Sewer lines are necessary evils. The dirty deeds they perform — transporting the roughly 34 billion gallons of wastewater that treatment centers see every day — allow us to stay clean and free from the mess that we all experience on a daily basis. If we’re lucky, we can go our entire lives without encountering a problem; however, life tends to happen. Maybe that big tree in your backyard decided to spread its roots just a little too far, or maybe your three-year-old got toilet paper happy and flushed four rolls while you were making dinner. Either way, the result is the same: you’ve got a problem and you don’t know where it’s originating from.
An (Almost) All-Seeing Eye
If the signs have arisen, especially in the form of a particularly unpleasant smell or backyard flooding, your local sewer specialists will come out to perform camera inspections. Armed with a video camera on the end of a flexible cable, they’ll gain access to your main sewer line to get an idea of what the problem may be. They’ll help manage the following problems:
- Locate lines: Having a camera under the ground doesn’t really matter if you locate the problem but don’t know where to dig. To ensure you’re at the right spot, sewer cameras send out unique signals that can be read using a device above ground.
- Find drainage and stoppage issues. The main (and most useful) benefit is discovering why you’re having sewer problems. These issues are related to blockages — usually caused by improper flushing — or breaks; if tree roots or mud penetrate the line, sewer repair will be needed to patch it up.
- Locate the connections. Sewer line inspections using a camera allow specialists to get an understanding of your layout: where and how fittings, tees, and joints interact with each other.
Despite having an eye underground and in the thick of it, camera inspections have limitations. Though they may point in the direction of a leak, camera inspections alone cannot determine, with absolute certainty, that a leak is occurring. Since they are unable to see the outside of the pipes, it is simply impossible to tell if water is leaking through.
In short, sewer line camera inspections are a great way to point to a problem and get you started on the path to sewer repair.