Sewer or Septic Main Drain Line Replacement Procedure

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Sewer or Septic drain line replacement procedure: beginning here, this article series describes in detail all of the steps in diagnosing & repairing or replacing a broken or damaged main drain between building and public sewer or building and septic tank, including when, where, how, and why a sewer pipe or "drain line" is replaced.

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

Diagnosing the Cause of a Blocked Building Drain or Sewer Line

Photograph of an overlowing toilet caused by a blocked building drain

Replacing a house to septic or sewer system with piping that runs from the building exterior to a septic tank located downhill from the home.

We present an actual case study, illustrated with photos of each step in the diagnosis and replacement of a blocked sewer line. The waste line in this case was found to be blocked, damaged, old, and needing replacement in the course of an attempt to clear a blocked drain between the house and septic tank. Technical reviewers are welcome and are listed at "References."


and see CLOGGED DRAIN DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR diagnosing septic backups and septic system failures versus clogged drains.

The first signs of a main building drain clog or breakage & leak problem

How to diagnose slow drains & toilet backups: The first signs of a drain problem was the report by our tenant that the toilet was slow to flush in the home.

Is the slow drain problem at a fixture, the whole building, or main drain? Following our own advice on diagnosing clogged drains and how to distinguish a clogged drain from a failed septic system (online at Diagnosing Clogged Drains & Septic System Backups we asked if all the drains in the home were slow or just the toilet.

The answer: all of the building plumbing fixture drains were slow. That tells us that the blockage is somewhere in the main building drain.

The toilet would show the most dramatic blockage because it sends a large sudden discharge volume of water and waste into the sewer line. We flushed the toilet and watched the water rise right up to the bowl brim. (If the toilet had begun to overflow we'd have reached inside the tank to manually close the tank flapper valve to stop the flush.)

Though not optimistic that it would make any difference, we tried plunging the toilet aggressively with a manual toilet plunger. It didn't help. Plunging the toilet made no difference. We already suspected a main drain or system problem (all drains were slow). So we needed a plumber to help with further diagnosis of the drain blockage. [Continue this article using the links shown below.]

This sewer line replacement article series is itself a chapter of SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION & MAINTENANCE COURSE an online book on septic systems.

Also see CLOGGED DRAIN DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR diagnosing septic backups and septic system failures versus clogged drains.

The details of this sewer line replacement article series are divided as shown just below:

Article Series Contents


Continue reading at WHEN to CALL a PLUMBER or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.


Or see SEWER / SEPTIC PIPE CAMERAS - find the point where digging is needed to repair a specific blockage or broken sewer line


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SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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