Failed Sewer Inspection: Causes, Consequences, and What to Do Next

Are you experiencing issues with your sewer system? Perhaps you recently underwent a sewer inspection and failed. Failing a sewer inspection can be a headache for homeowners, as it can result in a range of problems such as property damage, health hazards, and hefty repair costs.

City sewer inspections are performed to ensure that the sewer system is functioning correctly, to prevent property damage from sewer backups, and to protect public health. But, how are sewer inspections done, and what causes a sewer pipe to fail?

If you’ve recently experienced a failed sewer inspection, don’t panic. In this blog post, we will explore what it means to fail a sewer inspection, what causes sewer pipe failure, what you should do next, and how to prevent future issues.

Sewer line inspections are crucial, particularly when buying a house, to avoid potential future problems. But is a sewer camera inspection worth it? We’ll tackle this question and other frequently asked questions such as the cost of a sewer inspection for home purchase, why a septic tank may fail an inspection, and what are the signs of a sewer line failure.

We’ll also dive into the severity of issues such as belly in a sewer line and whether a broken sewer line could cause a sinkhole.

In short, this comprehensive guide will give you all the information you need to know about failed sewer inspections and the ensuing consequences. Read on to gain a better understanding of the factors involved and how to avoid issues in the future.

Understanding Failed Sewer Inspections

If you’re a homeowner, you know that your sewer system is one of the most crucial components of your property’s infrastructure. However, sewer inspections are often overlooked until there’s a problem. Unfortunately, when sewer inspections fail, it can be a costly and time-consuming problem.

So what causes a failed sewer inspection, and how can you prevent it from happening?

Common Causes of Failed Sewer Inspections

Several factors can contribute to a failed sewer inspection. These may include:

  • Damage to sewer pipes caused by tree roots, shifting soil, or general wear and tear.
  • Clogs or blockages caused by flushing non-flushable items down the toilet or pouring grease down the drain.
  • Poor installation or maintenance of the sewer system.

The Inspection Process

During a sewer inspection, a professional plumber or sewer inspector will likely use a specialized camera to inspect the interior of your sewer pipes. This camera will identify any blockages, damage, or other issues that need to be addressed.

If there are no issues with your sewer system, the inspector will issue a passing inspection report. However, if they find problems, you’ll receive a failed inspection report with details on what needs to be fixed.

What to Do if Your Sewer Inspection Fails

If your sewer inspection fails, don’t panic. Depending on the severity of the issue, you may need to take immediate action. However, you may also have some time to address the issue before it becomes a major problem.

The first step is to understand the reason for the failed inspection. This will help you determine the appropriate course of action. For example, if you have a clog in your sewer system, you may be able to clear it yourself or with the help of a professional plumber. However, if your sewer pipes are damaged, you’ll likely need to have them repaired or replaced.

Preventing Failed Sewer Inspections

The best way to prevent a failed sewer inspection is to schedule regular inspections and maintenance for your sewer system. This will help identify any issues before they become major problems. Additionally, make sure you’re following best practices for flushing and draining items in your home to prevent clogs and blockages.

If you’re buying a new home, be sure to have a sewer inspection done before finalizing the sale. This can help you avoid any surprises and ensure that your new property is in good condition.

Homeowners often overlook their sewer systems, but they are a critical component of your property’s infrastructure. Regular inspections and maintenance can help prevent costly and time-consuming problems down the road. Remember, a failed sewer inspection isn’t the end of the world, but it is a sign that something needs to be addressed.

City Sewer Inspection

A failed sewer inspection can be a nightmare for homeowners, especially if they are not familiar with the causes and consequences of the problem. One of the main reasons why a sewer inspection fails is due to city sewer inspection codes. City sewer inspection is a process carried out by local municipalities to ensure that the public sewer system and private sewer lines meet the required standards.

What is City Sewer Inspection

City sewer inspection is a process undertaken by local authorities to ensure that the public sewer system and private sewer lines are up to code. During the inspection, a city official will visit your property to inspect your sewer line and determine whether it complies with the local municipal code. This inspection is critical in ensuring that the sewer system is safe and functioning correctly.

