Signs Of A Collapsed Sewer Line

Signs of a collapsed sewer line may include frequent clogs in multiple household drains. If you detect the smell of sewage in your house, that is another sign that you may have a collapsed sewer line. 

Other indications of a collapsed sewer line may be unusually green patches in your lawn if the sewage has escaped and acts as a fertilizer. Another telltale tipoff of a sewer line break is when your household sinks are especially slow to drain. 

If your sewer line breaks you may be tempted to start digging a trench to get closer to the issue. But unless you are experienced with plumbing and sewer line reconstruction, we suggest you call a professional disaster restoration company like HRS Restoration Services. 

Our full-service company employs contractors and plumbers with the experience and tools to repair your sewer line as quickly as possible. We’ve been fixing broken and collapsed sewer lines for nearly four decades. 

At the first signs of a sewer line break, call HRS, a skilled and experienced company that is available 24/7!

Call us for more information or to schedule an appointment if you are experiencing signs of a sewage leak. 

What Causes A Sewer Line To Collapse?

In a perfect world, sewer lines would be out of sight, out of mind. But life isn’t perfect and sewer lines collapse for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is a persistent tree root whose growth won’t be stopped by a metal pipe. Other times sewer lines were improperly installed or after time have shifted and don’t properly align. 

Over the years, pipes corrode and reach their expiration date since they are designed to last around fifty years. Even temperature swings one way or the other put stress on sewer lines and can lead to a collapse. Below we explain the main causes of a sewer line collapse in more detail. 

Tree Incursion

To be clear, tree roots are not single-handedly causing sewer lines to collapse all over the country. But tree roots do take advantage of sewer lines that are already leaking or misaligned. Tree roots are instinctively drawn to a water source and if there is already a leak in your sewer line, the root will find a way in or around your sewer. Once rooted, a professional will need to apply chemicals or cut out the roots. 

Misaligned Of Offset Pipes

If the joints that connect the sewer line are not properly fitted, wastewater and sewage can leak and erode the surrounding soil. Misaligned sewage lines could also result from shifts in your home or office’s foundation. 

Old Pipes

Sewage lines do not get better with age and over time, develop cracks and are subject to corrosion. It depends on what your sewer line is made from but if it’s forty or more years old, you should be on the lookout for issues.

If your line was built in 1980 or before it is most likely made of clay, tile, or steel, while today’s pipes are made out of PVC which doesn’t corrode or crack.  Repairs and replacement of sewer lines is an issue you want to address sooner than later. 

Extreme Temperature Changes

If the temperature where you live changes rapidly, it becomes more likely that your sewer line will be more susceptible to failure. Swings in weather, even by 15 degrees, and prolonged cold can apply pressure to your sewer line and make it more likely for cracks and fissures to appear. 


Signs Your Sewer Line Has Collapsed

Knowing how to tell if your sewer line is leaking is an important skill for any home or business owner. The signs may be subtle, smelly, or point to another issue but there are sewer line symptoms that, especially when multiple instances happen, should not be ignored. 

An Odor Of Sewer Gas

Sewer gas is a term that describes all the noxious chemicals found in sewage. It is a smell that you would normally never smell inside your home. Once you do, it is because there is a backup or clog and the only place the sewage smell has to go is back where it came from. 

Slow Drains

If one or multiple drains are particularly slow, this is a sign that your sewer line has collapsed. In a slow drain, water is still making its way through the pipes but with noticeable difficulty. 

Clogs & Backups

If your drain is clogged or backed up, this is a more noticeable symptom of a collapsed sewer line. A clog or backup forces you to use tools like a pipe snake, plunger or a chemical agent to treat the clog. However, if your sewer line has collapsed these fixes will only be temporary as they are not focused on repairing the broken line. 

Abnormal Green Spots In Lawn

As odd as this sounds, don’t start patting yourself on the back when part of your lawn is looking particularly green. It may not be all thanks to your hard work. If you have a leak or break in your sewer line, wastewater and sewage may have escaped and acted as a fertilizer. Keep an eye on your yard if you have noticed any other signs of a sewer line collapse. 

