8 Clear Signs Of A Collapsed Sewer Line

Before a sewer line collapses, it shows several signs requiring urgent fixes.

When these are ignored or not given urgent attention, the sewer line’s condition deteriorates, eventually leading to a collapse. At this stage, it’s completely damaged and needs to be fixed.

It’s cheaper to fix a sewer line early on when the usual symptoms or signs are evident. Ignoring it until it’s collapsed will incur higher repair or replacement costs. So, what are these signs?

These have been mentioned and discussed below. Also, we’ve discussed the reasons for such collapse.

Causes Of Broken Sewer Pipes

Why do sewer lines collapse? This is the question we’ll kick-start our discussion with.

As stated earlier, sewer lines collapse when existing problems or symptoms aren’t promptly addressed. Such collapse includes conditions like old pipes, tree root ingress, clogs, and soil failure.

  • Old Pipes

Whatever your sewer pipe is made of, it will eventually get old. These are designed with an estimated lifespan.

Drain pipes gradually corrode or rust over a long period. This weakens their strength and makes them develop faults like cracks and leaks.

Some other pipe pipe types (by material) may be made of PVC or terracotta. At the expiration of the lifespan of these pipes, they’re more likely than not to develop problems.

The failure to have these pipes replaced is one of the reasons why they suddenly collapse.

  • Tree Root Ingress

Tree root ingress is a common problem with sewer lines.

This is especially true for trees with invasive root systems. Even the slightest wastewater leaks from pipe joints will attract tree roots to cause further problems.

Wastewater moving through sewer lines holds a lot of nutrients that can be beneficial to plants.

Soinvasive roots will also need to tap the nutrients present apart from being attracted to moisture apart from being attracted to moisture. Before long, these roots penetrate the pipes and cause further cracks as they grow and expand.

This interrupts the free flow of wastewater and eventually leads to sewer line collapse.

  • Clogs

What you dump down your drain or toilet can affect its functioning.

A good example is fats, oily grease, and excess use of flushable items like toilet papers and paper wipes can get trapped at bends, thus causing clogs.

For fats and oily grease, they reduce the pipe’s diameter,, creating less space for wastewater flow.

Clogs have to be resolved appropriately and the harmful practices causing such stopped or discouraged. In the absence of these preventive actions, it’s only a matter of time before they lead to sewer line collapse.

  • Soil Failure

Environmental or natural conditions could result in a collapsed sewer line.

This situation can sometimes prove difficult to avoid as it’s beyond human control. Soil failure can be caused by conditions such as expansion and contraction due to temperature extremes.

There are others like floods, soil displacement due to rains, and many more similar situations. This might require a lot more extensive repair than other causes of sewer line collapse.

Signs of Sewer Line Collapse

Here are some collapsed sewer line symptoms.

Several signs point to sewer line collapse. They include frequent backups, unusual sounds, slow drain, and sewage pooling on the lawn.

Others include foul odors, lush growing grasses or trees compared to others, the increased presence of pests, and foundation problems.

  • Frequent Backups

A home’s plumbing system connects to different points like the toilets, sinks, drains, and bathtubs. Now when are frequent backups observed in toilets and drains?

It’s a clear sign that the situation might collapse the sewer line. This is especially true when more than one point shows the same problem.

  • Unusual Sounds

Are you hearing a strange or gurgling sound when you flush your toilets? It’s likely due to air that gets into the system from the other end.

One of the possible reasons for these unusual sounds is a collapsed sewer line.

A close inspection of the sewer line will be necessary to determine the problem. If it’s confirmed that the sewer line is collapsed, re-piping will be required.

  • Slow Drain

As a sewer line collapses, it affects the free movement of wastewater.

A slow drain is a symptom of a developing clog which, when left unchecked, might worsen. However, this sign needs to be further investigated to determine if it’s restricted to a single drain or applies to all.

If it applies to all the drains, the sewer line may be close to total collapse.

  • Sewage Pooling on Lawn

As your sewer line collapses, expect to find pooling sewage water in your yard.

Because the collapsed line hardly allows free flow of wastewater, there’s a steady slowdown of water around the affected areas, which leaks out into the soil and gradually saturates the area resulting in a small puddle.

  • Foul Odors

One unmistakable signs of a faulty sewer line involves perceiving foul odors around your surroundings. A misaligned, cracked, or brittle sewer line will likely let out its content.

The awful odor may permeate your surroundings, creating an unpleasant situation. This and other signs require immediate repair action.

  • Better Growing Grasses and Trees Compared to others Around

We earlier mentioned that wastewater flowing through sewer lines holds many nutrients needed by plants. So, a collapsed sewer line is likely to leak out its contents.

Grasses and trees around the area are likely to blossom better. You’re likely to discover lush growth around the affected sewer line.

  • Increased Presence of Pests

An unmistakable sign arising from sewer line collapse is the sudden increase of pest presence.

These pests include insects and rodents. You might observe more roaches and rodents getting into your home than usual. Unless collapsed sewer line is replaced, this problem will only worsen.

  • Foundation Problems

Collapsed sewer line issues can go as far as affecting your home’s foundation.

This is especially true when the line passes close to your foundation. As wastewater leaks out, it results in the expansion and shrinking of the soil. This eventually takes its toll on the foundation, thus weakening it.

When any or all of these signs are noticed, it’s high time to have your sewer line examined. When it’s seen to have collapsed, it will need immediate replacement.

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