Discovering you have a sewage leak can make for a truly rotten day, but you can stress less with reliable sewer repair from a trusted Evanston plumber. There are actually many signs that a sewer pipe is damaged, but you have to know what to look for. Addressing the issue sooner rather than later usually means associated costs are reduced. Read on so that you’re equipped to recognize these nine obvious signs that your sewer line is damaged and needs plumbing repair.

1. Ewww, That Smell!

With our plumbing systems built the way they are, there is never a time when sewer odors should enter your house. If your nose picks up on sewer gas smells in or near your home or business, call the plumber because there is a problem. Sewer gas has a sulfuric smell that is often described as the stench of rotten eggs. Although the gases are toxic, they are believed to be harmless in small doses. The odor is one of the obvious signs that something has gone wrong with the sewer system. 

2. A Clank or Gurgle

You can not only smell but also sometimes hear clues of sewage problems. When running your washing machine, you may hear a gurgling sound coming from the drains. The sound occurs during the spin cycle when a high volume of water is being released into the drainage system. What causes the sound is usually the presence of standing water in the main drain resulting from a sewer problem. It leads to improper venting of the plumbing system. Another sign of this issue is when toilets flush very slowly and water spins and spins in the toilet bowl.


The disruption in drainage caused by sewer line damage can also cause odd clanking sounds as water drains from your fixtures.

3. The Squish of a Soggy Lawn

When sewer line breaks, it often causes the lawn above it to become soggy. You may smell the disgusting odor of sewage before you feel the squish of your lawn under your feet (hopefully shoed feet!). A sinkhole can form, making it necessary to cordon off that portion of your lawn. The situation is fraught with problems because the swampiness will attract unwelcome creatures. Plumbers refer to a sewer line break as a plumbing emergency. Hopefully, your Evanston plumber’s phone number is on your speed dial.

4. Mold and Mildew Growth

You may like indoor growth in your home, but make sure you stick to houseplants. If a damaged sewage line goes unrepaired, one of the outcomes is the rapid infiltration of mold and mildew resulting from a higher humidity level. If you see wet spots on your floors, walls, or ceilings, it could be a sign of mold growth and the need for sewer repair stat. Mold and mildew are fungi that can cause damage to your home’s foundation, interior, and exterior because it eats through organic building materials. The spores of mold and mildew can also have a negative effect on your family’s health, causing severe allergic reactions.

5. A Cracked Foundation

Sinkholes don’t only occur in your yard, unfortunately, when a sewer line breaks. If there is a leak in a part of the sewer line running underneath your home’s foundation, the best you can hope for is to find out quickly. Otherwise, as the leaky sewer line spills out underneath your home, a sinkhole will cause the foundation to shift and develop cracks. In this case, you’ll need expert plumbers as well as foundation repair specialists.

6. Sewage Backups

Your sewer line problem can result in sewer backups, and they usually happen in the lowest open drain. This type of problem is typically the result of a blockage in the line. If you don’t detect the smell coming from the sewer backup, you may identify this problem because a backup occurs whenever you flush the toilet or run water in your bathtub or sink. Every drain in your home is dependent upon the main sewer line for proper drainage. If, however, only one drain has backup problems, there’s an isolated issue with only that drain, which is not likely to be a sewage problem.

7. A Patch of Gorgeous Lush Lawn

Amidst all of the potentially disgusting discoveries associated with a sewage problem, there’s one that you may at first smile about. When there’s a sewage leak, the seeping sewage underground acts as a fertilizer. The added nutrients cause the grass above to be a beautiful, lush green. Once you know an unexpected patch of green isn’t due to your lawn skills, however, the best thing to do is just call your plumber immediately. 

8. An Insect Infestation Until Sewer Repair is Complete

A broken sewer line is similar to the way lights attract bugs by the droves at night. Sewage is a magnet for cockroaches, sewer flies, palmetto bugs, and other insects. A damaged sewer line that goes unchecked will make it impossible to get rid of cockroaches and other insects that can threaten your health. Until your sewer lines are fixed, calling the exterminator may be a waste of your money. If you see an unusual amount of insect activity in your home, it may be the hint you need. Call a plumber because you may need repairs to your sewer system!

9. Bigger Pest Problems

Rats and mice are also the kinds of unwelcome guests you can expect in your home if there are sewer line problems. It’s easy for these furry rodents to make their way through cracks in plumbing. Like cockroaches and other unsanitary insects, mice and rats carry disease and they can also worsen asthma and allergies. If you begin to hear the scurry of small animals, see evidence of mice or rats, or come across the rodents themselves, these things could be a sign that you need a plumber to repair your sewer line.

Call J. Blanton Plumbing

If you live in the Chicago or Evanston IL area, J. Blanton Plumbing is the best place to call when you need help with sewer repair. Chicagoans and others throughout our service area love our upfront pricing and guaranteed workmanship! Not only are we family-owned, but we are recommended by customer reviews. Call us for fast, reliable plumbing services to address a damaged sewer line.