Everything You Need To Know About Sewer Line Repair And Replacement


Your sewer line runs from all your appliances across your property and into the main sewer. From here, waste is carried away to the treatment plant where it is processed, cleaned, and sent back to your homes. What most people don’t appreciate is that the responsibility for maintaining and repairing the sewer line is yours.

The sewer pipe that runs under your yard is your responsibility, the water board only take over when the pipe connects to the main sewer pipe under the road. 

Bathroom with designed bath tub, mirror and sink
Used with permission of Melanie Gowen

That’s why you need to know about sewer line repair and replacement.

Invest In A Camera

The first thing you should do is invest in a good quality pipe inspection camera. These are small cameras attached to a cable and usually on wheels. They can be slid inside a waste pipe and will send live feedback to you, allowing you to watch the camera’s progress. The aim is to locate any issues in the pipes, such as damage or blockages.

By investing in a camera today you can pre-empt issues in your sewer pipes. Simply inspect them regularly for signs of clogs starting or any damage. Of course, if you experience an issue with the pipes then you can use the camera to locate the issue.

It should be noted the camera is not a tool for clearing a blockage, it simply helps you locate the issue and verify it has gone.

Repairing A Sewer Line

Used with permission of Patterson Custom Homes, Brandon Architects and photographer Darlene Halaby

A repair is the cheapest and simplest way of dealing with sewer line issues. There are actually two options available o you, depending on the level of damage to your sewer pipes.

1. Add A Lining

Once you’ve run your camera through and found out the pipe has minor damage, such as cracking, you’ll be pleased to learn that it’s possible to repair it without digging it up.

This is usually a job done by the professionals. An inflatable liner is fed into the sewer pipe and pushed along until it reaches the designated area. The liner is then inflated. This pushes the epoxy backing against the walls of your sewer pipe.

The epoxy bonds and effectively replaces the inside of your pipe for you. This type of repair can last for years.

2. Specialist Bursting Technique

If the sewer pipe damage is more serious then you may need to have bursting done. This is where a special machine is used. It is put inside your pipes and drills its way through the damaged section. This destroys the existing pipe. The tool pulls a new pipe behind it, allowing the destroyed pipe to be replaced almost effortlessly.

This is something that needs to be done by the professionals and it is the most expensive option. But, it is also relatively quick and causes very little inconvenience.

Standard Replacement

Mirror and sink in bathroom
Used with permission of Melanie Gowen

In the past, this was the only option and it is still a valid option today. The standard approach was to simply dig the pipe up and replace it. Thanks to the camera you’ll know exactly where to dig and how much pipe to replace.

You should already know where your sewer pipe runs. If not, the detail should be on your house plans. Digging is best done with a mini-digger, allowing you to gently work your way down to pipe level. Of course, you’ll have to clear space around the pipe, this will allow you to cut out the damaged section and replace it with a new one.

It’s time-consuming, messy, but potentially the cheapest option and certainly the easiest if you are doing the work yourself.


It is worth spending a few moments assessing how the damage to your sewer pipe has occurred. In some cases it is simply old age, other times it is a particular object that has damaged the pipe.

If it’s old age then you may need to consider replacing all the sewer pipes as it will only be a matter of time before you have another, similar, issue.

However, one of the most common reasons for pipe damage is actually tree roots. These spread out from the tree in search of nutrition and water, your sewer pipe offers both.

If this is the cause then replacing or repairing the pipe will only be a temporary fix as the tree roots will break it again. You’ll need to deal with the tree. This could mean chopping it down or getting a specialist tree surgeon to trim the branches and the roots. Either option works, it costs more but it will protect your pipes in the future.

Thanks to all the companies linked above.


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