There are a few common reasons for sewer clogs.  This article is written to help the homeowner to have a better grasp of why their side sewer clogs and possible remedies. These remedies can range from a minor fix to major repair and replacement.

Pipe Collapse

Pipe collapse can stem from defective pipe manufacture, as is the case with Orangeburg pipe, to the weakening of the pipe structure from sewer gasses, earth and soil weights, and tree root strangulation. Heavy weights from above can collapse sewer pipes. Vehicles passing over shallow side sewer lines can lead to pipe collapse as well.

One of the main issues with pipe collapse, both financially and a timely repair, is the pipe must be replaced where the pipe lays.  You can’t root a collapsed sewer pipe and you certainly can’t line one.  (This is referring to total pipe collapse and not simply a small piece of the pipe that has broken off).

Sanitary Side Sewer Spot Repair

If the collapse is in a single spot and not along the sewers entire length, then the bad section of the original pipe is replaced that has collapsed.  This is referred to as a spot repair.

Full Sanitary Side Sewer Replacement

More substantial sewerline replacement repairs are required when the sewer itself has failed.  Instances of these types of failure include defective Orangeburg pipe, pipe joints that have disintegrated, aging pipe that has weakened over time and the walls have thinned or the pipe has broken in places and let rocks and soils into the pipe effectively blocking off the flow of effluent.

Tree Root Intrusion

Tree root intrusion is one of the more common complaints for sewer pipe clogging in your side sewer.  This is an issue that can become a real headache as the tree’s root system is constantly seeking out moisture and nourishment for the tree to continue to thrive.

Tree roots have tremendous strength and can collapse a side sewer line with ease through root strangulation and root intrusions.  There are a couple of different ways a tree’s roots can enter your side sewer system.  These are through pipe connections and thinning pipe walls as discussed next.

Thinning Side Sewer Pipe Walls

The thinning of side sewer pipe walls can happen with corrosive sewer gasses eating away at the upper portion of the sewer pipe walls.  These gases are constantly corroding your side sewer lines 24/7.

Another type of thinning has to do with cleaning your side sewer lines or ‘rooting’ your sewer lines when the sewer is made from Orangeburg pipe.  Orangeburg pipe is considered an inadequate sewer pipe material to begin with, and stands literally no chance against the destructive force from tree roots.

Each time the homeowner ‘root’s their Orangeburg sewer pipes, the root cutters eat away at the already suspect Orangeburg pipe walls and thins them.  Eventually the sewer pipe collapses and soils and rock enter the pipe or block it off completely, thereby necessitating a full side sewer repair.

Disintegrating Side Sewer Pipe Connections and Fittings

Clay and concrete disintegrating side sewer pipe connections and fittings are the weak spot for use in side sewer lines.  The pipe connections are made from using mortar and simple erodes over time.  With this erosion, rocks and dirt enter the pipe can cause clogging issues.

Tree roots also sense these weak and leaking connections and enter the side sewer through these leaking connections as the tree seeks out moisture.  Quite a few times the pipe is still quite ‘sound’ but the mortar connections are what causes the line to ultimately fail.  This is due to the mortar connection reaching the end of its service life.