A sewer line lateral, also known as a sewer lateral or simply lateral, is the pipe section connecting a property’s plumbing system to the main sewer line in the street or a nearby sewer access point. The purpose of a sewer line lateral is to transport wastewater and sewage from the property’s plumbing system to the main sewer line or septic system for proper treatment or disposal. The lateral typically runs underground and is responsible for carrying out all of the wastewater generated by the property, including from your sinks, toilets, showers, and other plumbing fixtures.
Sewer line laterals are an essential component of a property’s plumbing system. They must get properly installed and maintained to prevent blockages, leaks, and other issues leading to costly repairs and environmental hazards.
Older Homes Are The Most At Risk
Newer homes don’t have to worry much about your sewer line, but with older homes, our sewer line can spark some concern. It’s not uncommon for us to see a sewer line break under our roadways and, in some cases, turning into sinkholes. What that tells us is that our pipe wears out. The other day we received a notice from a company that will provide insurance for your sewer line connected to the street. That means there is a market for sewer line replacements, and insurance companies see the need.
Some homeowners think the sewer pipe connected to the street is the city’s responsibility. The property owner is responsible for the lateral sewer pipe that’s connected to the city sewer main, even if the connection passes the property line or on an easement.
What Is Lateral Sewer Line Made Of?
Lateral lines, also known as sewer laterals, typically get made of materials such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride), cast iron, or clay. The choice of material depends on various factors, such as the local building codes, the soil conditions, the size of the lateral line, and the expected traffic load.
The Most Common Pipe Used Today Is PVC
PVC is a common material for lateral lines because it is lightweight, easy to install, and resistant to corrosion and root intrusion. Cast iron is another common durable and long-lasting material, but it is heavier and more expensive than PVC. Clay pipes were also used for sewer laterals, especially in older homes, but due to their susceptibility to cracking and breaking but other more reliable pipes have replaced them.
The choice of material for a lateral line also depends on the local building codes and regulations. For example, some areas may require specific materials for sewer laterals to ensure they meet certain standards for safety and durability. Therefore, consulting a licensed plumbing contractor or building inspector is important to determine the appropriate material for your lateral line.
For A Break Beyond The Property Line, Call Your City’s Sewer Emergency Line
If your sewer line starts leaking, a licensed plumbing contractor can inspect your sewer main for breaks or cracks by inserting a video camera down the pipe. However, if you have a broken pipe, the homeowner must repair the sewer pipe if it lies between the house and the property line. If your plumbing technician finds that the compromised pipe is beyond the property line, then they should call the City’s Sewer Emergency Line. In most cases, an inspection could get completed shortly after the call, but it could take up to 24 hours.
Maintaining Your Lateral Sewer Line Is Your Responsibility
If you’re in the process of buying a home, it’s a good idea to have your lateral sewer line inspected by a licensed plumbing contractor. According to the City of San Diego, roots and cooking grease are the leading cause of public and private sewer spills. Maintaining your lateral sewer line is your responsibility. Keeping it clean and open can save a property owner significant money.
Ways To Eliminate A Broken Lateral Sewer Line
- Freeze grease in a disposable container and throw it in the trash. Never through grease down the drain.
- You can dispose of large amounts of grease at a landfill recycling center.
- Never throw the following down your toilet: diaper wipes, cleaning rags, sanitary napkins, food, and tampons.
- If you’re having problems with root infestation, call your plumbing professional. Hydro jetting can remove roots.
- Flush your sewer lateral at least once a year through your cleanout with a high-pressure hose.
If you have a broken sewer line, call the experts at Big B’s Plumbing. We have you covered with fast, reliable service.
What Are The Best Methods Of Replacing A Broken Sewer Lateral?
The best method of repairing a broken sewer line depends on several factors, such as the location and extent of the damage, the age of the pipes, and the soil conditions. Here are some of the most common methods of repairing a broken sewer line:
- Pipelining: This method involves inserting a flexible liner coated with resin into the damaged pipe and inflating it to create a new, seamless pipe within the old one. Once the resin cures, the liner hardens and forms a durable new pipe lasting several decades.
- Pipe bursting: This method involves breaking the damaged pipe apart and pulling a new pipe through the space created by the old pipe. Typically the new pipe materials such as PVC or HDPE (high-density polyethylene), which resist corrosion and root intrusion.
- Excavation: Sometimes, the only way to repair a broken sewer line is to excavate the damaged section and replace it. While this method is more invasive and costly than the other methods, it may be necessary. Especially if the damage is extensive or the pipes are old and deteriorated.
- Spot repair: We use this procedure to repair small sections of a damaged pipe, such as cracks or holes. It involves cutting out the damaged section and replacing it with a new section of pipe.
Consult with a licensed plumber or sewer repair specialist to determine the best method of repairing a broken sewer line for your specific situation. They can assess the damage and recommend the most appropriate and cost-effective solution. Big B’s Plumbing #986152