What Happens During a City Sewer Inspection

During the inspection, a city official will inspect your sewer line to make sure it meets the local municipal code. If there are any issues, the inspector will notify the homeowner immediately and give them a timeline to resolve the problem. The homeowner will be responsible for fixing any problems and must ensure that the sewer line passes the city inspection before any repairs are deemed complete.

How to Prepare for a City Sewer Inspection

Before a city official arrives for the inspection, homeowners must inspect their sewer line and fix any visible defects. This includes clearing the area around the sewer line if there is any debris or overgrown vegetation. The area where the inspection is to take place must be accessible to the inspector. If the city inspector cannot access the area, the inspection will be canceled and may result in a failed inspection.

In conclusion, it’s essential to keep in mind that city sewer inspection is a critical process for ensuring that the sewer system is safe and functioning correctly. Homeowners must take all the necessary steps to ensure that their sewer line complies with local municipal codes. Always make sure that the area where the inspection is to take place is easily accessible and free from debris or overgrown vegetation to ensure a smooth inspection process.

How a Sewer Inspection Is Done

So, you’ve just purchased a new home, and the inspector tells you that you have a failed sewer inspection. What now? Well, that’s where a sewer inspection comes in. It’s essential to know what goes into a sewer inspection to ensure your property is in tip-top shape.

Preparing for the Inspection

Before the sewer inspection, you’ll want to make sure all the areas around your sewer lines are easily accessible. Clear out any debris, and move any objects that may hinder the inspector’s view. Also, ensure that all the plumbing fixtures in your home are in working order as the inspector will run water throughout the system.

The Inspection Process

During the sewer inspection, the inspector will use specialized equipment such as a sewer camera or sewer scope. The sewer scope is a long, flexible camera that is inserted into the sewer line. As it moves through the pipes, it streams live video footage that is displayed on a monitor.

The inspector will begin by inspecting the main sewer line that connects to the city’s sewer system. The camera will travel through the pipes, checking for any dirt, debris, or blockages. The inspector will take note of any obstructions or damages in the pipes and assess whether they can be easily fixed or if they require replacement.

failed sewer inspection

After inspecting the main sewer line, the inspector will inspect the lateral lines that connect to the mainline from your home. The lateral lines are smaller pipes that run from your plumbing fixtures to the main sewer line. The inspector will inspect each of these lines to identify any possible leaks, cracks, or blockages.

After the Inspection

Once the inspection is complete, the inspector will provide you with a detailed report that outlines any repairs or maintenance you need to perform. If there are any issues, you can use the report to negotiate with the seller or your local authorities on what steps to take.


A sewer inspection is a vital aspect of maintaining your property. It ensures that your plumbing system is in good working order and reduces the likelihood of sewer backups or other plumbing problems. If you require a sewer inspection, make sure you hire a reputable inspector to get the job done right.

What causes sewer pipe to fail

When the sewer lines of a property undergo inspections, many problems can be identified. One common issue that arises is the failure of the sewer pipe. Some main reasons that could cause sewer pipes to fail are:

1. Clogs

Clogs or blockages in sewer lines can cause them to fail. Over time, debris and objects can build up in the pipes, causing blockages. These blockages can put pressure on the pipes, causing them to weaken and break.

2. Corrosion

Sewer pipes are exposed to different chemicals and substances that can cause corrosion over time. Corrosion can weaken the pipe walls and ultimately lead to failure.

3. Age

The age of a sewer pipe is a significant factor in its failure. As pipes age, they become more brittle and vulnerable to cracks and breaks. If your property has an old pipe system, it is more likely to experience failures and needs to be addressed promptly.

4. Tree Roots

Tree roots can grow towards sewer pipes in search of water and nutrients. Once tree roots find these nutrients, they can invade the sewer pipes and cause obstructions and damage.

5. Poor Installation

In some scenarios, the installation of the sewer line system could be the cause of failure. If the pipes were installed improperly with incorrect slope, they could be subject to damage due to prolonged exposure to heavy usage.

Sewer pipe failure can have severe consequences such as water backups and flooding. Homeowners must ensure proper maintenance and inspections are carried out frequently to protect these systems and prevent failure.

