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What’s That Smell?

female holding her noise from the awful smell of a sewage backup in their house

A sewage backup is never a pleasant thing to experience. Beyond the smell it brings, it can cause serious damage that is difficult and expensive to repair – it can also create health hazards. Sewage water can contain plenty of nasty contaminants including bacteria, viruses, fungus, pesticides, and other microorganisms. The risk of a sewer backup increases if your home has a basement or if the ground floor is less than a foot above street level.

There many things that can cause a sewer line to back up – some of which are uncontrollable yet many are easily preventable.

Causes of Sewer Backups

  • Tree Roots – Roots from trees and other large plants seeking moisture can find their way into sewer line cracks. As the roots continue to grow, they can cause blockages or travel a long way into the pipes. Tree roots are the primary cause for clogged sewer lines, especially in older homes. Slow flowing drains and gurgling noises from your toilets are first signs that your sewer system has been invaded by tree roots.
  • Sanitary Main – Blockages can occur in the city’s sanitary main. Sewage from the main can back up into nearby homes through floor drains. This type of blockage often happens slowly, giving you time to call Bradley Mechanical.
  • Combined Pipelines – Some systems combine storm water and sewage into the same pipeline. During heavy rains, the system is exposed to more water volume than it can handle resulting in a sewage backup.

Ways to Prevent Sewer Backups

  • Dispose of Paper Products Properly – Paper towels, disposable diapers, and feminine products do not deteriorate quickly like bathroom tissue does. If flushed down a drain they can cause many problems to your lateral (pipe that transports water from your home to the city sanitary main at the street) as well as the city main.
  • Dispose of Grease Properly – Grease poured down the drain can cool off and eventually solidify in the drain, the lateral pipe, or main sewer creating a clog. Pour grease into a heat-resistant container and dispose of properly.
  • Install a Backwater Prevention Valve – A backwater valve (sometimes referred to as a backflow or sewer backup valve) is precisely named. It is a fixture installed into a sewer line in your basement that prevents sewer backflows. It will allow sewage to flow out but not back in. They can be installed during new construction or retrofitted into an existing home.
  • Seal Your Foundation – Seal any cracks in your foundation and waterproof your basement. If your foundation is compromised, it could affect nearby sewer lines.
  • Replace Your Sewer Line With Plastic Pipes – Plastic piping can help prevent infiltration from tree and bush roots.

Bradley Mechanical is Central Virginia’s plumbing expert and has been for over 50 years. We will respond quickly and help repair your water or sewer lines. If you are currently experiencing a plumbing emergency, call us immediately at (804) 748-6728. Our emergency plumbing services can help you in your time of need and get back on your feet again.