Making it through an earthquake is an accomplishment in and of itself, but sometimes the danger isn't over just because the earth has stopped shaking. If it's a day or a few days later and you're noticing a distinct foul odor in your yard, or that sewage is visibly emerging from the ground, you likely have a big problem on your hands courtesy of that earthquake. Here's what's going on.
The problem is likely stemming from your sewer line. This is a large pipe that leads away from your house and goes out to the sewer entrance, which in most home developments is just a short distance away under the street. Most people don't give this pipe any thought, as it doesn't require any particular care or maintenance, but when something goes wrong with it, it can lead to sewage in your yard.
When the Earth Shifts
Sewer lines aren't intended to be flexible. They're made of a strong, stiff material like steel and copper that's intended to hold up potentially for decades without the need for replacement. However, this is exactly where the problem lies when an earthquake strikes. Since the pipe doesn't flex at all, if the earth shifts, it can change the angle of the pipe significantly. What was once a straight shot between your home and the sewer can become off-center, and if the earth's movement is severe enough, it can crack or break the pipe into pieces right where it lays.
When a sewer line is broken, it won't immediately show any signs of problems. Since the pipe is long, it can usually continue to fill with sewage from your home before it starts to back up in the yard. However, as long as that crack or break exists, sewage will start to seep out into your yard and will eventually saturate the ground to the point that it will come up out of the ground. It's a gross problem to have and one that demands an immediate fix.
What to Do
Unfortunately, in most situations, this type of problem requires getting a new sewer line. Small cracks in a sewer line can potentially be repaired, but it ultimately depends on the severity of the crack and the condition of the sewer line. If you have an old sewer line - meaning, if it's never been replaced since you've owned the home - it will most likely need a full replacement.
To have this done, contact a plumber. They'll make an appointment with you and will come out to run a camera down the pipe to locate the crack or break. Once it's confirmed that that's your problem, you'll schedule another appointment to have a new sewer line installed. Keep in mind that this will mean digging down to the sewer line, so expect to have your yard dug up for a day or two while the work is being completed.
Having a broken sewer line isn't something anyone wants to go through, but it happens nonetheless. Don't wait on this one, or the only thing you'll be facing is more sewage in your yard. Contact help today.Share
13 February 2020
Hi everyone, my name is Linda Strickerts. I am going to talk about plumbing pipes problems, repairs and upgrades on this site. Although the pipes hide beneath the floors and behind the walls, they are an integral part of the home. Without plumbing pipes, we would still be heading out to the outhouse to do our business. Washing clothes, dishes and ourselves would also not be possible without carrying buckets of water in and out of the home. I hope to explore the different ways plumbing pipes changed our lives for the better. I will talk about keeping the pipes in great shape as well. Thanks.