How Does Sewer Blockage Occur?

Clogged sewer lines occur primarily due to misuse. However, grease build up will create a clogged sewer over time. Just by virtue of washing dishes, grease will build up in the kitchen drain line or eventually in the sewer and create a blockage, causing the sewer to back up. Even if it is not grease build up, there are other ways for sewer blockage to occur. See 'Root Intrusion'. And see our post on how the washing machine changed the sewer and drain cleaning industry.

Clogged sewer lines can also appear to be a residential problem when in fact they are the fault of a main city sewer line blockage. Home and business owners are innocently duped into calling a sewer and drain cleaning company to clear the blockage. Occasionally the sewer and drain cleaning company will have the means to clear the blockage and will be able to document where the blockage was. If the customer files a claim with the city and the sewer and drain cleaning company has latitude to restore flow to clogged city sewer lines, the claim will be honored and monies reimbursed.

A clogged sewer on the city main acts much the same as a residential or business clogged sewer, except the sewage being received in the back up to your home or business is sewage from up stream in the city sewer. To prevent having city main line sewage back up to your home or business a back water valve can be installed.


The city of Riverside California submitted a video to YouTube in hopes of prompting the already 'green' conscience community to desist or at least, curb the habit of flushing non-flushable items down the toilet. When a plumber, sewer or drain cleaner says the words "non-flushable", he is speaking of anything other than human waste and toilet paper. Manufacturers get a way with using the word "flushable" in marketing their product due to the fact, many items will flush passed the trap of a toilet. Toto toilets have a marketing campaign that says their toilet will flush twelve golf balls. Ok. Twelve golf balls may go down the toilet, but what will they do to your sewer line?

The following video took place in a laboratory to demonstrate what will break up in the turbulence of the vortex created by your toilet when flushed.

At the beginning of the video, notice the pile of grey mat consisting of "flushable wipes". Though this is not a sewer line, these wipes will build a blockage in your sanitary and sewer lines in the same manner as you see in the video above. When a blockage gets this bad, it is very difficult to clear the sewer with a sewer snake or cable. Bet you want to know how to fix a clogged sewer when it happens. Well, if you see stuff that looks like the mat of flushable wipes, depending on how impacted the sewer backup is, the sewer may need to be flushed with high pressure water jetting. Snaking a sewer line will generally create some flow or may even clear the entire line. However, sewer snaking alone will usually result in leaving heavy, sticky masses of sludge in the line. In time, your sewer will back up again, due to the inability of debris to move past this sludge. High pressure water jetting is the answer to ensuring a clean, free flowing sewer.


For those of you who insist on flushing wipes, there is a product on the market today called Tena disposable washcloths. Tena flushable wipes do break up in the vortex of the toilet and will not sit in the sewer to cause sewage to back up into your home.


At Anchor Sewer and Drain Cleaning, we want to work where we are needed . Our blog post are written with the intent of helping the consumer, home owner and business owner help themselves. We are here when you need us. Call us in S. E. Massachusetts or Rhode Island.

Diagnosing and fixing the drainage problem for a sink, shower or tube may be a long and difficult process. Be safe. If fixing the issue is something that is risky or not being understood, contact a drain service company. The range of pricing for a company who cares to do the job correctly is within $145.00 - $225.00. This depends on material used in piping, age of the house which would help the plumber understand the plumbing code that was used in assembling the plumbing system, access to the plumbing and what is assumed to be creating the blockage.