Identifying a Sewer Leak

Man with wrenchProperty owners and residents do not always find themselves in the best possible position to accurately identify a sewer leak. However, certain warning signs may alert them to suspect a problem exists.

Some possible indications of a sewer leak include the detection of foul odors. Indoors or outside the residence, the foul smell of decaying sewage may indicate the presence of a sewer leak. For instance, if a drain in the home emits foul odors, the source of the problem should be checked. A plumber can perform tests to determine whether or not the odors result from a sewage leak.

Additionally, in some rural locations especially, wastewater lines may flow close to water systems. Water that flows from the tap but appears discolored, very turbid or foul smelling could be an indication of possible contamination. If tap water appears different suddenly, it remains important to notify the water utility immediately.

What Are the Dangers of a Sewer Leak?

Sewer leaks can be both unpleasant and unsanitary. In addition to pathogens, sewers in some cases give rise to sewer gas, a noxious mix of gases produced by decaying material. Although the composition of sewer gas may vary, it can potentially contain hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, very toxic components. Methane, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, gasoline and even industrial solvents have been known to be present in sewer gas, in some circumstances.

If a resident notices symptoms such as a headache, nausea, or other discomfort, this could be a sign of odorless toxic gas seeping into the premises. Sewer lines usually smell very bad, but sometimes toxic odorless gases such as carbon dioxide or methane can accumulate within sewage lines. This situation constitutes an emergency and it is important to vacate the premises without turning on electrical appliances (which could spark) or lighting any matches or cigarette lighters. Contact the fire department from a secure location.

What are the Causes of a Sewer Leak?

Many possible causes can produce a sewer leak. These range from plant roots clogging a septic tank, to seismic damage breaking a sewer line. In some older municipal water systems, overflowing storm drains can actually clog sewer lines (although this situation is rare in the modern era). The best course of action is to check out possible problems by calling a trained plumbing professional to investigate any unusual plumbing or drainage situations.

Do you suspect a sewer leak in or around your Indianapolis home? Let us get to the root of the problem! Contact the experts of Indiana Leak Detection now at (317) 449-2780

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