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​Your sewer service pipe carries wastewater from your home to the main sewer line located beneath the street or in the back lane. Problems with the service pipe may cause flooding and sewer backups if not dealt with properly. We provide a basic service to help diagnose drainage problems with your sewer service and help identify the corrective measures necessary for you to repair your service pipe.

Typical service pipe problems

Plugged internal plumbing

Drainage problems such as plugged sinks, bathtubs, floor drains and toilets that flush poorly are considered internal problems. Most of these cases can be diagnosed over the telephone. If the issue is isolated to one specific plumbing fixture you will need to contact a plumber.

Plugged or partially plugged service

Oversized objects may plug your sewer service causing water to backup through the floor drain. Some of the most common objects include rags, paper towels, baby/bathroom wipes, hair, underwear, grease buildup and children's toys. 

A fee will be charged if the blockage is caused by prohibited waste items regardless of where on the service line the blockage is located. This same service is also offered by private plumbers, but please note that EPCOR will not reimburse plumber's fees regardless of where the blockage is located.

Sagging

Sags are caused by failure of the pipe bedding on the bottom of the trench in which your sewer pipe was placed. This type of failure causes a section of the pipe to drop below the proper grade. Water remains trapped in the sag and solids suspended in the water tend to settle in the sag area.

Eventually, the collection of debris in the sag will cause a restriction in the pipe and a blockage may result. Sags can only be fixed by removing the affected area of pipe and regrading the trench bottom.

Collapsed or broken pipe

Small cracks in the sewer pipe may be tolerated provided they are not wide enough to allow backfill material to fall into the pipe. Cracked pipes may function for several years before corrective measures are necessary. However, a collapsed or broken section of pipe will allow backfill material to enter and plug the service. 

Replacing the collapsed portion of the pipe is the only viable option in this situation.

Restricted Access

In some homes, the main sanitary cleanout may be located in a crawl space or area with limited access. This is considered a space with "restricted access," so our service crews may not be able to perform sewer maintenance in a safe manner.

EPCOR safety standards prevent our service crews from investigating and potentially resolving issues that may be affecting your property if the space is smaller than 5ft in height and 4ft by 4ft in width. If you have been informed by the service crew that visited your home that access to your main sanitary cleanout is not possible adjustments to the cleanout may be required.

Examples of restricted access include:

  • Crawl spaces shorter than 5ft high
  • Crawl spaces smaller than 4ft by 4ft in area
  • Cleanouts located too close to other plumbing fixtures
  • Cleanouts located within or behind bathroom vanities
  • Cleanouts located behind built in cabinets and shelving units
  • Cleanouts located behind hot water tanks and furnaces
  • Cleanouts facing a wall or in the wrong direction