What To Do When You Fail A Sewer Inspection

If you’ve received news of a failed sewer inspection, don’t panic just yet. Understanding what to do next can help you move forward and get your septic system back up and running as soon as possible.

Get A Thorough Inspection Report

The first step you should take is to obtain a thorough inspection report from the examiner. The report should detail the specific issues that led to the failure, including potential causes and recommended fixes. Once you’ve obtained this report, you’ll have a much better idea of what needs to be done to correct the problem.

Identify The Cause

Once you have the report, it’s crucial to identify the root cause of the problem. Without addressing the underlying issue, you run the risk of failing another inspection in the future. Some common causes of failed sewer inspections include clogs, tree roots, cracks or damage, outdated or malfunctioning systems, and other issues. Once you’ve identified the cause, you can work towards finding a solution to the problem.

failed sewer inspection

Hire Professionals

In most cases, fixing a failed sewer inspection will require the help of professional plumbers or contractors. While it may be tempting to DIY the problem, it’s often best to leave it to the experts to ensure the job is completed safely and effectively. Be sure to do your research to find a reputable and experienced company or professional plumber who specializes in septic systems.

Develop A Plan

Once you’ve identified the problem and found a professional to help, it’s essential to develop a plan of action. This plan should outline the necessary steps to correct the issue, including the materials, equipment, and timeline needed for the job. Work with your contractor to create a plan that suits your timeline and budget.

Implement Fixes And Reschedule

After developing a plan, it’s time to implement the necessary fixes and schedule a new inspection. Once the work is done, your contractor should provide you with a certificate of compliance or other similar documentation to show that the system is now in good working order.

Failing a sewer inspection can be stressful, but it’s important to prioritize the health and safety of your home and the environment. By following these steps, you can take action to correct the issue while minimizing the risk of future problems. Remember to stay calm and work with trusted professionals to ensure that the job is done right the first time.

Sewer Camera Inspection Worth It

If you’re experiencing issues with your sewer line, it can be tough to identify the root cause without tearing up your yard, garden, or driveway. This can become quite costly, time-consuming, and frustrating. Fortunately, there is another way – sewer camera inspection. But is it worth it? Let’s find out.

What Is Sewer Camera Inspection

Sewer camera inspection is a non-invasive and cost-effective way of diagnosing issues with your sewer line. Professional plumbers use a specialized camera to take a video of the inside of the sewer line. The camera records the video, which the plumber can then review to identify and diagnose any problems.

failed sewer inspection

How Does Sewer Camera Inspection Work

A sewer camera is a waterproof, high-resolution camera attached to a long, flexible cable. The plumber feeds the cable with the camera through the sewer line. The camera captures real-time video footage of the inside of the sewer line as it moves through the pipe. The plumber can watch the video on a monitor and use it to identify any issues.

Is Sewer Camera Inspection Worth It

Absolutely! Sewer camera inspection is an excellent investment for a few reasons.

Accurate Diagnosis

With sewer camera inspection, you can get a real-time look at the inside of your sewer line. This means that you’re getting an accurate diagnosis of any issues that might be present, ensuring that the problem is fixed correctly the first time around.


Unlike traditional methods of diagnosing a sewer line problem, which involve digging up your yard, garden, or driveway, sewer camera inspection is non-invasive. The camera is fed through the sewer line, so there’s no need to dig anything up to find the problem.


Sewer camera inspection is a cost-effective way to identify and diagnose any issues with your sewer line. Compared to traditional methods of diagnosing sewer line problems, like excavation, sewer camera inspection is much cheaper.

Sewer camera inspection is a worthwhile investment if you’re experiencing any issues with your sewer line. It’s accurate, non-invasive, and cost-effective, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to diagnose and fix a sewer line problem. So, if you’re experiencing any issues with your sewer line, consider investing in sewer camera inspection – you won’t regret it!

Sewer Inspection When Buying a House

Buying a house can be an exciting and nerve-wracking time. From finding the perfect neighborhood to touring homes that meet your criteria, there are many factors to consider before signing on the dotted line. One critical aspect that often gets overlooked is the sewer inspection.

