What Causes Sewer Line Failure

Trenchless Sewer Repair

Sewer lines are the back bone of a buildings plumbing system. Without it, you would not be able to wash dishes, take a bath, visit the toilet and do laundry. Like any other man made system, it can be compromised and this is where the head ache begins.
Majority of building owners take sewer lines for granted. Why think about it since it is buried deep in the ground. This seems to be the notion among many people but what they don’t know is that there are several factors that can compromise the sewer line. When it comes to repairs, the costs alone will remind you about the importance of sewer lines repair.

Here are Causes of Sewer Line Failure.

Tree Roots

These are the main culprits for many sewer lines failures. Trees are beneficial. They provide shade and a great spot for the family to spend an afternoon outdoors. They can also be used as hosts for tree houses for your children to play in.
In order to grow and flourish, trees need nutrients and water. Roots not only provide support to the trees but they dig deeper into the ground looking for water sources. While doing this, they will definitely cause damage to your sewer line.
The roots will begin cracking the sewer pipes and with time, they will find their way into the sewer line clogging it. This will cause waste water to back flow into the kitchen, the toilet or bathroom.


During the construction of a building, be it a home or office complex, sewer lines are usually laid down. This is done when plumbing is being completed in the building. The reason for doing this is well known – to provide waste water with the proper channel of flowing out of the building.
When tree roots crack pipes especially those laid down ages ago when concrete was the preferred material rather than strong plastic as used today, soil finds its way through the crack. Since the pipes are buried deep within the soil, the cracks provide space for the soil to flow in the pipe. Overtime, the soil will overwhelm the flow of waste water causing blockage. The result is the backflow and improper flow of waste water.


There are areas where sewer pipes are still made of metal. The reason why these pipes are in existence is because sewer line replacement is an expensive venture. For many people, they find this to be unnecessary unless extensive damage to the sewer line occurs.
Rust is another cause of sewer line failure and if your home or building is served by metal sewer pipes, rust will definitely compromise them. This will result in cracks and leaks. The waste water will find its way to the surface and begin flowing outwards.
This is quite embarrassing and the stench is also unbearable. If you suspect your sewer pipes are medieval, you need to contact a sewer line inspector. Inspection will relieve you the stress of future blockage.

Foreign Objects

The number of foreign objects thrown in toilets, kitchens and bathrooms is too high – to quote a famous meme. If you have family especially young children, do not be surprised when you keep hearing the toilet being flushed from time to time. If you were to investigate, you will find out that your children are flushing down a lot of toilet paper or plastic bags. Parents are guilty too and you will find some flushing down tampons, baby diapers and cat litter
Oil and grease are part of foreign objects. These end up clogging the pipe resulting in lack of flow of waste water. One way of preventing this is keeping an eye on your children. Prevent them access from plastic bags and other foreign objects. As parents, proper disposal of foreign objects will save you a lot.

Collapsed sewer lines

If you own a home that is very old especially one constructed in the late 1800s or early 1900s, then your sewer line system has the probability of collapsing. Sewer line technology from many many years ago was constructed using material that would be affected by age. This is unlike modern sewer pipes that are created with strong and high quality plastic material. Plastic takes so many years to degrade thus the best choice for sewer line pipes.
For pipes that are made with clay or concrete, there are great chances they will collapse due to age or pressure from the surface. If a pipe collapses, dirt in form of soil, stones and broken pipe material will find its way blocking waste water from flowing.
The only way to resolve this is to hire sewer line experts who will use trenchless sewer technology to replace the collapsed pipe with a new one.

Final Thoughts

As a building owner, it is important to acknowledge the importance of your sewer line. While it is buried deep in the ground, care still need to be taken. There are several things that will cause sewer line failure. They include tree roots, soil, rust, collapsed pipe and foreign objects.
As the building owner, it is important to ensure that your family or occupants take care about what is flushed down the toilet or the kitchen. Proper care of your sewer line will ensure longevity of the system as well as saving you on repairs and replacement costs. Finally, do not forget to hire sewer line experts to inspect your sewer system once a year.

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