The sewer line is an essential component of your home’s plumbing system, responsible for carrying wastewater away from your property. A broken sewer line can lead to costly repairs and potential health hazards if not addressed promptly. In this guide, we’ll discuss signs that indicate a broken sewer line, potential causes, and steps you can take to confirm and address the issue.

Signs of a Broken Sewer Line

Foul Odors: Unpleasant sewage odors in and around your property are often the first sign of a sewer line issue. If you notice a persistent smell of sewage or rotten eggs, it’s a clear indicator that something might be wrong.

Slow Drains: If multiple drains Residential plumbe in your home are draining slowly or gurgling when water is emptied, it could be due to a blockage or breakage in the sewer line causing water to back up.

Soggy Yard: A sewer line leak can saturate the soil in your yard, leading to areas that are consistently damp, mushy, or sinking. Keep an eye out for unexpected pools of water in your lawn.

Foundation Cracks: A broken sewer line can erode the soil around your home’s foundation, leading to cracks in walls and floors. If you notice new cracks appearing, it might be a sign of sewer line damage.

High Water Bills: An unexpected increase in your water bill could indicate a leak in the sewer line, as water is continuously being lost through the breakage.

Rodent and Pest Activity: Rats and insects are attracted to sewage, so an increase in rodent or pest activity around your property might be a sign of a broken sewer line.

Backup in Toilets and Drains: If sewage or wastewater backs up into your toilets, tubs, or sinks, it’s a strong indicator of a severe sewer line blockage or breakage.

Confirming a Broken Sewer Line

While the signs mentioned above might suggest a broken sewer line, it’s important to confirm the issue before taking any further action.

Camera Inspection: Professional plumbers can use specialized cameras to inspect the sewer line’s interior. This non-invasive method Sewer clean out allows them to identify the exact location and extent of the damage.

Smoke Testing: A smoke test involves releasing non-toxic smoke into the sewer system and observing if any smoke escapes from the ground. This method helps pinpoint cracks or leaks in the sewer line.

Dye Testing: Dye can be introduced into the plumbing system to trace the path of wastewater. If the dye appears in unexpected areas, it’s a clear indication of a sewer line issue.

Hydrostatic Pressure Test: This test involves blocking the sewer line’s exit and filling it with water to check for leaks. A drop in water level indicates a breakage in the line.

Addressing a Broken Sewer Line

Once you’ve confirmed a broken sewer line, it’s crucial to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage and health risks.

Hire a Professional: Repairing a sewer line is a complex task that requires professional expertise. Seek out licensed plumbers with experience in sewer line repair.

Repair or Replace: Depending on the severity of the damage, your plumber will recommend either repairing the affected section or replacing the entire sewer line. Factors such as the age of the pipe and the extent of the damage will influence this decision.

Trenchless Repair: Trenchless methods, such as pipe lining or pipe bursting, can minimize the disruption to your property by avoiding extensive excavation.

Regular Maintenance: To prevent future sewer line issues, consider scheduling regular professional inspections and drain cleanings. Avoid flushing items that can clog the system, such as wipes, grease, and feminine hygiene products.


A broken sewer line can lead to significant problems, both for your property and your health. By recognizing the signs of a broken sewer line and taking prompt action to confirm and address the issue, you can prevent costly repairs and maintain the functionality of your plumbing system. Remember, hiring a professional plumber for inspections, repairs, and maintenance is crucial for ensuring the longevity of your sewer line and the overall well-being of your home.