Cleaning Out Your Sewer Main Line

If something seems wrong with the sewer lines in your facility because backup is occurring or people are reporting dirty water or horrible odors, you may suspect a major problem. Things may not improve even after after plunging drains or attempting drain cleaning liquids to solve the issue. In that case, there's a rather good chance that the problem is located somewhere along your main line. The sewer main is not always reachable from inside the facility, so expert plumbers are needed. What can they do?

1. Deploy a Camera

Knowing that you've already attempted regular methods of drain cleaning, the plumbers are likely to deploy a sewer camera. That camera sits atop a flexible tube pushed deep down into the pipes. When the camera approaches whatever is blocking the line, a seasoned plumber's eye can glean enough information to determine what the specific issue is and what happens next.

2. Herbicide Spraying

At times, old sewer lines are disturbed by pressure of growing tree or shrub roots. Plumbers will spot this in the camera and set about killing the problematic root portions that are too close or inside the line. Afterwards, they will replace the infiltrated piping; this is likely to be somewhat time-consuming, as soil might need to be excavated, but you should not have a recurrence of the problem.

3. Flushing or Scouring

Many times whatever's causing the block can be forced away with a strong, pressurized jet of water through the line. In theory, the force of the water pushing on the blockage will move it down the line until it's no longer trouble-causing. Sometimes an ice slurry is used.

Scouring, a similar method using air rather than water, is used when it's important that liquids don't get everywhere. It can be neater than flushing.

4. Swabbing

You might know your water supply contains various individual minerals like calcium and other materials that make water "hard" or increase the chances of buildup. As a result, your facility may already have filtration systems in place for improved odor and taste. However, it's unlikely that there's a filter in the main line, and those materials can build up to a point where they block the line altogether. Plumbers may recommend that swabbing is vital. Swabbing involves a swab or spoon attached to a tube; plumbers will use the tool to scrub pipe walls and push materials out of the way, usually with the help of water.

Your facility's main line will be clearer after these actions. Plumbers will speak with you about more ways to keep the line safe and clean going forward.