A sewer line failure is a home repair issue that usually crops up suddenly, with few early warning signs. Often, by the time you notice that flushing the toilet sends water back up into the shower drain or the appearance of an unexplained wet spot or depression in the yard, the damage is already done. Since sewer line repair can be messy, expensive and even endanger bushes, trees and landscaping, homeowners should gather some important information before they begin.
One: Who is Actually Responsible for the Repair?
Sewer line repairs that occur inside the home are, unfortunately, usually the responsibility of the homeowner. When repairs are needed outside the home, however, responsibility will depend on whether or not your sewer system is public or private and what part of the line needs to be repaired. In most communities, the municipal sewer system owns the main waste trunk line that runs under or near the street or sidewalk. In many cases, they also own the waste pipes that branch off this main trunk line and join up with the waste pipe from each individual home. If the repair is needed in the section of the pipe owned by the municipal sewer system, they are usually responsible for all maintenance and repairs.
Helpful Tip: Your municipal sewer and water company will have maps that show the configuration of all underground lines as part of their sewer system management plan that will help you determine who is responsible for the repairs you need.
Two: Can Landscaping Damage Be Avoided or Reduced?
If the sewer line repair requires the damaged section of pipe to be replaced with a new one, such as might be required if a large section of pipe is damaged beyond repair, extensive excavation may be required. Before allowing work to begin, work with the municipal sewer company or a trusted sewer pipe repair company like Drain-O-Rooter to find out how much excavation will be necessary and what parts of your landscaping will be affected.
Helpful Tip: Use information regarding any necessary excavation to dig up and move as much of the affected landscaping as possible. If done carefully, many of these plants can be transplanted into another area of the yard or kept alive to be replanted in their former positions after the work is finished.
Three: What Repair Options Are Available?
Repairing damaged sewer lines once required total excavation and replacement. Now, however, trenchless repair procedures are often possible. Trenchless repairs are often more cost effective, and will not affect the landscaping in the area of the repair.
Helpful Tip: Ask your sewer line repair service if they can use a camera to inspect the interior of the sewer line to determine how extensive the damage is before you give the okay for them to begin working. This will ensure that the best repair method is used and might help alleviate the need to move or sacrifice expensive landscaping plants or deal with repairing the excavation site.