What Is a Sewer Inspection

A sewer inspection is an assessment of the sewer line that connects the house to the main sewer system. The inspection is typically performed by a licensed plumber or sewer specialist using a specialized camera that can identify any blockages, damage, or potential issues within the line.

Why Is a Sewer Inspection Important

A sewer inspection can reveal potential problems that could lead to costly repairs down the line. If there is damage or blockage in the sewer line, it could cause sewage backups, which can result in unpleasant odors, water damage, and health hazards. It can also help you negotiate the purchase price of the house and ensure that you are not stuck with unexpected expenses shortly after buying the house.

What Should You Do if the Sewer Inspection Fails

If the sewer inspection reveals any issues, it’s important to address them before buying the house. You may want to negotiate with the seller to cover the cost of repairs or walk away from the deal altogether. It’s important to consult with a qualified plumber or sewer specialist to determine the best course of action.

How Much Does a Sewer Inspection Cost

The cost of a sewer inspection can vary depending on the location and size of the house. However, it’s typically a small price to pay for the peace of mind it provides. On average, a sewer inspection can cost anywhere from $100 to $500.

A sewer inspection may not be the most exciting part of buying a house, but it’s a critical step in ensuring that you are making a smart investment. By taking the time to have the sewer line inspected before buying, you can avoid costly repairs and potential health hazards in the future.

Should I Get a Sewer Line Inspection

If you’re a homeowner or a prospective buyer, you might wonder if getting a sewer line inspection is worth it. In short, the answer is yes. A sewer inspection can save you thousands of dollars in potential repairs and provide peace of mind knowing your sewer line is in good condition.

What is a Sewer Line Inspection

A sewer line inspection involves a plumber inspecting the sewer line using a camera attached to a long cable. The camera feeds live video footage to a monitor, allowing the plumber to identify any potential issues such as cracks, clogs, and tree root intrusions.

Benefits of a Sewer Line Inspection

Early Detection of Issues

One significant benefit of a sewer line inspection is early detection of problems. Small issues like tree root growth and small cracks can lead to more significant problems like backups and leaks. Detecting these problems early on allows for quicker fixes and saves you from more extensive repairs down the road.

Cost Savings

Getting a sewer line inspection done before buying a home can save you thousands of dollars in potential repairs. An inspection can uncover hidden problems that the seller might not have even been aware of, giving you the leverage you need to negotiate a better price or have the seller fix the issues.

Peace of Mind

A sewer line inspection can provide peace of mind knowing that your sewer line is in excellent condition. You don’t want to be surprised by a major sewer issue down the road, causing unnecessary stress and financial strain.

Getting a sewer line inspection is an investment that pays off in the long run. It provides early detection of problems, cost savings, and peace of mind. Don’t let a failed sewer inspection catch you off guard, get a sewer line inspection today.

How Serious is a Belly in a Sewer Line

A belly in a sewer line is a substantial issue that homeowners dread. The term “belly” is the industry slang for a sag or dip in the sewer line. When wastewater flows through a drain, it is supposed to flow only in one direction without any obstruction. However, a belly can cause the wastewater to pool and create backup.

Understanding the Severity of a Belly in a Sewer Line

A belly in a sewer line is a serious issue that requires immediate attention. Some homeowners falsely believe that a slight sag or not noticeable dip in the sewer line isn’t a problem. However, even a small belly can cause significant damage to your home’s plumbing system and cause wastewater backups.

Common Causes of a Belly in a Sewer Line

Several factors can create a belly in the sewer line. First, the age of the sewer line can cause it to sag. Additionally, shifting soil can put pressure on the pipes, which can ultimately cause the sewer line to sag. Lastly, clogs can lead to the creation of a belly, particularly if the clog isn’t addressed promptly.

Signs of a Belly in a Sewer Line

Homeowners should be aware of the signs of a belly in the sewer line. Some common signs include slow drains, backups, gurgling noises in the pipes, and unpleasant odors. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s vital to call a sewer line specialist to assess the issue.

Repairing a Belly in a Sewer Line

The process of repairing a belly in a sewer line is relatively straightforward. Specialists use a tool called a sewer camera to identify the location and size of the belly. Once they have located the issue, they will dig a trench to expose the damaged pipe and repair it. It’s crucial to address the issue as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your home’s plumbing system.

