Five Most Common Reasons a Sewer Line Would Collapse

All homes in Edmonton are connected to the main city sewer lines that run under the streets.  Most people don’t realize the incredible scale of the interconnected sewer line system under residential streets! We often take advantage of the simplicity of flushing a toilet without considering what happens to liquids and solids after they are flushed down the drain. Unfortunately, sewer lines can collapse for a variety of reasons.  If you suspect that you may have issues with the sewer line leading away from your home, call our team today.  We offer 24/7 emergency services for both sewer and water line issues.

Common signs of a collapsed sewer line can include the following:

  • Signs of mould and mildew in your basement.
  • Slow drainage from various plumbing fixtures, such as sinks, showers, or bathtubs.
  • Unpleasant odours coming from drains.
  • A damp lawn, when it has not rained, can indicate water seepage from sewer or water lines.
Diagram of burst water pipe

The 5 Most Common Causes of a Sewer Line Collapse

Flooding the Pipes with Waste Products

People often underestimate the potential impact of what they put down the drain.  There is a typical “out of sight, out of mind” attitude regarding what we are comfortable flushing down the toilet or putting down the sink. You should only ever dispose of toilet paper and human waste down the toilet.  For sinks, only non-greasy liquids should go down the drain.  Significant drainage issues can arise when oil and grease are put down the drain.  When liquid items high in fat, such as bacon grease, are put down the sink, they harden and stick to the inner lining of water and sewer pipes, resulting in severe clogging issues over time.

Tree Roots Growing into the Cracks

All sewer pipes are subject to wear and tear over time.  Edmonton sewer lines also face annual freeze-thaw cycles, putting them at even more risk of cracking. If cracks develop in sewer lines, water will begin to seep from the casing.  Water and moisture leaking from small cracks in pipes can attract tree roots to grow in their direction.  Over time, the expanding tree roots can penetrate the pipe casing as the roots continue to seek accessible water sources.  Root infiltration in the sewer lines can easily cause additional cracks to form or, worse, can cause complete line blockage.

Pipe Settlements

Changes in soil sediment surrounding a drainage pipe or sewer line can cause of underground line to move or settle. Shifting soil may cause the slope of a sewer line to change in the wrong direction or sink further into the ground.  An incorrectly sloped sewer line can result in the unwanted accumulation of solid waste, leading to partial blockages.  Over time, pressure on these partial blockages can build up, resulting in a broken or burst line.

Pipe Deterioration and Damage

Pipes can be subject to corrosion for several reasons, including:

  • Improper installation.
  • Rust deposits on the interior of the pipe.
  • Wear & tear due to the age of the pipe.
  • Chemical solutions being put down the drain.

Improper Installation

Sewer lines are typically installed with a downward slope to ensure gravity takes over to draw wastewater away from the house and into the main city sewer line.  Proper installation is crucial from the onset to ensure the pipe has both the steady footing it needs and the proper downward slope.

How Do You Repair a Collapsed Sewer Line?

Mainline Water & Sewer specializes in identifying the root cause of a sewer line failure.  If you suspect you may have issues with your line, don’t hesitate to contact us immediately. With 24/7 emergency services available, it is crucial to inspect the sewer line as soon as possible to ensure your property is safe and protected.

Contact our Team Today