Soggy, Damp Lawn

If the sewer line leak has persisted for a long enough time and there is enough water escaping from the line, you may notice your lawn is soggy and damp. You are more likely to notice this while walking around your lawn as the extra moisture is not usually detected by sight alone. 

Insect And/Or Rodent Infestation

All living things need a water source and insects and rodents are no exception. If you have a leak in your sewer line, rodents like mice, rats, possums, and squirrels may become more prevalent around your house. Insects like cockroaches, termites and mosquitoes also are drawn to water sources and expect to see more of them if you have inadvertently given them a new source of water to draw from. 

Mold & Mildew

Any time you have excess water, especially in the crawl spaces of your home where it is dark and already cool, you can expect mold and mildew to grow. If you have a sewer line collapse, wastewater and sewage, which is mostly liquid, will become trapped and can lead to noticeable mold spores. You may also notice the smell even before you see it since mold releases volatile organic compounds.

Broken Slabs & Cracked Walls

If you notice new cracks in the concrete around your home’s foundation, it may be a sign of a collapsed sewer line. The water escaping from the sewer line is slowly washing away the soil underneath your home causing the foundation to crack. 

There is a major difference between a crack that occurs after a natural shift vs. a crack that happens from a sewer line break. The sewer line-caused crack will continue and when it does, the more likely it is your foundation could be subject to collapse. 

Odd Sounds Coming From Plumbing Fixtures

Yes, old houses make noise but when you hear banging, thumping, and gurgling sounds, it is a plumbing problem that you can’t chalk up to normal house sounds. Odd sounds are your pipes’ way of singing their swan song so listen up. 

Septic Waste Pooling In Yard

You will likely smell septic waste in your yard before you see it. But if you have air conditioning and don’t open your windows, it may take a while before you notice. Especially in particularly hot climates where you go from your air-conditioned car to your garage and immediately into your air-conditioned house, you may not easily notice the smell of septic wastewater in your yard. 

Insect Infestation

Rodents and insects are not ones to live solitary lives. Once you give them a water source, they and their kinfolk will move right in and make themselves at home. 

If you see an unusual increase in cockroaches, termites, and other water-loving insects, you may have a sewer line leak. Rodents like squirrels, chipmunks, possums, mice, and rats also relish in your house’s adjacent water source where they can live out of sight. 

How To Fix A Collapsed Sewage Line

It’s possible, with the knowledge and the right tools, for a homeowner to fix a collapsed sewer line but it’s not something we would recommend. When you combine a lack of experience and tools the result may be making the problem even worse than when you started. 

Your sewer line contains noxious gases and raw sewage that is hazardous to your health. If you’re not completely equipped to fix it, your efforts may result in raw sewage being backed up into your home, or into your neighbor’s yard or home depending on how close they are. 

Call a professional team like HRS Restoration Services to handle a sewer line break. Our team has the knowledge, experience, and tools to repair a collapsed sewer line so you won’t have to call for sewage clean-up in Denver or sewage cleanup in Arizona

Why Choose HRS Restoration Services

HRS Restoration Services is a full-service restoration company. We know how to fix a collapsed sewer line and can safely and quickly remove any resulting sewage spill. 

Our customer reviews point to our rapid response and professionalism, two qualities that are in demand any time hazardous waste is involved. We are proud to be trusted members of our business community for nearly 25 years. 

Contact HRS Restoration Services Today!

Call HRS Restoration Services if you suspect you have a collapsed sewer line. We’re available 24/7 for more information or to schedule an appointment. 

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Anytime of day, any day of the year, HRS is here to fix what may seem overwhelming and intimidating. Our professionals in Denver are here to help 24/7.

what is iicrc and Why is it important?

IICRC stands for the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. Formed nearly 40 years ago, it is a non-profit organization that establishes globally recognized standards for the cleaning and restoration industry, as well as providing certifications, journeyman and master designation, and education.

By choosing a firm with IICRC certified team members, you are assured the cleaning professionals have undergone rigorous training and will handle your disaster restoration with the highest standard of care.


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Figuring out what steps to take when disaster strikes can be a daunting task. HRS is here 24/7 to walk you through the process and bring your home or business back to habitable condition(s).

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At HRS, we understand the panic that can set in when your basement floods or a fire breaks out at your business. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to repair damage and give you peace of mind.