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A sewer line clog can cause wastewater to back up into your plumbing system. Smelly, contaminated, and even toxic waste can bubble up from the toilet, sink drains, faucets, tub, or shower. If multiple drains back up at once, a sewer line problem is the likely culprit. Or, water might back up in the shower when you flush the toilet.

You may wonder why your sewer line got clogged. Being underground, it should be built to be reliable, shouldn’t it? Here are some of the most common reasons sewer lines clog up:

Pipe Blockage

Sewer pipes can become clogged just like drainpipes do. Flushed napkins, diapers, and tissues can get stuck in pipes, while dumping large quantities of material down your garbage disposal can clog sewer lines. Grease and fat are also problematic. Even if solid when you pour them down the drain, these quickly harden inside the plumbing system, causing blockages deep within the system as far in as the sewer main.

Pipe Damage

A broken or ruptured pipe prevents sewage from draining properly. This can occur due to corrosion, shifting soil, an increase in ground traffic, and the presence of heavy construction equipment on the surface. Leakage can occur at a damaged seal or joint as well.

Tree Root Infiltration

Tree roots, even those from other yards, spread underground in search of water. They can grow into the pipe to reach the water and expand within the line, eventually causing a complete blockage. Roots can push holes into the pipe and even crush it by wrapping around the line. Older sewer lines made out of porous material, such as clay, are most susceptible.

Severe Damage

Older pipes can degrade to the point they simply collapse. But first, holes, cracks, and sagging sections of pipe can result in a clogged sewer line. Oftentimes the greatest factor is the ground or soil condition rather than the age of the pipe. If a low spot develops in the line, waste materials can collect there and cause a blockage.


Rust develops over time with exposure to the elements. Since sewer pipe is exposed to moisture and a variety of harsh materials, the lining can corrode and develop small holes. These are tiny and usually don’t cause problems at first. But over time, these holes get larger and corrosion causes the pipe to become brittle and eventually break. Rust that fills the interior of the pipe is problematic as well and can cause significant blockages and backups.

How to Protect Your Sewer Line

Even though your sewer lines are underground, outside your home, there are things you can do to protect them. Do not flush napkins, sanitary products, or other items down the toilet. Be smart when using your garbage disposal and avoid pouring leftover grease down the drain. There are other problems you don’t have control over, such as tree roots or ground shifting, but when you notice signs of a clogged sewer line, it’s time to call an experienced plumbing professional.

Call Detour Plumbing for Sewer Line Repair/Replacement

At Detour Plumbing, we can fix all types of sewer line problems. We can even replace a sewer line without causing major disruptions. Trenchless sewer line replacement avoids having to dig up your driveway or yard. Instead, we use an in-pipe relining technique that can restore your sewer line for decades. For 24/7 emergency service in Santa Clarita, CA, call Detour Plumbing at 661-424-9820 and receive a high-quality service.

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