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Sewer Scope Inspection

What is a sewer scope inspection?

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 the home’s lateral sewer pipe recording a video to determine if the pipe is functioning as intended. The goal is to discover and report any problems observed 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:

  • Sewage leaking out of the pipe
  • A partial blockage causing temporary backups
  • A complete blockage causing a backup into your yard or home

When should you get one?

Every home whether new or old has the potential for having problems with the lateral sewer pipe. The pipe is not visible, consequently unless you have a slow drain or backup into the home you cannot know there is a problem without a sewer scope inspection. Some homes have greater potential for problems with the sewer pipe:

  • Homes built before 1980 can have 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).
  • 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 lateral sewer pipe are:

  • Improper installation or backfill
  • Ground movement causing pipe damage
  • Root intrusion through separated or damaged pipe
  • Older pipe material that is at the end of its life expectancy and is deteriorated
  • 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
sewer scope reveals root intrusion

Root intrusion partially blocking

Sewer scope performed through yard cleanout

Exterior cleanout in the yard