A Troubling Problem: Why Your Sewer Keeps Backing Up

What to Do If You Experience a Sewage Backup

Dealing with a backed-up sewer is not only inconvenient, but it can also be a major health hazard. If you’ve been experiencing frequent sewer backups, it’s essential to understand the possible causes, signs, and preventative measures to avoid future issues. In this blog post, we will explore the common reasons behind sewer backups, the risks and dangers they pose, and effective strategies to prevent them.

Possible Causes

Damaged or Blocked Pipes

One of the most common causes of sewer backups is damaged or blocked pipes. Over time, pipes can deteriorate, develop cracks, or become clogged with debris. This can impede the flow of wastewater, leading to backups. Additionally, if there are any construction activities or invasive roots near your sewer line, they can damage the pipes and exacerbate the problem.

Tree Root Intrusion

Trees near your sewer line can be a potential threat. As tree roots search for water and nutrients, they can infiltrate your pipes through tiny cracks or joints. Once inside, the roots can grow and expand, causing blockages and even pipe damage. If you suspect tree roots as the cause of your sewer backups, it’s crucial to consult with a professional to assess the situation and implement the necessary solutions.

Flushing Non-Biodegradable Items

Many homeowners unknowingly contribute to sewer backups by flushing non-biodegradable items down the toilet or drains. Items such as diapers, wipes, cotton balls, sanitary products, and cooking grease should never be disposed of in this manner. These objects can accumulate in the pipes, creating clogs and obstructions that hinder proper wastewater flow.

Grease Build-Up

Pouring cooking grease down the drain may seem convenient, but it can be detrimental to your sewer system. As grease cools, it solidifies and adheres to the walls of the pipes, causing a build-up over time. This restricts the flow of wastewater, leading to sewer backups. To prevent this issue, always dispose of cooking grease in a heat-resistant container and discard it in the trash once it has solidified.

Sewer Line Collapse or Bellied Pipe

In some cases, sewer backups can be caused by more severe problems, such as a collapsed sewer line or a bellied pipe. A collapsed sewer line obstructs the flow of wastewater, while a bellied pipe occurs when the ground around the pipe sinks or shifts, creating a dip in the line where waste and debris can accumulate. These issues often require professional assistance to repair or replace the affected sections of the sewer line.

Signs of a Backed-Up Sewer

Identifying the signs of a backed-up sewer is crucial for prompt action and prevention of further damage. Common signs include:

  • Multiple drains clogging simultaneously

  • Slow drainage in sinks, showers, or toilets

  • Unpleasant odors coming from drains

  • Gurgling sounds in plumbing fixtures

  • Water backups in toilets or shower drains

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage to your sewer system and potential health hazards.

The Risks and Dangers

A backed-up sewer poses several risks and dangers to both the environment and your health. The accumulation of wastewater can lead to the contamination of nearby water sources, which can harm aquatic life and affect drinking water quality. Moreover, exposure to sewage can cause various health issues, including gastrointestinal problems, respiratory infections, and skin irritations. It’s vital to take proactive measures to prevent sewer backups and mitigate these risks.

Preventative Measures

While it’s challenging to completely eliminate the possibility of sewer backups, there are preventive measures you can take to minimize the risk:

  • Regularly inspect and maintain your sewer system

  • Avoid flushing non-biodegradable items down the toilet or drains

  • Dispose of cooking grease properly

  • Plant trees away from sewer lines

  • Consider installing a backwater valve

  • Consult with a professional plumber for regular maintenance and repairs

By following these preventative measures, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of experiencing sewer backups and the associated complications.

Common Myths and Misconceptions

When it comes to sewer backups, there are some common myths and misconceptions that need debunking:

  1. Myth: Sewer backups are only a concern for older homes.

  2. Myth: Flushing bleach or chemical cleaners regularly prevents sewer backups.

  3. Myth: Sewer backups are only caused by blockages in the home’s plumbing system.

  4. Myth: Using a plunger can solve any sewer backup issue.

It’s important to separate fact from fiction to make informed decisions about your sewer system’s maintenance and avoid potential complications.

Publisher’s Details:

Plumbing Squad

2412 Gundry Ave, Signal Hill, CA 90755, United States

(866) 442-1897


From damaged pipes and tree root intrusion to grease build-up and collapsed sewer lines, understanding the risks and dangers is essential. Take action by avoiding non-biodegradable disposals, inspecting your sewer system, and considering a backwater valve. For expert sewer services in Downey, CA, contact the Plumbing Squad. Don’t fall for common myths – stay informed to protect your sewer system.

Read: What to Do If You Experience a Sewage Backup