If you’re noticing that a puddle of water is building up in the front yard or that the grass is particularly lush in one area, then you might have a problem with your sewer lines. For every building, there’s one main line that connects the plumbing in the house or building to the city’s sewage system. But this line doesn’t last forever. If you want to know more about what you can do when you begin to experience sewer line problems, this article can tell you more about it.

Types of Sewer Lines

There are two main types of sewer lines. Houses that were built before about 1980 had terracotta, orangeburg, and cast iron sewer lines. Typically, they can last for about 50 or 60 years, depending on other factors. The other type of sewer line material is PVC. House builders began using this type of material for sewer lines in the 1980s, and it’s reported to last around 100 years.

Reasons That Sewer Lines Have Problems

One of the most common reasons that you might experience sewage backup is because a tree’s roots are growing into the sewer line. Another common reason that you might experience sewage backup is that you’ve put the wrong types of items down a drain. If you sometimes flush facial tissues down your toilet or put grease down the garbage disposal drain, you can create a clog. Toilet paper is specially designed to break down in sewers, but other types of paper products are not. Grease can harden in the sewer line, resulting in a buildup of grease and other materials that get stuck to the grease. Another common problem is a broken or collapsed sewer line. The newer kind that’s made out of PVC is less likely to have this problem, but older pipes made from terracotta or orangeburg can collapse.

How to Determine the Condition of a Sewer Line

If you have any misgivings about the condition of the sewer line, it’s worthwhile to find out the condition of the one that you have. This is especially true if you’re looking into buying a home. A licensed plumber can send a camera down your sewer line to determine if there are any cracks or damage from roots.

Signs that your Sewage Line Is Blocked or Damaged

One of the first signs of sewage buildup is a foul odor coming from your sinks or toilets. If the clog gets big, your toilets might not flush, and the drain on your sinks and bathtub can be slow. If you have a sewer line that has collapsed, you might notice a puddle in your yard, particularly thick and green grass in one patch, or a portion of the lawn that has sunken.

How to Resolve Sewer Line Problems

If you’re having a problem with roots, you can have a plumber pull out the roots with a snake. You can then use copper sulfide to repel roots in the future. This can often buy you time before you need to do more extensive work. If you need to replace the pipe, you might have concerns about digging a trench. Two other options are pipe lining and pipe bursting. In the pipe-lining process, a hole is dug, then a resin is blown into the existing pipe, creating a pipe within the existing pipe. With the pipe-bursting process, the contractor digs a couple of holes, and then another pipe is fit inside of the existing pipe while simultaneously fracturing the old pipe.

If you’re having sewer line problems, you might be concerned that you’ll need to dig a trench. This isn’t always the case. It partly depends on what kinds of problems you’re having, and there might be a less invasive option.