You are currently viewing Common Causes of Sewer Line Blockages and How to Avoid Them

Common Causes of Sewer Line Blockages and How to Avoid Them

Sewer line blockages can be a major inconvenience, causing backups, foul odors, and potential damage to your property. Understanding the common causes of sewer line blockages and taking preventive measures can help you avoid costly repairs and maintain the proper functioning of your sewer system. In this detailed blog post, we’ll explore the most common causes of sewer line blockages and provide practical tips on how to prevent them.

Tree Roots


Invasive Growth: Tree roots are attracted to sources of moisture and nutrients, including sewer lines.

Cracks and Joints: Roots can infiltrate sewer lines through small cracks, loose joints, or damaged sections of pipes.


Regular Maintenance: Schedule annual sewer inspections and maintenance to identify and address root intrusion before it causes blockages.

Root Barriers: Install physical or chemical root barriers near sewer lines to deter root growth towards the pipes.

Strategic Planting: Avoid planting trees and shrubs with aggressive root systems near sewer lines.

Grease and Oil Buildup


Improper Disposal: Pouring grease, oil, and fat down drains leads to the accumulation of these substances inside sewer lines.

Solidification: Grease and oil solidify as they cool, forming stubborn clogs that obstruct the flow of wastewater.


Proper Disposal: Collect grease, oil, and fat in a container and dispose of them in the trash rather than pouring them down drains.

Use Strainers: Install drain strainers in sinks to catch food particles and prevent them from contributing to grease buildup.

Regular Cleaning: Routinely clean drains with a mixture of hot water and vinegar or a commercial drain cleaner to prevent grease buildup.

Foreign Objects


Accidental Flushing: Flushing non-biodegradable items such as wipes, sanitary products, paper towels, and dental floss down toilets.

Accumulation: Over time, these foreign objects can accumulate and form blockages in sewer lines.


Educate Residents: Inform household members and employees about what should and should not be flushed down toilets and drains.

Trash Bins: Provide clearly marked trash bins in bathrooms and kitchens for the disposal of non-biodegradable items.

Regular Inspections: Conduct periodic inspections of sewer lines to identify and remove any foreign objects before they cause blockages.

Collapsed Pipes


Aging Infrastructure: Over time, sewer pipes may deteriorate, corrode, or become damaged due to shifting soil, ground settlement, or construction activities.

Heavy Pressure: The weight of vehicles, heavy machinery, or structures above ground can exert pressure on sewer lines, leading to collapse.


Regular Inspections: Schedule professional inspections using video camera technology to detect signs of pipe deterioration or damage.

Timely Repairs: Promptly repair any cracks, leaks, or structural issues identified during inspections to prevent further damage.

Avoid Heavy Loads: Minimize heavy traffic or construction activities above areas where sewer lines are located to reduce the risk of pipe collapse.

Improper Slope or Gradient


Poor Installation: Sewer lines must be installed with the correct slope or gradient to ensure proper drainage and flow of wastewater.

Sediment Accumulation: Incorrect slope can cause sediment and debris to accumulate in low points, leading to blockages.


Professional Installation: Hire experienced sewer contractors to properly design and install sewer lines with the appropriate slope.

Regular Maintenance: Periodically inspect sewer lines to ensure that they maintain the correct slope and address any sediment buildup promptly.

Hydro Jetting: Use hydro jetting equipment to clear sediment and debris from sewer lines and restore proper flow.

Corrosion and Degradation


Chemical Reactions: Chemicals present in wastewater, soil, or groundwater can cause corrosion and degradation of sewer pipes over time.

Material Wear: Aging pipes made of materials such as cast iron, clay, or concrete may deteriorate due to natural wear and tear.


Material Selection: Consider using modern, corrosion-resistant materials such as PVC, HDPE, or ABS for sewer pipe replacement or installation.

Regular Inspections: Monitor the condition of sewer pipes through regular inspections and address any signs of corrosion or degradation promptly.

Protective Coatings: Apply protective coatings or linings to existing sewer pipes to extend their lifespan and prevent further corrosion.


Sewer line blockages can result in costly repairs, property damage, and health hazards if left untreated. By understanding the common causes of sewer line blockages and implementing preventive measures, property owners can minimize the risk of blockages and maintain the proper functioning of their sewer systems. Whether through regular maintenance, proper disposal practices, or professional inspections, taking proactive steps to prevent sewer line blockages can save time, money, and headaches in the long run. Remember, a little prevention now can prevent a major headache later.