Chances are, you never think of your sewer line. Generally, that’s a good sign because it means that everything is working as it is supposed to. However, there are a few symptoms that indicate your sewer lines may not be in as good a shape as they should be.

Signs Your Sewer Line Could Be Broken

If you are wondering how to tell if a sewer line is broken, watch for one or more of the following clues.

Your Toilets Are Backing Up

Everyone experiences the occasional need to reacquaint yourself with the plunger. A child’s toy or too much paper can cause a toilet to stop draining or back up. However, if all your toilets start to have repeated difficulty when trying to flush, stop draining altogether, or overflow, that’s a sign of a bigger problem. If your toilets are draining, it’s your cue to call in a professional. 

Bad Odors

Your sewer lines are buried, so you may not see a problem before you smell one. Broken or clogged sewage lines not only prevent drainage, but they push the sewer gases back up the line and into the house. If your house has an unidentified lingering bad odor, your drains emit the scent of rotten eggs, or if there is a strong smell of sewage in the yard, you most likely have a sewage line problem. 

Lush or Low Spots in the Lawn

While you have likely done a lot of work to get your Arizona lawn green, finding an unusually lush and verdant spot in the yard is a warning sign that something else is feeding your grass. Sewage is an excellent fertilizer, although untreated sewage is not safe for that use. The ground in those spots could be soft, wet, and marshy, as well. 

If you notice depressions developing in your yard, that may be another sign of excess water coming from a sewer line break. Any shifts in the topology of your lawn or cracks and shifting of sidewalks or driveways may also signal a broken sewer line. A broken sewage line will saturate the soil, causing low wet spots and verdant growth.


Any time you see mold, you know there is a high level of humidity. That isn’t normal inside a well-ventilated home. While mold can also develop from leaks or cracks in the clean water lines or drains, when it accompanies a bad smell, you have a compound problem. Not only is sewage leaking into your home a threat to your family’s health, but mold can cause a whole host of other health problems. 

Slow Drains

Your tubs, sinks, and showers drain into city sewage lines. You may experience occasional slow drains due to a buildup of hair or grease, but if you notice consistent slow drains throughout your house, you may have a deeper blockage in your sewage lines. If that is the case, you’ll need an experienced professional to diagnose and repair the problem.

Cracked Foundation

A sewage line break that has gone undiscovered for a while can eventually degrade the foundation of your home, causing structural damage. Some signs are settling in the foundation, uneven floors, or sinkholes around the house. If you’ve noticed cracks in the walls, or leakage coming from cracks around the base of your home, you may have a sewage line crack. 

Standing or Running Sewage

A sure sign of a sewage line failure is standing pools of sewage or running streams of raw sewage in your yard or basement. A sure way to tell you have a sewage line crack is the smell. If your Arizona home or yard has a strong, noxious smell along with the standing or running water, you need to call a plumber immediately. 

Insect or Rodent Infestation

Nothing attacks roaches, flies, and rats like sewage. They follow the smell into your home where they can squeeze into the smallest cracks and gaps around your pipes, doors, or windows. If your infestation is new, walk around your house, look under cabinets, and look around your yard for evidence of a sewage leak. 

Common Remedies Don’t Solve the Problem

If you buy a drain cleaner on every trip to the store or you are wearing out your plunger, you need professional plumbing help. If your sewage line has deteriorated or completely broken, no amount of plunging or chemicals can remove that blockage. 

Contact a Licensed Plumbing Professional

If you experience any of these warning signs, you may have a broken sewer line. Our skilled plumbing specialists in Phoenix are highly qualified, trained, experienced, and committed to providing the highest quality service. For fast, efficient, licensed plumbing service in the Phoenix area, contact us today at Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. 


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