In summary, a belly in a sewer line is a serious plumbing issue that requires immediate attention. Homeowners must understand the severity of the problem and the common symptoms. If you notice any signs, it’s essential to call a professional to assess the issue. Remember, delaying repairs can lead to more severe problems and potentially costly solutions.

Sewer Inspection for Home Purchase Cost

When you’re in the process of purchasing a home, a sewer inspection is one of the most critical things you should consider. Not only does it help ensure you’re getting a good deal, but it can also save you a lot of money in the long run. Here’s what you need to know about sewer inspection for home purchase cost.

How Much Does It Cost

The cost of a sewer inspection for a home purchase will vary depending on several factors. The size of the property, the complexity of the sewer system, and your location are just a few examples. As a rule of thumb, you should budget between $200 and $500 for a sewer inspection.

Why Is It Necessary

A sewer inspection is necessary because it can uncover any potential problems with the sewer system, such as blockages, damage, or other issues. Fixing these issues can be expensive, and you don’t want to be caught unaware after you’ve already purchased the home. Also, if the sewer system is damaged, it can affect the entire home’s plumbing, resulting in costly repairs.

How Can It Save You Money

Getting a sewer inspection can save you money in several ways. First, it can help you negotiate a better price for the home, especially if the sewer system needs some repairs. Second, it can help you detect any issues before they become major problems, which can be much more expensive to fix. Finally, if you decide not to purchase the home because of the sewer system’s condition, you’ll save yourself the cost of buying a property that will require expensive repairs.

In conclusion, a sewer inspection for home purchase is a crucial step that shouldn’t be overlooked. The cost of the inspection is relatively minor compared to the potential savings, and it can help you avoid major headaches down the road. So be sure to include a sewer inspection in your home purchase budget, and you’ll be glad you did.

Why Septic Tanks Fail Inspection

If you’re experiencing issues with your septic tank, you’re not alone. A septic system that doesn’t function properly can be a major headache for homeowners, and it’s essential to understand what can cause it to fail. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at why septic tanks fail inspection and what you can do to prevent it from happening.

Lack of Maintenance

The primary reason why septic tanks fail inspection is due to a lack of maintenance. You can’t expect your septic system to run efficiently without proper upkeep. Your septic tank needs to be pumped regularly, and the entire system should be inspected by a professional at least once every three years. Neglecting these essential maintenance tasks can lead to clogs, backups, and other issues that can cause your system to fail.

Overloading the System

Septic tanks are designed to handle a specific amount of waste, and when you overload the system, things can quickly go awry. Too much water usage, heavy rainwater, and excessive flushing of non-biodegradable materials can overload your septic system, leading to a host of problems. To avoid overloading your system, conserve water, and avoid putting anything down your drains that is not biodegradable.

Old or Damaged Tank

Old or damaged tanks can lead to system failure. Over time, septic tanks can develop cracks, holes, or other damage, allowing waste to seep into the surrounding soil. If your tank is old or damaged, it’s time for a replacement. If you’re unsure of the age or condition of your septic tank, have it inspected by a professional. They can help you determine if it needs to be replaced.

Incorrect Installation

If your septic tank was not installed correctly, it can lead to system failure down the road. Septic tanks require a specific installation process, and failure to adhere to these guidelines can result in problems. Always have your septic tank installed by a reputable professional to ensure that it’s installed correctly.

failed sewer inspection

In conclusion, several factors can cause septic tanks to fail inspection. Lack of maintenance, overloading the system, old or damaged tanks, and incorrect installation are the primary culprits. By taking proper care of your septic system, you can avoid these problems and ensure that your septic tank functions correctly for years to come.

What Are the Signs of Sewer Line Failure

If you have been struggling with recurring sewer line problems, it’s essential to identify the signs of a larger problem before it’s too late. Here are some of the visible signs that you may have a sewer line failure:

Slow Draining Fixtures

If you notice slow draining water in your sinks, shower, or bathtub, there may be a blockage in your sewer line. It’s one of the early indicators of an issue and should be addressed as soon as possible.

Foul Odors

A foul smell emanating from your drains is another sign that you may have a sewer line failure. The smell of sewage seeping into your living spaces is unmistakable, so pay close attention to any foul smells.

