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Sewer Scope Inspection

What is a sewer scope inspection?

Sewer scope performed through yard cleanout

Exterior cleanout in the yard

A sewer scope inspection is a video inspection of the lateral sewer line (referred to by plumbing codes as the “building sewer”) from the house at or near the foundation to the city sewer connection in the street or at the septic tank. A trained professional inspector pushes a camera through a clean out (access point) in the building’s sewer pipe recording a video to determine if the pipe is functioning as intended. The goal is to discover and report any blockage or problems that can lead to a blockage or pipe failure. When a pipe is improperly installed, becomes damaged, or small items find their way down the toilet it can lead to larger problems such as:

  • Waste water leaking out of the pipe
  • A partial blockage causing temporary backups
  • A complete blockage causing a backup into your yard or home
Sewer pipe root intrusion

Root intrusion blocking sewer pipe

Sewer scope inspection root intrusion

Root intrusion not blocking sewer pipe

When should you get one?

Every home whether new or old has the potential for having problems with the building sewer pipe. It is difficult to know if there is a problem with the sewer pipe without a sewer scope inspection. The older the home the greater the potential for problems with an aging sewer pipe:

  • New or newly remodeled homes can have construction debris in the pipe that can cause a blockage or the pipe can be improperly installed.
  • Homes built before 1980 can have aging outdated sewer pipe materials that are near or at the end of their life and deteriorating. Materials such as clay, concrete, cast iron, asbestos cement (aka Transite), or bituminous fiber pipe (aka Orangeburg).
  • Older homes can be nicely remodeled and look great, but the building sewer pipe has not been updated or inspected.
  • Trees growing between the home and the sewer/septic connection can lead to root intrusion into the pipe.
  • If you are an existing home owner and have never had a sewer scope performed. This can help identify any potential problems before they become a major concern.

What are some of the common causes of pipe damage or blockage?

Some of the things that can cause blockage or damage to the building sewer pipe are:

  • Improper installation or backfill
  • Ground movement causing pipe damage
  • Root intrusion through separated or damaged pipe
  • Driving over the sewer pipe with heavy vehicles or machinery causing damage
  • Household items placed in the toilet and flushed
  • Cooking grease poured into the sink drain

Hole in the sewer pipe bottom

Crack in the sewer pipe top