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Mar 10
Does your home or business need a sewer scope inspection?

How Do I Know If I Need a Sewer Scope Inspection?

Most people experiencing sewer blockages and slow drainage assume that the source of their problem is simply due to debris. Many are surprised when they learn that their main sewer line has been compromised due to thick tree roots that have bent the piping out of shape. Prior to sewer remediation, the best course of action is to call on a sewer specialist to conduct a sewer scope inspection. 

(Note: Sewer Scopes also determine if your sewer line is connected to your municipal sewer system. If you live in the Greater Portland area, you can check to see if you are linked here.)


What is a Sewer Scope?

Using a snake cam, the contractor on site will locate a “clean out valve,” which is used to clean out or identify the debris that may be clogging your sewage line. Most valves can be found outside of the home, tucked away in the home’s sides or front lawn. However, with older homes, you may need to remove the toilet to access the sewer line. Once the entry point is located, the technician sets up the snake cam, which is connected to a reel. The components are also connected to an external monitor, which broadcasts what the camera sees as it travels down the sewer line.

When assessing the condition of your sewer lines, it is common for contractors to report that a tree root is growing on top, below, or beside your sewer line, causing breaks and shifts in water flow. This line break also flushes sewer water directly into the soil surrounding the root, which hydrates and encourages further growth. 


When Is a Sewer Scope Needed?

Bad Odors

Bad sewage odors usually indicate there is a problem within a sewer or septic system. Most odors originate from a leak in a sewer drain line that allows waste and bad smells to seep out. In some cases, bad odors indicate the settling of sewage within lines that could result from a clog. Either way, a camera inspection will reveal what problems could exist and how to eliminate odors.

The Home is Older Than 15 Years

The older the home, the more critical it is you get the pipes tested. It isn’t uncommon for older homes to have been built with clay or concrete pipes. And clay and concrete pipes are more susceptible to root intrusion. On the other hand, we have seen brand new construction fail sewer inspections. 

Slow Drain/Sewage Back-Up

If you are noticing slower drains, odds are there is an obstruction or blockage that is preventing wastewater from making its way to the sewer system. A more obvious sign is when you begin to notice sewage back up coming from your toilet, showers, and sinks. For more on when a sewer inspection is needed, feel free to read up on “When Do I Need a Sewer Inspection.”

Are you experiencing slow drains, bad odors, or back-ups? Chances are, you need a sewer scope inspection to find the source of your issues. Call on the professionals of Alpha Environmental to inspect and remedy your sewage and other environmental needs.

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Matthew Micheletty

About The Author

Matthew has been Alpha's Director of Operations for over four years. He works directly with our clients in effort to provide exceptional customer service as well as managing the day to day of the company. When he's not at the office, you can find him at Red Tail Golf Club or cruising PDX in one of his project cars.