Common Problems Found During A Sewer Pipe Inspection

Date Published: July 1, 2019

Sometimes sewer issues go undetected until they do a good bit of damage to your home. As you might imagine, sewer lines need just as much attention and maintenance as other parts of your home. However, we tend to overlook them because we don’t know what we don’t see. If you suspect something might be going on with your sewer system or you are thinking about getting an inspection, this article will discuss the most common sewer inspection problems found during a sewer pipe inspection.

SEWER camera inspection, sewer scope inspection example video

What your sewer line should look like…

Sewer Inspection Problem #1 – Low Areas (aka) Belly

This is commonly referred to as a sag, low area or belly when debris collects in the low point and interferes with the flow of the system. This can cause a backup or blockage in your sewer line. A belly in your sewer line was likely the result of a poor layout for the sewer, or it has been impacted by some other event like a tree root (discussed below) or shifting soil weather events.

Minor bellies where standing water is present do not always need repair. In fact, a belly is a very common sewer pipe inspection issue. Your sewer scope tech will inform you if a belly is sloped enough to require action.

Belly found during a sewer scope inspection

The camera is fully submerged in water indicating this section of piping has a deep belly. This belly was caused by root pressure from a tree.

There are various ways to have this issue corrected with the help of a knowledgeable team. They can discuss what is happening in your particular line, which will determine their course of action to fix it.

The bottom line, however, is that the system will need to be unearthed to a degree to repair the problem.

Sewer Inspection Problem #2 – Offset Pipes

An offset is where two sections of pipes meet but do not line up correctly. Most of the time, an environmental change is usually at fault for an offset pipe. Settlement in the surrounding earth or root growth can cause the two sections of piping to shift independently. Occasionally the problem is due to poor installation, but this is rare.

If the offset is small, and it does not appear to be blocking the flow of waste, then no action is required. But if the offset is larger and specifically if it is near the bottom edge of the pipe, then repair is likely needed.



This issue can be a pain to deal with, and could cost you more money than you were prepared to take on. The reason for this is that a significant area will need to be dug up, including everything in its path, such as landscaping.

Ask your plumbing specialist about how best to solve the issues. Typically plumbers will look to replace that small section of piping if the rest of the pipe is in good shape.

Also, ask if your situation can be fixed with trenchless technology. This type of repair requires little to no digging. It involves lining the inside of the pipe with a plastic liner material.

Sewer Inspection Problem #3 – Tree Roots