Sewer line problems can be some of the biggest and most frustrating issues you will ever have to deal with as a homeowner. However, part of what makes them so frustrating is that it can be very difficult to respond and fix them quickly before things get out of hand. It isn’t really possible to do a visual inspection of the inside of your sewer line (unless you own a very expensive plumber’s camera), so the average person is forced to keep an eye out for external signs of an issue. To make matters worse, most of these external signs are incredibly small, mundane, and can be super easy to miss if you aren’t careful or know what you’re looking for.
Water in Your Shower or Bathtub
It’s been several hours since you last ran your bathtub or shower, and yet the floor of your basin is still wet. To make matters even more confusing, your tap or faucet isn’t dripping at all, so you have no idea where the water is coming from. The answer may not be one you like: it could be coming from your drains below. A clog in your sewer line prevents water from draining away, and thus it will simply fill up all of your drain lines. When it runs out of space, water begins to pour out of drains that it reaches first, and these will almost always be the drains for your downstairs bathtubs or showers.
Take a close look at this water: does it appear to be discolored, contaminated, or have visible debris floating in it? This isn’t your typical dirt—it could very well be raw sewage that has accumulated in your drain lines. Those who flush a toilet in an upstairs bathroom can sometimes find their waste bubbling out of a downstairs bathtub or shower drain when their sewer line clogs up completely.
Standing Water in Your Yard
Does one part of your lawn almost always seem to be wet? Do you constantly have water bubbling up from a small crack in your concrete? Does water seem to be running, even at a slow trickle, down from your lawn to the gutter? These might not be typical, mundane instances of your yard having some normal standing water—they could be a sign that your sewer line is leaking. Standing water isn’t all that uncommon in outdoor spaces, but a constant supply of water is an indication of a leak, and standing water located above or near the area where your sewer line runs can only be supplied by one thing: the sewer line itself.
Another tell-tale sign that the standing water you are seeing isn’t as typical as you would hope is the smell: standing water should not smell rancid or like raw sewage. Go with your news, if it smells like raw sewage, then it probably is. Whatever you do, do not handle this water with your bare hands. Be sure to wash it away as soon as possible as it could carry some seriously nasty diseases. Likewise, call for help and have your sewer line inspected as soon as possible.
A Patch of Rapidly-Growing Grass
Raw sewage may be extremely toxic to humans, but to grass and plants, it’s a feast of nutrients and fertilizer that can ignite a wild growth spurt. Therefore, any areas of unexpected but plentiful plant or grass growth could also be a sign of a sewage problem, particularly if the area with the rapid growth is located near your sewer line. Small leaks allow this nutrient-rich water to reach plant roots, resulting in a sudden burst of health. This only compounds for plants or grass located in areas that receive a lot of sunlight or live in prime growing conditions to begin with.
Keep your eyes (and your nose) open for any areas of your lawn that seem to almost constantly stay wet or that take a long, long time to dry out each day. These areas may not be over-watered, but rather might be receiving additional water from an unexpected and undesirable source.
Tree roots are also a problem with leaking sewer lines. Because trees are constantly spreading their roots to facilitate their own growth, they are drawn to fertile soil with a lot of nutrients. The inside of a sewer line is packed with so many of these nutrients that roots tend to grow rapidly within them. Before long, a tree root can completely block or even destroy a sewer line, and roots have even been found in toilets and shower drains. However, if it gets this far, you are already in for a major repair or replacement service.Struggling with a sewer problem? Pick up the phone and reach out to the local pros from AAA Service Plumbing, Heating & Electric! Dial (303) 622-3449 now to schedule an appointment.