Sewage Damage Causes and Prevention

Causes of Sewage Backup

Any drain backup can be the result of the buildup of debris including soap, grease, food waste and other household products.

Even items that are not designed for sewer disposal can easily be flushed into the system through the toilet where they become lodged in the line. This can include facial tissue, baby wipes, and other household paper products. Backed up lines are often the result of high use in bathrooms and kitchens.

Root Growth

Bush and tree roots are constantly seeking out any moisture underground. In fact, they have a natural attraction to sewer lines because of their water content.

A tree’s root system is powerful enough to make its way between the pipe joints and into the system. Over time as the roots expand and grow, the interior of the sewer pipe will eventually be filled with enough roots to decrease flow and possibly collapse the line.

A Sewer Pipe Belly

If the home’s sewer line was improperly installed, leaking water can cause the intrusion of a root system to grow above a pipe. Over time, the downward force of the roots can cause the pipe to bend, creating a ‘belly’ or sag in the line. This sewer pipe belly will become weak, as well as easily trap standing waste water.

Over time, this problem leads to an offset or collapsed pipe that creates a permanent blockage.

Ground Shifting

Collapsed and offset pipes can often be the result of shifting ground due to poor installation. Once the line collapses or becomes offset, it is permanently disabled, causing a catastrophic failure in the sewer pipe.

Aging Pipes

Many older homes have sewer lines constructed out of clay and other materials, including compressed tar paper. Over time, the pipe can easily lose its structural integrity, which is often the result of continuous exposure to water and moisture. Eventually, the pipe will collapse and cause a catastrophic failure that requires extensive repair or replacement.

Any time there is a drain backup in the home, it is imperative to get the waste water in the sewer pipes flowing again. There is a variety of options to accomplish that, including drain and rooter cleaning, along with hydro jetting solutions.

A backed-up drain line can be a stressful situation and one that causes hazardous problems. However, there are numerous solutions available to get the waste water flowing again.

Sewage Overflow from Flooding

A municipal overflow can lead to sewage backups in your basement. Heavy flooding or backups in the municipal system are potential contributors to this problem.

Preventing Sewage Damage

While you cannot prevent floods or problems at the municipal waste treatment plan, there are several things you can do to prevent sewage damage in your home.

  • Install a sump pump in your basement. This pump automatically kicks on when water reaches a certain sensor point and drains excess liquids outdoors.
  • If you have a septic tank system, have it pumped regularly to prevent backups.
  • Don’t throw clog hazards into your drains such as oil or feminine products. These can reduce or stop water flow and lead to sewage backups in your home.
  • Clean and clear pipe lines as a preventative measure to help with water flow, reducing your risk of sewage backup.


If your sewage line has caused a backup in your home, don’t hesitate. Call Tidal Wave Response for 24-hour sewage damage emergency services!