Your main sewer line is an important aspect of your building’s plumbing system, but it’s not one you may think much about. However, you should be aware of the causes and signs of these clogs, as well as repair and replacement solutions for them. 

Causes of Main Sewer Line Clogs

Tree Roots

Tree roots search for any water source they can access. This is how trees grow. Unfortunately, tree roots can latch onto a sewer pipe, where they feed off the moisture. As the roots extend toward the moisture in the sewer pipe, they can grow within it until they block the entire pipe, and they can break sewer pipes as well.

Pouring Grease Down the Drain

If your commercial building houses a restaurant or commercial kitchen, employees may be sending large amounts of food waste down the drain. This can include grease and fats, which should never be poured down the drain. People often believe that if they run hot water as they pour grease or fats down the drain, it will flush it down. Hot water does not do that. Instead, the hot water heats up the grease or fats, which remain in the sewer line and harden on the pipe as it cools. 

This cause is easy to prevent: Simply don’t pour grease or fats down the drain. Pour the grease into a container, such as a jar or empty can, and throw it away when the container is full. This will prevent grease from blocking your main sewer line.

Flushing Debris Down the Toilet

This is similar to the grease problems above. Building occupants may try to use the toilets as trash cans, which can cause commercial plumbing problems such as blockages and water backup. If this is a problem in your building, notify the occupants that toilets are for human waste and toilet paper only.

Water Damage

Since commercial buildings send large amounts of high-volume water through their main sewer lines, the pipes may experience corrosion and leaks as well as bursts and clogs. If your building or facility uses older steel pipes, you should be especially aware of this possibility. You should contact commercial plumbing services if you think your main sewer line has damaged pipes.

Signs of Main Sewer Line Clogs

Frequent Drain Backups and Slow Drainage

This is an easy sign to spot. If your sink drain, floor drains, in-ground drains, or any other drains in your building back up often, you should have a plumbing professional inspect your pipes and your sewer line. You should also do this if your drains take a long time to drain water. This could be the result of a small clog in that fixture’s pipe, but it may be a sign of a sewer blockage if that fixture’s pipes show no signs of clogging. If multiple fixtures are backing up or draining slowly, you definitely have a larger plumbing issue on your hands.

Strong Sewage Smells Coming From Plumbing Fixtures

If strong sewage smells emanate from multiple plumbing fixtures, your sewer line is most likely blocked. If you notice this smell, contact a plumber immediately because raw sewage and germs may be entering your building through your pipes, which can pose a risk to the building occupants’ health.

Sewage Cleanout Is Holding Water

You should check your building’s sewage cleanout. The sewage cleanout is a pipe that drops directly into the main sewer line. It should be free of water. You can unscrew the cleanout’s lid and see if any water is inside. If the sewage cleanout has water in it, you should contact a commercial plumbing maintenance and repair company to inspect your sewer line. 

Plumbing Fixtures Have Strange Reactions During Use

These reactions include toilets bubbling or gurgling as well as flushing toilets causing other nearby fixtures to back up. Such reactions indicate water is not passing through the main sewer line due to a blockage.

Solutions to Main Sewer Line Clogs

Video Inspection

A video inspection, featuring a flexible video camera that can travel through pipes and drains, captures images of the blockage in the sewer line while the video device emits a radio signal to pinpoint the blockage’s exact location. This is especially helpful for tree-root blockages. Overall, video inspections help the plumber determine where and how serious the blockage is while providing the building owner or property manager with visual evidence that helps them understand the problem.

Professional Drain Cleaning

These methods vary depending on the cause of the blockage. High-pressure water can be used to remove tree-root and grease blockages. Tree roots can also be removed with saws, while grease can be removed with rodding, a process where a drain or sewer rod is screwed end to end in a drain or pipe. These drain cleaning methods remove the blockage and leave the pipe intact.

Trenchless Sewer Line Repair

This is an alternative to traditional sewer line repair, which often involves digging up a damaged or broken pipe and replacing it with a new one. In this repair method, a technician drills holes into both ends of the damaged pipe, and then pulls a new pipe through the old one. This causes the old pipe to burst and lays new pipe simultaneously. Trenchless sewer line repair is a streamlined replacement method for broken or damaged pipes.

Dallas-Area Sewer Line Services

If you have a commercial sewage problem in the Dallas area and you’d like services that include video inspection, contact us today. We have the experience and knowledge to tackle your sewer line and drain line problems with high-quality solutions. We also provide preventive maintenance that helps stop small problems from growing into large ones, like sewer line blockages.