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What to Do if Your Sewer Line Backs up in Indiana

Over the summer months, the heavy rain from storms can sweep debris into the sewer pipes and overload the sewer with water. These conditions can cause flooding in the basement or a blockage in a home’s sewer line, leading to sewage backup and clogged drains.

Homeowners are left calling for emergency plumbing service to clear clogs and repair broken sewer lines. In the event of heavy summer storms, protect your drains, pipes, toilets, and the rest of your home’s plumbing system and prevent the damage that can result from a sewer pipe blockage with these tips. Williams Comfort Air is available to help on a moment’s notice should you discover the signs of a blocked sewer pipe. Call or contact us online for a plumber today!

What Is a Sewer Line Backup?

Sewer line backups are a common summertime plumbing problem. When the main shared sewer suffers a backup due to heavy rain and summer storms, water and waste start to flow in reverse. Normally, waste and wastewater exit the home after you flush toilets or take a shower, flowing through the home’s drain pipes and into the home’s main sewer line before emptying into shared municipal sewer lines that take waste to a local treatment facility.

When backups occur, waste and water from the shared sewer lines has no place to go because these pipes are overwhelmed, causing flow to return towards your home. The home’s main sewer pipe flows back into drain pipe branches throughout the home then out through drains across your household, whether they be bathroom fixture drains like a shower or toilet, the kitchen sink drain, or even a basement floor drain.

The backup that comes up through home drains will either be wastewater from the rain, or it could be sewage backup that brings actual human waste into the home. Whenever sewage is present due to backups, it poses a danger to everyone in your family. This human waste is a biohazard that emits physical and airborne contaminants into your living areas as well as vapors. Breathing in sewage fumes or particles can cause gastroenteritis or asthma-like respiratory symptoms. Your family may be exposed to harmful bacteria and viruses including E. coli, salmonella, hepatitis, and coronavirus.

Why Does the Sewer Back up After Rain?

Storms during the summer months can bring a great deal of rain. The large volume of water dumped on an area can overwhelm the local sewer system or a private septic tank on the property as it is tasked with removing the water all at once. As this water rushes into storm drains, it may bring debris such as broken limbs, leaves, and other natural materials which can clog the shared sewer pipes. In turn, these storm issues can cause sewer lines to back up in a household.

Summer stormy weather can also worsen sewer problems with tree roots. Extra rain can help tree roots grow rapidly, and they may work their way into nearby sewer pipes on the property. The tree roots penetrate pipes and then are able to continue to grow inside the line, causing the sewer pipe to become broken and blocked.

Signs of a Clogged Sewer Pipe

When there is a clog in your household sewer line, typically you will notice one or several of the signs this problem presents. Signs of a clogged sewer drain system include:

  • Slow drainage in the shower, toilets, and sinks in the bathroom or kitchen. 
  • Another drain backs up when you flush toilets or use a plumbing fixture.
  • Bubbling noises as you flush toilets or as the shower or sink drains. 
  • The smell of sewage backup, similar to rotten eggs or sulfur.
  • Lush, green spots in the yard above broken pipes or the septic tank. 

What to Do When You Have a Sewer Line Backup 

As mentioned, sewer backups can pose a danger to your family. If you see sewage backup coming from any of the drains in your home, call your plumber immediately for emergency sewer services. Keep your family away from affected areas and avoid all contact. Remove any clothing that has come into contact with sewage.

Shut off water going to drains throughout your home. Turn off sink faucets, do not use washing machines and dishwashers, and do not flush toilets. Do not use any plumbing fixtures, drains, or appliances in your home until repairs have been made to correct backups from your sewer pipes. If the sewage backup or water backup flows near electrical outlets, turn off the electricity to your home.

Emergency Sewer Service from a Plumber

When your plumber arrives for your emergency plumbing service appointment, the professional will first evaluate the situation affecting your plumbing system and sewer lines. If the backup was caused by storms and heavy rain, there aren’t any measures your plumber can make to stop these natural occurrences from happening again. However, if the condition of your sewer pipes contribute to the issue, it is possible for these issues to be repaired to lower the chances of a backup when the next storm hits.

