Has your plumber told you that you have a “belly in your sewer line?” If they have, what do you do!? And what is the difference between a sag, a channel, and a belly?
We have been performing sewer replacement for over 25 years now here in the Los Angeles area. My father taught us what a sewer main was when we would work out in Palm Springs installing all new underground pipes for the new homes and golf club’s houses at age 16.
He was the best when it came to installing new sewer mains. Back then, of course, we did not have the sewer technology as we have today here at Twin Home Experts.
My father had us really compact the soil around the pipe as he laid it in the soil, as this would prevent sagging or “belly” in the line.
The issue most often lies with the company performing the video inspection. At first glance, both conditions may have the same symptoms and look identical on a camera going underwater during a sewer video inspection.
However, only after thorough investigation with a hydrojet, removal of standing water, or a smoke sewer test can the problem be properly diagnosed.
In conclusion, a belly in a sewer line and channeling are easily confused. We have found that when our customers mention they have a belly in their sewer line, 99% of the time the line is channeled instead.
Since a sewer line belly is accompanied by an issue with the pipe’s slope, conventional replacement is the only repair option.
However, channeling differs in that the pipe’s slope (in most cases) remains functional.
This means that channeling may be repaired more easily, saving you time, money, headaches and the mess associated with conventional sewer replacement, like opening up your driveway or landscaping.
“Boy,” our dad says, “Wish I had this back in the day!”
What is a Sewer Line Belly, Sag or Low Area?
A sewer line belly, sag, or low area, can be identified by a pipe holding water after flow has stopped or other causes of pooling water, such as debris build up and channeling, have been ruled out.
Sewer line bellies or low areas become problems when debris collects and causes a blockage or backup.
A belly in a sewer line, sag, or low area is often caused by geological events such as soil erosion, foundation settlement, earthquakes or by human error such as poor soil compaction or poor installation.
More often than not a belly or low area will occur at the fitting, cast iron joints, clay pipe joints or ABS connections.
But what is channeling?
Channeling occurs when running water cuts a course through the bottom of the pipe that is corroded, usually cast iron pipe.
We see this a lot in the Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Santa Monica and areas that have properties that were built in the 30s, 40s, & 50s.
Our photos show where we rehabilitated sewer lines using our trenchless pipe method to correct the channeling. This lasts about 50 years.
If you’re experiencing unusual sewer odor, greener grass in some areas of your lawn, water seepage, or slow drainage, then there is a pretty good chance your sewer line has a channel.