What causes sewer problems?
- If your home has an inoperable sump pump groundwater can flood your basement.
- Fats, oils and grease clog sewers. Meat, salad dressing, butter, cooking oils, and many other food scraps contain fatty byproducts that, when washed down a drain, quickly solidify and deposit on the inside of sewer pipes. Over time, the buildup of these fats, oils and grease can completely block a sewer line. Many of the soaps and detergents claiming to dissolve grease simply pass the problem down the pipes, clogging sewer lines in other areas.
- Tree roots will creep into the sewer pipe, trying to find water, and over time cause a blockage. Older houses may have clay sewer service lines, generally constructed in 4-foot segments, which are more susceptible to root intrusion than the sewer lines constructed today. The natural swelling and shrinking of soils can cause the joints between the segments to pull apart, creating an opening for roots to enter.
- Foreign objects (for example, a child's toy) can cause a backup.
- If the city's main has become clogged a backup could occur.
- Age of pipe material and the shifting of the ground can break pipes.

Show All Answers

1. What can I put down the sewer?
2. What do I do if I have sewer problems?
3. What causes sewer problems?
4. How does a wastewater treatment plant work?
5. How can you help prevent sewer problems?
6. What if I smell sewer odors?