A number of things can damage sewer lines, causing the need to either repair them or, in extreme cases, replace them. Tree roots can penetrate the lines, causing leaks or expanding already existing ones. Wear and tear over the years can cause corrosion and hence damaging leaks. Putting into the sewer line anything besides human waste or toilet paper can cause clogs, which in turn can cause backups.
Signs of sewer line damage include a flooded or foul-smelling yard. Draining difficulties can indicate a foreign object caught inside the sewer line.
Two methods exist for repairing sewer lines.
First, the technician can use a method called pipe lining. The technician will insert an inflatable tube covered with epoxy adhesive. He or she will expand the tube at the site of the leak. When the epoxy hardens, the technician deflates the tube and withdraws it, leaving the leak sealed.
Another method of repairing a leak in a sewer line is called pipe bursting. In this case, the technician will destroy the existing pipe at the site of the leak and immediately install a new section of pipe. The method is more time-consuming and more expensive than pipe lining.
Sometimes the sewer line, especially in older homes, is broken beyond repair and needs to be entirely replaced. Extensive excavation will be required. Replacing a sewer line can be extremely expensive.
In the meantime, you can do a number of things to keep your sewer line from being damaged. You can have a professional inspect the line at least once a year, the better to detect small problems before they become serious ones. You can remove trees that can pose a danger of damaging the line by breaching it with tree roots. Finally, you can make sure that only human waste and toilet paper goes into the toilets and hence into the line.