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Why Does My Sewer Line Need to Be Replaced?

3 min read • July 25th, 2017

Heil Plumbing

Having a functioning sewer system is a crucial component of your home. When your system is not working correctly, it’s not secret. Below are indicators that your system needs repair:

  • Slow drains: If your water seems to be flowing slower than normal or stops for a minute before it completely drains, the line is not working as it should.
  • Backed up drains: If your toilet won’t flush completely, you know you have a problem. The same thing goes for water backing up in one drain when it is going down a different one (for example, if your laundry tub starts filling up when your toilet flushes).
  • Bad smell: If your home has a bad smell that you can’t trace, similar to the scent of rotten eggs, and if it gets stronger when you are near a drain, it is most likely the sewer.
  • Low spot in your yard: You may also notice a depression in your yard or driveway. Over time, the dirt in your yard can settle, causing your sewer line to sink in with the ground. This prevents sewage from flowing easily and in the proper direction.

While deciding that your sewer line needs a replacement is relatively simple, determining the cause is a little trickier.

Common Causes for Sewer Line Damage

There are a number of things that could lead to a sewer pipe failure or stoppage.

Aging Pipes

Most sewer systems, both commercial and residential, were constructed with cast iron pipes with life spans between 25 and 30 years. As time goes on, the bottom of these pipes chip away because of the intense flow of water.

The wearing of the pipe eventually leads to the exposure of the soil below the pipe and soil erosion. This can create voids below the drainage system that causes foundation settling of the structure above the piping system.

This erosion process can cause clogs, stoppages, and sewer pipe failure.


Another effect of aging pipes is rust. Pipes’ frequent contact with water can lead to rusting over time.

Rust not only slows the flow of water, it also eats away at the outside of the pipe, often leading to cracks and leaks. To prevent rust from developing, you should have a plumber inspect your sewer system at least once a year.

Tree Root Intrusion

Any moisture leaking from a PVC, cast iron, or clay drainage pipe will eventually attract root intrusion from plants surrounding the pipe. Tree roots will travel long distances, sometimes under buildings, in search of moisture.

If a tree root is the reason your sewer line needs to be repaired, it usually indicates that there is a hole or crack in the pipe. This hole will allow the root to enter and grow inside the pipe. As they grow, the hole or crack will expand, allowing other roots to enter.

Grease Blockages

Though grease liquifies when it’s heated, it solidifies when it cools off. If grease is poured down your sink or flushed down your toilet, it could restrict water flow.

If this is done once or twice, it typically will not cause any problems. If it happens frequently, however, it could build up and create a serious blockage that could lead to a series of problems, including flooding.

Why Choose Heil

  • Years In Business
  • Customers Helped
  • Service

The Heil Difference

We’re dedicated to offering the highest quality residential and commercial plumbing services for every customer. Our plumbers are available to respond to your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our residential and commercial plumbers in Columbia and Ellicott City cover every need, from simple fixture repairs to complex drain and sewer problems.

While we are based in Jessup, Maryland, our plumbing contractors also service Catonsville, Columbia, Ellicott City, Odenton, Clarksville, Elkridge, Fulton, Laurel, and Severn.


Heil Plumbing Team

8177 Mission Rd Jessup, MD, 20794, United States

(410) 799-7727

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