Sewer Problems In Spring: What You Should Know

Spring is upon us in the Midwest. As the weather gets warmer and life emerges from it’s winter slumber, so too do new sewer issues. Cracked pipes, clogged outdoor drains, and sewer lines damaged by growing tree roots can wreak havoc on a leisurely spring.

Cracked, Leaking Pipes

Pipes and sewer lines can fill up with frozen water over the winter and crack. As the weather warms,the pipes expand and a crack can become a leak. Low water pressure over several days may indicate a leaking pipe.

Blocked Outdoor Drains

Leaves and other yard debris left to sit in the fall, and freeze in the winter, can pack gutters and drains, clogging them. Pooling water can damage walls and foundations, as well as attracting insects that come in the spring.

Sewer Line Obstructions

First, what does your sewer line do?
Simply put, all the drains in your house tie into a central pipe that runs out of your house to the municipal sewer system or a septic tank. This central pipe is under the ground anywhere from 3-6 feet underground in your yard.

Tree Roots

The St. Louis area is ripe with large trees, and with large trees come even larger root systems. These roots seek out the water and nutrients in your sewer line causing clogs, which can cause costly and messy sewer back ups. There are also many older homes in the Midwest that may have clay or concrete pipes, which are especially susceptible to tree roots. If not properly maintained, tree roots are attracted to any leaking water that may be happening in your sewer or water line. Once they invade the pipe, they continue to grow causing back ups, pipe damage, and possible unhealthy conditions.

How do I know if I am having spring sewer issues?

  • Do you have clogged drains in the house? This is usually the first sign of an obstruction.
  • Sounds of gurgling from the toilet. 
  • Sinkholes outdoors. If you have a place in your lawn that sinks and is almost always wet, even when it hasn’t rained, it could be caused by tree roots damaging your sewer line. Another sign is a bright green patch of grass. The water and nutrients from the leaking pipe feed the grass like fertilizer. 
  • Foul smell. Water and sewer blockage will cause a rotten egg or sulfur odor to seep through your pipes into your home.

Fortunately, you are not at the mercy of Mother Nature when it comes to your plumbing and sewer line. Preventative yard maintenance to clean leaves and twigs in the fall can help drainage considerably. Getting regular sewer camera inspections can help stop cracks becoming a leak and tree roots from invading sewer lines. Catching any potential issue will save you time and money later.


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