Did Gophers Cause Your Constant Sewer Line Backups?

by Claude Walters

If your sewer lines keep backing up, and you have gophers living on your property, you may wonder if the two problems are related. They just might be. Gophers can cause a great deal of damage to your landscape and gardens. The pests can also wreak havoc on underground pipelines, such as electrical, sprinkler, water, and sewer lines, by creating tunnels throughout your property. If the tunnels collapse the soil in your yard, it can cause many problems, including sewer line backups. Here's what you should look for in your yard and what you can do to fix it.

How Can Gophers Cause Problems For Your Sewer Line?

Your main sewer line connects to the cleanout line on your house and leads to a public or city sewer line in the street. In order to direct waste from your plumbing to the city's sewer line properly, your main sewer line slopes downward in the yard. The soil should be stable enough to keep the line from moving or shifting out of place. Gophers can disrupt soil and the pipelines in it with their tunnels.

Gophers create underground tunnels to stay safe, raise babies and store food. To create the tunnels, gophers use their sharp teeth and claws to move soil, roots, rocks, and other debris out of the way. The pests typically create one large, horizontal tunnel that branches off into a number of smaller, lateral tunnels that loosen up your soil. 

As the loose soil shifts, your sewer line can lose its slope over time. It's possible for the pipe to collapse in places and develop a "belly" or low-sloping sag. Both problems can cause the water and waste traveling through your sewer line to back up into the home or property. 

What Can You Do to Keep Your Sewer Lines Safe?

You can solve your constant sewer line backups by getting rid of the gophers on your property. You might do this by placing ultrasonic spikes around your property. The spikes give off irritating sounds only gophers can hear. You can also trap the pests, but you may want to have a professional do this for you. The traps normally kill gophers instead of contain them live.

After you eliminate the gophers on your property, contact a plumbing contractor to examine your sewer line. If the line is severally damaged or has multiple bellies, you may need to replace the entire line. Otherwise the backups may continue. If the line is cracked in a few places, a contractor may suggest that you repair them. A contractor will discuss the best methods to use for your sewer line before they proceed with the job.

For more information about your sewer backups, contact a plumbing specialist such as First Class Plumbing of Florida Inc. today.