Do you smell sewage every time you walk out the door? Is your yard soaked for no reason? If you discover problems in your plumbing system or yard, there may be damage to the sewer line. If so, your system may need sewer line repair. You’ll need to contact a licensed plumber to fix the problem. When a sewer line breaks, it can cause problems that extend further than just the sewer. However, you may be unaware of the problems until they worsen. Let’s look at five main causes of sewer line damage and how to tell if you need to schedule plumbing repair in Chatsworth, California.

1. Grease and Harsh Chemicals

Hot grease may seem like it goes down the drain easily. However, when the grease cools, it hardens and builds up over time. Instead of building up in the pipes, the grease accumulates in your septic tank and eventually clogs the sewer line. Eventually, the grease breaks down into glycerol and fatty acids. The fatty combines with calcium deposits in the sewer and form what plumbers call fatbergs (think icebergs). These soapy compounds cling to the top of the sewers when the sewage rises. From there, the fatbergs build up and eventually clog the sewer line. Eventually, you or someone in your neighborhood will need to call a plumber in Chatsworth, California, for a sewer line repair.

2. Flushing Objects Down the Toilet

Neither your toilet nor your sewer line is a catch-all for your household items. Yet people flush the strangest objects down the bowl. Here’s a quick list of common items people shouldn’t flush down the toilet but do.  
  • Bleach
  • Food
  • Fish 
  • Grease
  • Gum
  • Hair
  • Cat litter
  • Cigarettes
  • Medication
  • Paper towels
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers
  • Condoms
  • Tampons
  • Q-tips
  • Baby wipes
Many of these objects are not biodegradable and may float around your septic tank and sewer line indefinitely. Eventually, they backup the sewer to the point where it can damage the line. As a result, you’ll need to schedule sewer line repair in Chatsworth, California. Follow this golden rule: flush human waste and toilet paper only when it comes to toilets.

3. Tree Root Puncture

How can a tree be several yards away from a sewer line, yet the roots find their way to the pipes? The answer is simple: Trees gravitate toward moisture and nutrients abundant in a sewer line.  Tree roots do not suddenly penetrate a sewer line. It can take years for a single root to find its way to a line and create enough pressure to bust through the metal. As a result, you are not likely to identify the problem until the damage is extensive.  So, how do you know if there’s a problem? There are several symptoms of tree roots in the sewer line.
  • There is moisture or soggy spots in the yard.
  • You hear constant gurgling in the plumbing.
  • The water drains slowly and gets worse over time.
  • You smell sewage every time you walk out in the yard.
  • Some trees grow faster and greener than others.
If you believe that tree roots have punctured the sewer line, you need to contact a plumber immediately for sewer line replacement or repair.

4. Offset Sewer Line

Over time, pipes can sag or become misaligned, causing an offset sewer line where the joints no longer connect.  There are several causes of an offset sewer line. The most common cause is tree roots, which can displace pipes and cause blockage in the sewer line. Another leading cause of sagging pipes is shifting or settling earth, common in California. Shifting earth can occur slowly over time or all at once in an earthquake. In either case, it causes your pipe joints to disconnect. When pipes disconnect, the sewage backs up at the disconnected joints. Instead of flowing freely from one pipe to the next, the sewage gets hung up at the joints and accumulates. The buildup consists of grease, lime, and calcium, which hardens and must be removed by a licensed plumber.

5. Severe Sewer Pipe Damage

We’ve talked a lot about pipe damage throughout this article – particularly damage from grease, tree roots, and shifting earth. In addition, you need to be aware of other ways your sewer line can be damaged – in some cases, severely damaged to the point where you need sewer line replacement.  Some examples of severe sewer pipe damage include
  • Sudden pipe rupture: Different from roots or shifting earth. Ruptures are often caused by sudden impact (i.e., heavy equipment or objects above).
  • Corrosion: Thick metal pipes may seem indestructible but corrode due to time and the elements. Eventually, the pipes break and need to be replaced.
  • Broken seals: If the sewer line shifts or sustains a heavy impact, the seals can break, allowing water and sewage to leak. 
Keep in mind that when sewer lines break or joints or seals disconnect, the problem doesn’t just affect the sewer line. It can also cause a problem with your property. Your yard may suffer from sewage and moisture. Eventually, the water or sewage will get to the home’s foundation, causing cracks and leaks.  If you believe that there is sewer line damage around your yard, you need to contact a plumbing company that can perform sewer line repair to minimize the damage.

Schedule Sewer Line Repair in Chatsworth, California

If you notice sewer line damage, don’t hesitate to take care of it. Contact Rooter Shark Plumbing as soon as possible. We offer complete sewer line replacement and repair in Chatsworth, California. To schedule service, fill out our contact form or give us a call.