If your plumber determines there is a blockage in the home’s main sewer line, the cause can be identified using specialized camera inspection equipment. A plumbing professional runs a camera down through the drain lines to find the location of the clog as well as what is causing it, whether it be penetrating tree roots or debris caught in the pipes. Various drain-clearing methods can be used to remove clogs from a sewer pipe depending on the clog material, such as hydro-jetting to scour the insides of the line or using a plumbing auger to bust through the clog so material can flow out to the sewer or be extracted from the drain.

If your sewer pipe has broken, due to tree roots, old age, or other causes, repair or replacement is necessary to prevent infiltration and restore the proper flow of waste out the home. The damaged pipe may be accessed by digging and the broken section of pipe replaced to make repairs. If the whole sewer line needs to be replaced, this plumbing service can be performed by trenching and removing the old pipes then installing a new line, or we can install a new sewer pipe right inside your existing damaged line using trenchless pipe bursting methods.

Cleanup After Sewage Backs up Through Your Drains

After sewage backup occurs, all contaminated areas need to be cleaned and sanitized to eliminate health risks to occupants. When you access the area, wear rubber boots or shoes with rubber soles as well as a face mask. Make sure to remove all clothing and footwear exposed to sewage afterwards.

  • Clean areas with flooding using a wet/dry vacuum to remove liquid and solid matter as well as excess water. 

  • Clean all solid surfaces with disinfectant.

  • Absorbent materials such as carpet, wood, drywall, and other building materials should be removed and properly disposed of. 

  • Open windows and doors, run fans and use dehumidifiers to remove moisture and dry out the areas to prevent mold growth.

  • If water or sewage has seeped into wall material, it may be necessary to remove wall panels to allow the area to dry out, which helps prevent future mold growth. 

  • For severe sewage backups, it may be necessary to contact a dedicated remediation contractor to remove the hazardous and damaged materials as well as make needed repairs to your home.

How to Prevent Sewer Line Backups

When a sewer line backs up from summer storms, homeowners may assume this is just the result of an unavoidable nature event. However, there are tips to use that help prevent a backup as well as damage to sewer pipes, whether you face flooding or not. Protect your plumbing pipes, drains, and fixtures when you enforce these care tips in your home.

  • Do not flush inappropriate items down toilets. Only toilet paper and human waste should go down the drain with a flush. Keep items like diapers, sanitary products, and even wipes branded as “flushable” out of your toilets. 

  • Avoid clogs by limiting the volume of waste put down your garbage disposal at once. Also, keep grease, fats, fibrous vegetables, and other inappropriate items out of your garbage disposal.

  • When planting trees on your property, notice the location of sewer lines prior to planting. Choose varieties that have a slow-growing root system to avoid blocked or broken pipes from tree roots. 

  • Have your plumber install a backflow preventer valve to protect your plumbing and sewer drain systems from backups. This device is installed on the main sewer line of the home and will prevent sewage backup through the home’s main drain line into toilets, basement drains, or the shower.

  • Replace aging sewer pipes before they become corroded or damaged, which makes them more likely to break. 

  • Call your plumber when you notice the first signs of sewer line clogs. Regular drain cleaning services work to remove debris and minor clogs that lead to a severe blockage or sewer backup when ignored.

Sewer Repair Service in Central Indiana 

If your sewer line backs up after a summer storm because of damaged pipes, or due to a severe clog, you need professional help right away. Williams Comfort Air provides emergency plumbing and sewer repair services for homeowners throughout the Central Indiana area. Whether a clog needs to be cleared or a new sewer pipe installed, our licensed Indiana plumbers tackle the job quickly and with the highest level of professionalism.

A sewer backup is a stressful situation for any homeowner – count on Williams Comfort Air to make the repairs needed, restoring your home to safe and healthy conditions. To schedule sewer repairs or request emergency services, contact us now.

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