Frequently Asked Questions

Find some of our most frequently asked questions by some of our experienced sewer experts.

Phil started working for the family business in 1976 and spent the following 10 years becoming the senior sewer tech. He was doing anything from cleaning sewers, to pipe replacement, to investigating problems and solving, excavation, locating sewers, broken water mains, etc.

Tap into over 35+ years of experience in the sewer business and get answers to some of our most frequent asked questions. From septic tank issues to flooded basements and clogged pipes and clogged drains you can just ask Sewer 911.

What is a sewer cleaning?
Let me say these 2 things about sewer cleaning to start:

  1. “If you do not have proper access to a system, you can not clean the drain properly.” that proper access to the sewer system the first step to cleaning your system properly.
  2. “The only way to know if a pipe is really clean would require the use of a closed circuit TV inspection.”

Electric sewer machines are used to mechanically clean a drain of obstructions. These obstructions could be tree roots, grease/soap build up, sanitary products, paper towels or anything that you might imagine that could go down a drain (toys).

The process of cleaning a sewer or drain is to some a very simple task while to others, it is a complicated nightmare. Basically the process starts with the realization or discovery of a malfunction in a floor drain, toilet, bath tub, or sink etc.

Once a service tech has arrived, the system is inspected to find the best point of entry to get access to remove the blockage.

In the cleaning of any drain/sewer, the access called a “clean out” should be the same size as the pipe that you are trying to clean. Cleaning a 6″ pipe from a 4″ floor drain might get the system running but not necessarily mean that the pipe is cleaned to the full diameter. The 2 inches that the sewer auger misses could leave a clump of root that is actually larger than those 2 inches.

Every drain size has a machine that is suitable to clean it properly.

What is a high pressure sewer flushing?
This process is for cleaning of sewers that could not be cleaned by the electric sewer machine. The use of this machine is especially useful in the cleaning of sludge, grease, calcite, gravel, dirt, and again, anything that you can imagine that could be put down a drain in small and large diameter pipes, and at long distances.
How does this machine work?
Our “flusher” uses a 50 horse power diesel motor that drives a water pump. This pump can produce water pressures up to 4000 pounds per square inch (psi) and 16 gallons per minute. The pump is connected to a hose reel that has about 500 feet of high pressure water hose. The hose is pulled down the sewer pipe by the use of a flusher nozzle. The nozzle has rear facing holes that give it a rear facing push that actually drives it forwards.

While most of our work would be in the 500 foot range, we have gone as far as 1700 feet.

The nozzle is in some ways the heart of the flusher for the restriction in the nozzle head is what builds up the pressure. The size of the holes in the nozzle will determine the pressure that the nozzle runs at. The larger the holes the lower the pressure but will give more water volume, the smaller the holes, the higher the pressure and the lower the water volume.

There are many advantages of the flusher such as the size of the entry point is not as critical as in the sewer machine, cleaning will be quicker, usually more efficient, able to do longer distances, etc.

How important are the closed circuit TV inspections and locating services?
I cannot stress enough the value and importance of this service. Next to the flusher, this is the most valuable tool that we have in problem solving.

The inspection of the sewer needs to be done after the sewer is draining. The use of the camera is can only be done on an empty pipe, or a pipe full of absolutely clean water.

Once the water has dropped out of the pipe, faults with the system can be found.

Some of the faults that we find are tree roots, cracked or broken pipe, bellies in pipe, (the slope of the sewer pipe is incorrect and allows the pipe to be full of water all the time), build up of calcite (hard as cement that builds up in sewer pipe where ground water leaks into a pipe), grease and again what ever your imagination can think of what can go down a drain.

Locating goes hand in hand with the camera. The value with to this whatever you see on the TV screen, we have the ability to find the location of the fault in the pipe and the depth at the location. By using the locator, we can find buried clean outs and any other fault in your system. We also can find sewer pipe in the event that a connection needs to be made into the system and the depth to allow for branch lines to be made.

Still have questions?