Signs of a blocked sewer pipe typically arise out of nowhere. You might notice slow drainage, gurgling sounds from drains or toilets, foul smells, or worse still, water pooling around the sewer point. Not only can a blocked sewer cause wastewater to back up into your home posing health hazards and property damage risks, it can also result in expensive repairs if left too late.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to address the issue promptly to identify exactly what is causing the blockage. Early detection and professional intervention can prevent more extensive and costly problems.

Common causes of blocked sewer pipes in Brisbane

Debris or foreign objects: Blockages can occur when objects such as paper towels, sanitary products, and baby wipes are flushed down toilets. Over time, these flushed items can accumulate, leading to major obstructions.

Grease and oil: Pouring hot oil and fat down the kitchen sink is never a good idea. As it cools, the oil solidifies – and if there’s enough of it, blockages soon follow. Allow oils to harden in the pan then dispose of the solid matter in the bin.

Tree roots: Naturally attracted to sources of moisture, tree roots can infiltrate sewer lines through cracks or joints. As they grow and expand inside the pipes, blockages can occur.

Aging pipes: Sewer pipes age over time. This coupled with ground settlement and incorrect pipe slope can contribute to sags, cracks and deterioration. Drainage issues and blockages can build up slowly and rear their ugly head at the worst moment.

Plumber using electric eel to clear blocked sewer pipe/drain in Brisbane

Identify the blockage

To address blocked sewer drains effectively, it’s essential to identify the specific type of blockage and its underlying cause. Professional plumbers use various tools such as sewer cameras to inspect the pipes and determine the nature of the blockage.

Depending on the type and severity, solutions may include using an electric eel to remove debris, repairing or replacing damaged pipes, treating grease build-up, or implementing preventive measures to reduce the risk of future blockages.

Blocked sewer pipe? Is it BCC’s problem or yours?

Is a blocked sewer pipe Brisbane City Council’s responsibility? That depends on whether the blockage is isolated to your property or part of a wider problem in the street.

What you are experiencing could be a symptom of a known sewer problem in your area. To determine if the problem extends beyond your property, you can:

Talk to your neighbours: The simplest and most direct way to find out if anyone else is experiencing sewer issues is to have a conversation with them. Ask if they have noticed any problems with their sewage system. If multiple residents report similar issues, it’s a strong indication that there may be a larger problem.

Observe the signs: Keep an eye out for signs of sewer issues within your neighbourhood, such as blocked or overflowing sewer grates, unusual odours, or work crews from the utility company performing sewer-related tasks. These can be clues that there are problems in the area.

Plumber cleaning council sewer from Urban Utilities access point - soil and debris has accessed sewer line.

If you suspect street-wide issues with a blocked sewer pipe, Brisbane residents should contact Urban Utilities. You can also report wastewater and sewage overflowing from Urban Utilities infrastructure – whether that is on public land or from an inspection point forming part of an easement on your own property.

When to call a plumber for a suspected blocked sewer pipe

Clearing a blocked sewer pipe yourself can be a challenging and messy task, not to mention a hazard to your health. DIY plumbing may seem easy, but before you reach for a plunger, be aware that excessive force can further damage pipes. Additionally, powered drain cleaning equipment should only be used by a trained professional. Unauthorised use of such equipment poses a life-threatening risk.

You can try a natural remedy of baking soda and vinegar or a harsher supermarket product – but if you need to repeat this process frequently, it’s likely you’re not addressing the root cause of the blockage.

For a safe and effective solution, consult a professional Brisbane plumber equipped with the necessary tools and expertise to diagnose and resolve the problem correctly. A great plumber will fix the blockage, provide advice on avoiding future problems, and ensure the worksite is completely cleaned and sanitised before they leave.

Need help with a blocked sewer drain? Brisbane professionals Salmon Plumbing can help. Get in touch today for fast and effective plumbing solutions.