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Roy Breshears WIN South East Idaho

Common Issues found with a Sewer Scope Inspection


Most Common Problems Found During a Sewer Scope Inspection

Sewer lines need just as much attention and maintenance as other parts of your home. However, we tend to overlook them because they are ‘out of sight, out of mind’. If you are thinking about getting an inspection, this article will discuss the most common sewer inspection problems found during a sewer scope inspection.

Offset Pipes

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An offset is where two sections of pipes meet but do not line up. Most of the time, settlement in the surrounding ground or roots can cause the sections of piping to shift. If the offset is large and specifically if it is near the bottom edge of the pipe, then repair is likely needed.

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 A pipe collapse typically occurs on sewer lines that have been neglected. Pipes can collapse because of vegetation, an offset, or can be weather related causing old lines expanding and contracting. As the pipe collapses, the opening shrinks and it is likely to slow or stop the flow. The leakage occurring from the cracked pipe can exacerbate the situation. In most cases, the line will need to be fully replaced. If a pipe is fully collapsed, we typically cannot go any further to inspect the rest of the line. Replacing just the problem section can be risky as there may be more issues down the line.       

Low Areas (aka) ‘Belly’

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Commonly referred to as a sag, a low area or belly is where debris gathers in the low point. This can cause a backup or blockage in the line. A belly can likely be the result of a poor layout for the sewer, or it has been impacted by some other event such as a tree root or shifting soil and weather events.

Grease Build Up

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With of the use of garbage disposals in modern plumbing, a build-up of grease can occur in the line. Oily substances are not water soluble and tends to stick to the sides of the pipe. The grease can eventually cause blockages if not cleaned out. Other materials traveling down the pipe can get caught up on these build-ups and inhibit the flow of waste.

Tree Roots

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When your sewer system was installed, chances are the vegetation wasn’t fully grown and no one suspected that your system could be compromised by growth. Roots are powerful and can crush or offset a pipe, creating problems with the flow of your system. Most people do not think about their sewer line when planting trees. Often, we see trees planted directly above a sewer line in front yards. Root intrusion is very common in older clay and cast-iron sewer lines. Newer PVC lines have a lower chance of having root issues.


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Cracks in clay and cast-iron lines are common. Pressure on the pipe can cause hairline cracks around fittings and other areas. Like most of these issues, if the water is not blocked, no action is needed. Cracks on the top and sides of the pipe typically can be ignored. If the crack is on the bottom side of the pipe, you may consider adding a liner to the pipe to reduce leakage of sewage into your lawn. Leaks outside of the pipe can lead to further settlement of the sewer line.


You might think, “I am buying a brand-new house, and there is likely nothing wrong with my sewer line.” This is typically the case, but does the cost of a sewer scope inspection outweigh the knowledge of knowing? Recently, one of our sewer technicians stumbled across an unusual problem in a sewer line. A piece of rebar was hammered through a pipe. The builder was probably unaware of the presence of the sewer line below and hammered through the pipe. As unfortunate as this situation may be, it shows that a simple sewer scope inspection can save you a lot of money and stress from hidden repairs, or give you the peace of mind knowing your sewage is flowing swiftly away from your home.


Now you know all you’ve ever wanted to about common sewer line issues and can see why it is very important to understand the condition of a sewer line before buying a home as repairs can be a major cost to the homeowner.

In many cases, a sewer line repair can be one of the most expensive repairs associated with a home. A full sewer line replacement can cost between $10,000-$30,000! Many of them can be prevented with maintenance. Sewers are never a fun issue to deal with, so to know all about your lines schedule your sewer scope inspection today.