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The main sewer line is the largest and most important pipe in your home’s plumbing system. All drains and fixtures connect to it, carrying waste out of the home. Over time, main sewer lines can become clogged or damaged from factors like tree roots, pipe corrosion, flushed debris, and more. Identifying issues early and understanding repair options can help homeowners avoid costly emergency replacement.

As leading Winnipeg plumbers, Aslan Plumbing is well versed in this area. This article outlines common causes of main line clogs, warning signs, and options like trenchless sewer repair versus traditional dig-and-replace procedures. Read on to learn how to maintain your main sewer line and notice problems before they become severe.

Causes of Clogged Sewer Lines

Clogs arise from two main categories: debris buildup or pipe damage. Debris from items flushed, or drain-poured grease sticks to pipe walls, slowly blocking the line. Damaged pipes from roots, ground shifting, leaks, and corrosion create blockages too. Other common causes include:

  • ground settling or construction compressing older pipes to failure
  • tree roots infiltrating through tiny cracks seeking water
  • poured fats and oils congealing into thick sludge
  • a sagging or ‘belly’ in the line accumulating waste.
  • Improper disposal of personal hygiene products flushed down the toilet can accumulate

Lack of preventative drain cleaning allows gradual buildup. Severe pipe damage or debris clogs restrict sewage drainage through the main line, leading to backups and overflows into the home.

Signs of Sewer Line Problems

Clues that your main sewer line needs attention include:

  • drains frequently clogging throughout the home, especially lower level fixtures first
  • multiple plumbing fixtures like sinks, showers, and toilets all backing up at once
  • gurgling sounds from drains and toilets as waste drains
  • sewage odours indoors during dry weather.

Check your yard for signs, too; soggy patches or water pooling in the grass when it hasn’t rained indicates a buried pipe leaking sewage. Caving in and sinkholes forming along the sewer’s path could mean broken pipes underground, and indentations in the lawn above the main line can also signal problems. Don’t ignore these red flags, as they usually indicate sewer repairs are needed.

Traditional Repair and Replacement

For severely damaged lines, traditional excavation and replacement is required. Using a backhoe, the ground is dug up to expose the affected section of sewer pipe. After removing the damaged portion, a new pipe is installed in its place. The trench is then filled and landscaping is restored.

While effective, this method disrupts yards, gardens, and driveways. The dig site remains an eyesore for weeks until restored, and extensive repairs under fences or structures makes traditional replacement difficult. However, for completely collapsed clay pipes or severely obstructed lines, excavation may be the only viable option to fully resolve the issue.

Trenchless Repair Methods

Trenchless sewer repair techniques access pipes through small holes dug at either end of the affected area. A flexible liner coated in epoxy resin is then pulled or pushed through the old pipe. As it slides into place, the liner expands, sealing cracks and spaces. This seals the inner pipe wall, creating improved flow and long-term structural stability.

After curing, the liner restores flow with minimal digging required. Trenchless repair is perfect for pipes running under landscaping or structures, while it also reduces driveway and yard damage compared to traditional replacement methods. Prior to installing the liner, cameras can be inserted to inspect the entire main sewer line and identify any additional problem areas needing repair at the same time.

Maintaining Your Sewer Lines

Preventative maintenance is crucial to maximize the lifespan of your main sewer line. Regular professional drain cleaning and rooter service clears out grease and debris before major blockages occur. Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed – no wipes or other items. Promptly replace cracked drain pipes and inspect pipe joints for leakage.

Have older pipes video inspected to identify issues early before they turn severe. Install cleanouts at key points to facilitate access if clogs do occur in specific spots. Avoid pouring fats, oils and grease down drains as they congeal into blockages. While maintenance requires some investment upfront, the savings from avoiding emergency repairs or replacement is significant.

When to Call a Plumber

Attempting DIY sewer repairs risks further damage plus sewer gases entering your home. Always hire a professional, licensed plumbing company like Aslan Plumbing for major sewer line issues. Our team has the specialized equipment, like trenchless liners and video inspection cameras, to properly diagnose and repair your sewer line. We ensure repairs meet Winnipeg plumbing codes and minimize disruption to your property.

Our plumbing experts identify the optimal solution for the situation based on pipe condition, access, and other factors. For difficult clogs, we use professional strength drain augers to clear blockages homeowner snake cables cannot. Trust Aslan Plumbing’s experience for quality sewer line replacements or repairs done right the first time.


Common culprits of main sewer clogs include tree roots, pipe damage, flushed trash, and congealed grease. Homeowners should watch for gurgling sounds, sewer gases inside, soggy lawns, and chronically clogged drains. While replacement and repairs can be done either by traditional excavation or less invasive trenchless methods, professionals like Aslan Plumbing are recommended for the job.

Our Winnipeg plumbing team has the tools and expertise to diagnose main line issues and restore proper drainage. Contact Aslan Plumbing to learn about our affordable sewer repair and replacement services if you suspect your main line needs attention. Thanks for reading! Call us anytime ►(204) 414-1877.