roots are the cause of the blockage which can be cleared with professional heavy duty cutting heads or by using high pressure hydro-jetting.  However, both of these techniques are only half of the job.  Unless you eliminate the root problem, more roots will grow and the clog will soon return.

One alternative is to replace the damaged section of sewer pipe which may be necessary if the pipe has been seriously damaged by the root infestation.  If the pipe is still structurally sound, your sewer septic professional will be able to apply a chemical treatment that will inhibit root growth for years without killing the tree.

Sewer vs. Septic Systems

Every homeowner on a septic system and prospective homeowner should understand the difference between a septic system and a sewer system.  Septic and sewer are both wastewater disposal and treatment systems.  Every time you flush the toilet, wash dishes or clothes, or take a shower, all that water and waste that goes down the drain has to go somewhere and that somewhere is either a septic system or a sewer system.

With a septic system, each home has its own wastewater treatment and disposal system typically consisting of a septic tank and a drain field.  Waste water is treated by natural biological activity in the septic tank and in the soil under the drain field. The treated wastewater is disposed of by allowing it to leech into the soil under the drain field.

A septic system can only be installed on property that is large enough to accommodate the septic tank and drain field.  In addition, the soil must allow water to percolate (seep into the soil) at a sufficient rate to dispose of the treated water.

A home connected to a sewer system uses a large diameter pipe called a sewer lateral to route waste water to the large municipal sewer lines usually located in front of the property.  The municipal sewer lines transfer the waste water to a municipal wastewater treatment facility where it is treated and disposed of.

If you own a home or are considering buying a home with a septic system, you should understand that the system will need to inspected and the septic tank pumped out every three to five years.  Sewer line repairs are only needed if there is a blockage or if the sewer lateral is damaged.