How Do I Tell If My Sewer Line Is Collapsed?

The short answer is: A homeowner can suspect a collapsed sewer line if they notice persistent and unusual plumbing issues, such as frequent clogs, slow drainage, or gurgling sounds from drains and toilets. A sudden increase in sewer odors around the property, particularly in the yard or basement, may also indicate a problem. Sinkholes, depressions, or lush, green patches of grass above the sewer line's path could suggest a collapsed or damaged pipe underground. Consulting a professional sewer expert or plumber to confirm and address the issue.

As a homeowner, it's important to keep an eye on the overall health of your home's plumbing system. One crucial aspect of your plumbing that you should keep a close eye on is the sewer lines. This is because, unlike other plumbing issues, a collapsed sewer line can have serious consequences for your home and your wallet. It can lead to extensive damage and expensive repairs if not dealt with promptly.

Causes of a Sewer Line Collapse

Dealing with a collapsed sewer line can be a nightmare for homeowners. The inconvenience, not to mention the cost of repairs, can be overwhelming. But what causes a sewer line to collapse in the first place? Knowing the underlying factors can help prevent this from happening and also prepare you for dealing with a broken sewer line.

Soil Shifting

Over time, the surrounding soil underneath a main sewer line can shift due to various reasons. It could be because of natural factors such as erosion, soil compaction, or the movements of tectonic plates. Building construction near the main sewer line can also cause soil shifting. As the soil moves, it creates voids that can cause the sewer line to sag and eventually collapse.

Tree Roots Invasion

Tree roots invasion is one of the most common causes of sewer line collapse. Trees seek water and nutrients, and as such, they can grow towards the sewer pipe in search of these resources. Over time, the roots can penetrate the sewer line and cause blockages, cracks, and eventually collapse. This issue can also cause clogged drains in the home. It's crucial to be careful when planting trees near your sewer lines or have a qualified arborist to advise you on the best species to plant.


A home's sewer system is designed to last for decades, but corrosion can significantly shorten their lifespan and lead to a collapsed pipe. Corrosion occurs when the sewer line's materials, such as cast iron and galvanized steel, are exposed to moisture and other chemicals in the wastewater. As the material corrodes, it weakens the old pipes and can eventually lead to collapse.

External Pressure

External pressure is another cause of sewer line collapse. Heavy vehicles and machinery moving over the sewer line can exert too much pressure on the pipe, causing it to crack, break, or even collapse. When constructing driveways or parking lots, it's crucial to be cautious of the sewer line's location and use the right type of backfill material to prevent external pressure from damaging it.

Signs of a Collapsed Sewer Line

The first step to knowing if you have a broken sewer line is to look out for any signs that it may be failing. Keep an eye out for some of the most common signs of a collapsed sewer pipe:

  • Slow Drains: If your drains are slowing down or simply won't drain at all, then it could be a sign of something wrong with your sewer line. Frequent backups, slow draining water, or a clogged drain can, in many cases, indicate a main sewer line clog or damage to the sewer system.

  • Foul Odors: Sewer odor coming from your plumbing system can be a sign that you have main sewage line issues. This is because when a sewer pipe collapses, the contents within it (sewage, wastewater, etc.) can't properly flow away from your home. This causes an unpleasant odor of sewer gas that you don't want to ignore.

  • Wet Patches in Your Yard: One of the most apparent signs of a collapsed sewer line is a soggy lawn. When your sewer line is compromised, it can lead to leakage, which can cause your yard to become oversaturated and damp in places where it should not be. If you notice this happening, call a plumber immediately to assess the situation.

  • Rodent Infestation: Rodents such as rats and mice are known to thrive in wet and damp environments. Consequently, if your sewer line is in a state of collapse, it can cause dampness and wet patches throughout your home or yard, which can attract these unwanted pests.

  • Water Damage: Water damage in your home can be caused by a variety of issues, including a collapsed sewer line. As sewer gas and sewer water are toxic and carry harmful bacteria, in the case of sewage backups, it is essential to clean the area as fast as possible to prevent further damages and mitigate this health hazard.

If you notice any of these signs in your home, you should take immediate action by calling a professional sewer line repair company like Mr. Plumber. An experienced and skilled technician can inspect your sewer line and provide you with an accurate diagnosis of the issue.

Expert Help for Your Broken Sewer Line

Mr. Plumber uses advanced equipment and techniques such as video inspection cameras to see where the collapse occurred and trenchless sewer repair to diagnose and repair sewer pipes quickly and efficiently. In fact, our trenchless repair technology can help fix your pipes or install a new pipe without digging through your yard or disrupting your landscaping. This means a less invasive and less expensive way to get your sewer lines back to working order versus a major project involving excavation.

Ensuring your sewer line is in optimal condition can save you a lot of money and headaches in the long run. It's important to remember that a collapsed sewer line is a severe issue that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. At the first sign of any of the above issues, don't hesitate before calling Mr. Plumber. The sooner you address the issue, the less expensive and more manageable it is.

Call Mr. Plumber for Sewer Line Repair

If you're not sure whether your sewer line is at risk of collapsing, it's best to contact a professional plumber. The experienced technicians at Mr. Plumber are always ready to answer your call and help you deal with any sewer line issues that you may have. We understand that a functional sewer line is essential for your home's overall health, so we always go above and beyond to get the job done right.

With Mr. Plumber's expert sewer line repair services, you can rest assured that your home and family are in good hands. Don't wait until it's too late; call Mr. Plumber to assess and repair your sewer line today.

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