Old water pipe

Is a Sewage Back-up Preventable?

The short answer to this question is yes, a sewage back-up is one of the biggest plumbing related fears, and it is a preventable phenomenon. The last thing any homeowner wants is sewage coming back into their home; it’s disgusting, hard to clean, and extremely unsanitary. The old adage is true, prevention is better than the cure, and this is very relevant to many plumbing issues. Let’s take a close look at three key ways that you can prevent a sewage back-up in your own home.

Tree Root Intrusions

Many of us have trees in our yards that require a large volume of moisture to grow. When the weather is wetter, this is easy to get in the form of rain, but during the dry season, a tree will rely heavily on its root system to draw moisture from the Earth. A thirsty tree will drive its roots in many directions, and if it can find a source of moisture, it will focus its efforts in that area. Sadly, this also includes your sewer line, and if you have even a small crack, this can encourage root growth in that direction. Initially, the root will begin to feed in the area, and then it will intrude in the sewer line, making the crack wider. Eventually, the root will grow into the line and cause a blockage that may cause a sewage back-up when the waste cannot pass the blockage. A tree root can travel a great distance looking for water, and your sewer line is at risk even if you don’t have a tree in your yard. The best way to prevent this problem is to schedule a regular sewer line inspection and essential maintenance with a local certified plumber.

A Collapsed Sewer Line

Many older homes have clay or cast iron pipes that disintegrate over time, leading to an inevitable collapse. Even better materials don’t last forever, and if you have an outdated sewer line, the risk of a sewage back-up is increased. Newer sewer lines are made with heavy duty plastics that are designed to last a long time. If you’ve never had your sewer line inspected, you will not know its condition. A local certified plumber can professionally inspect your sewer line using a camera system. Then they can inform you about any problems that can be fixed before major damage can occur.

Drain Line Clogs

A drain line clog is the most common cause of a sewage back-up because clogs are created when certain materials are flushed down the toilet. The only two things that a toilet is designed to flush away are toilet paper and human waste. Other materials, including grease, kitchen paper towels, “flushable wipes,” dental floss, feminine hygiene products, dead goldfish, and others, belong in the trash. This is easy to prevent if everyone in the home understands that they cannot flush these types of materials. Consider placing a trash can in every bathroom and encourage people in the home to place their trash there instead.

If you’re worried about a possible sewage back-up in your home, take action and contact your local certified plumber and ask about a sewer line inspection.

By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.