What Causes a Sewer to Backup

Published: 07th July 2008
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To learn how to handle a sewer backup better, you will first need to learn what causes a sewage line to backup. Also, you will learn how to better maintain your sewer lines and prevent it from backing up, and causing damage to your home.

Sewer lines can back up in sanitary main sewer lines which are under the municipality's responsibility, and in the lines between the buildings and the street's main line which are under the property owner's responsibility.

Overflow of Sanitary Lines

It is common that heavy rain will fill the sewer lines faster than the lines can be drained. In these cases the sewer lines fill up due to insufficient system capacity or overwhelming water volumes. This will lead to a multiple sewage backups as the water back up through residential floor drains and overflows.

Manmade Destruction

Another common cause of water blockages within the city's system is manmade destruction and vandalisms. City maintenance workers often find objects such as rocks, bricks, solid objects and debris that have been stuffed down manholes leading to stoppages and causing sewage backups.

Pipes Blockage
There are different causes for pipes and sewer blockages. Some are simple to find and easy to prevent, and some are hidden and can hardly ever be detected before the damage happens.
Structural defects happen due to system deterioration in both pipes and manholes. These defects include problems with sewer service lines such as pipe collapse, sags in the line, cracks, and offset joints. Structural defects can develop overtime and cause damage to the system, leading to a serious overflow that will require reconstruction of sewer lines.
The most common cause of sewage backup is a blockage of the service pipe between the home and the city main line. This is often caused by solid objects, accidentally flushed down a household drain such as hygiene products. In residential plumbing systems, the main cause is hair, dirt, or solid materials, such as diapers, sanitary napkins, broken dishware, garbage, and debris that are too large for wastewater pipes to handle
Tree roots are a major cause of backups tree roots can enter the service pipe at joints and travel a long way, causing blockages along the way. Tree roots can also create structural defects when they crack and break pipes as they grow.

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