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What Causes a Collapsed Sewer Line?

what causes a collapsed sewer line?

You’d hope that the sewer lines in your home would last a long time without even a leak. However, sometimes they collapse entirely, likely leaving you wondering why. Sewer lines are one of those things we don’t think about much until something goes wrong with them. But most face daily stresses that can cause them to collapse overtime. Or, you may be unlikely and face a sudden issue that causes collapse faster. Here are some potential causes of collapsed sewers.

1. Aged Pipes

Even the thickest pipes made of the best materials will not last forever. Over time, they corrode from the inside or outside and begin to leak and then may collapse if left leaking. Soil type plays a big role in how soon your pipes will fail due to corrosion. Clay soils and those with high chlorine content are the hardest on pipes. Pipes will last the longest in sandy soils.

2. Pipe Installation Problems

When you have a new sewer line installed, errors can cause the line to collapse. If the pipes are misaligned or have gaps between them, they can slowly leak out. As with pipes that leak with aging, this water erodes the soil around the pipe, creating gaps and putting strain on the pipe. Eventually, a section cannot support itself and collapses. This can happen years after the initial installation.

3. Shifts in the Ground

Pipes can also become misaligned or collapse entirely when the ground moves or shifts. Earthquakes, sinkholes and other similar disasters that shift large swathes of ground can break sewer lines, although some types of pipes, such as HDPE, resist these forces better than others.

4. Tree Issues

While they grow slowly, the roots of trees can be quite strong. Overtime, a determined tree can break into a sewer line and then cause it to collapse. And there is plenty of reason for trees to seek out sewer lines as they offer consistent water and nutrients. You should plant trees far enough away from sewer lines that their roots cannot seek them out.

5. Leaks

As we mentioned a bit above, any kind of sewer line leak can wear away at the soil around the pipe and eventually cause a collapse. So, it would be best if you investigated all potential sewer leaks.

Signs of a Sewer Collapse

How do you know if your sewer line has collapsed? There are some telltale signs you should watch for:

  • Smell of sewage on the lawn
  • Wet spots or puddles on the lawn
  • Unusually healthy trees or grass
  • Unusually unhealthy trees or grass that has been drowned
  • Slow draining in your home’s fixtures
  • Multiple fixtures will not drain at all
  • Strange noises from your plumbing or your front yard

What Should I Do About a Sewer Collapse?

If your sewer has collapsed, then you need help from a local plumber you trust. They can safely replace the collapsed line and let you know what you can do to avoid further sewer collapses in the future.

The good news is that our team offers fast and dependable sewer repairs in Concord, and throughout Contra Costa. Call now to learn more, or to schedule your appointment.