Water Backup

If you’ve got water backup in your toilets or sinks, there’s a high chance you have a blockage in your sewer line. As a result, wastewater may end up getting redirected into your water fixtures.

Mold and Mildew

Water leaks and sewer line breakages can lead to mold and mildew growth over time. If you notice an increase in mold and mildew, it’s worth considering a professional sewer inspection.

Green Patches on Your Lawn

Sewer leaks can contribute to unexplained green patches in your lawn in certain areas. This is often an indication of a leaky sewer line.

Unexplained Indentations in Your Lawn

Indentations, or sinkholes, are another sign that your sewer line has failed. These are often caused when water seeps into the ground, eroding the soil below.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to call in a professional. Sewer line failures can cause significant problems, so taking action early can save you time and money. A failed sewer inspection doesn’t have to ruin your day if you know what to look out for.

Can a broken sewer line cause a sinkhole

If you’ve recently had a failed sewer inspection and are dealing with a broken sewer line, you might be wondering if a sinkhole can form in your yard or on your property. Sinkholes are cavities or depressions in the ground caused by the collapse of the surface layer into an underground void.

How can a broken sewer line cause a sinkhole

When a sewer line breaks, it can release large amounts of water and waste into the soil surrounding the pipe. Over time, this can lead to soil erosion, which weakens the ground above the fractured sewer line. It’s this weakened ground that can result in the formation of a sinkhole.

How to identify a sinkhole

Some early signs of a sinkhole include cracks in your foundation, walls, or floor. You may also notice your sidewalks or driveway sinking into the ground. When outside, look for small depressions in your yard or areas where the ground seems to have collapsed.

How to prevent a sinkhole

The best way to prevent a sinkhole is to take care of your sewer system proactively. You can prevent a sewer line from breaking by scheduling regular inspections and maintenance. When you invest in sewer line maintenance, a professional can use specialized equipment to detect any issues before they turn into major problems.

What to do if you suspect a sinkhole

If you suspect a sinkhole on your property, it’s essential to act quickly. Call a professional to come out and assess the situation as soon as possible. Sinkholes can be dangerous, and the longer you wait, the more damage they can cause.

In conclusion, a broken sewer line can cause a sinkhole, but with proactive maintenance, you can prevent this from happening. If you suspect a sinkhole on your property, don’t hesitate to call a professional. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

What Happens if a Septic Inspection Fails

When a septic inspection fails, it means that the system has issues that require immediate attention. Typically, the inspector will provide a detailed report outlining the specific problems and the steps required to rectify them. Here are some of the consequences of a failed septic inspection.

Fixing the Issues

In most cases, you’re responsible for repairing any issues discovered during the inspection. Depending on your location, failing to comply with the inspection requirements could result in fines or legal action. It’s essential to carefully review the inspection report and hire a professional septic repair company to remedy the problems as soon as possible.

Health Risks

A failed septic system poses a significant health risk to you, your family, and your neighbors. The system may back up, causing sewage to overflow and contaminate the surrounding areas with harmful bacteria and viruses. Exposure to these contaminants could result in severe illnesses, including gastrointestinal diseases, respiratory infections, and skin infections.

Property Devaluation

The value of your property could decrease if the septic system fails. Many home buyers conduct thorough inspections before purchasing a property, and a failed septic inspection could deter potential buyers from making an offer. If you’re planning to sell your home, it’s crucial to address any septic system issues before listing it for sale.

Additional Costs

In some cases, repairing a failing septic system could be expensive. The costs depend on the extent of the damage and the type of repairs required. You may need to install a new leach field, replace damaged pipes, or even install an entirely new septic system. It’s essential to budget for such costs to avoid any financial surprises.


The best way to prevent a failed septic inspection is to ensure regular maintenance of the septic system. Regular pumping and cleaning can prevent issues from developing, and early detection could save you from costly repairs. It’s essential to work with a professional septic system company to provide reliable and timely maintenance services.

In conclusion, a failed septic inspection could result in significant issues, including financial, health, and legal implications. It’s crucial to address any issues promptly and adequately maintain the septic system to avoid future problems.

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