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FAQs

Get to know your pipes – you have questions about sewers, plumbing, water service, trenchless pipe repair and Pipe Spy has answers – see the FAQs below, or call with your specific questions.

What is Sewer Compliance?

Sewer Compliance is a local program with the intent of fixing leaking sewers in an effort to improve the Bay Area water environment. Sewer Compliance is regulated by EBMUD (East Bay Municipal Utility District) or your local city.

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How do drain lines work?

Drain lines work by taking advantage of the natural principle of gravity. All of your home's water pipes are designed to take advantage of this, but there are several factors that could impact your sewer drain line's functionality, including improper slope,  broken and aged pipes, impact or ground shifts, or even tree root infiltration.

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What is Trenchless Sewer Repair?

Trenchless sewer line repair installs new underground pipes without also having to dig long trenches. Overall, trenchless sewer line repair can be significantly less disruptive and cost less than an open-cut sewer replacement.

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How do I shut off the water in my house?

Your water line can be shut off by locating the shut-off valve. The shut-off valve is located where the water pipeline from the water meter enters your home. Turning clockwise will close or turn off your water line, and turning counter-clockwise will open or turn on your water line.

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How can I prevent a Sewer Backup?

Sewer line backups can be caused by a variety of factors, including damage to your line or issues resulting from the city main sewer. Experienced sewer plubms can install a backflow relief device to help prevent future indoor backups from occurring. 

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What is HDPE pipe?

HDPE pipe is the safest and most efficient sewer pipe replacement option. HDPE pipe is long-lasting (100+ years), low-cost, makes for a faster repair, and causes less impact on sidewalks, street and property.

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Why is drinking water at risk?

Only 1 percent of the world's water is fresh water, leaving very little available for purposes such as drinking, bathing, or using in your home. Combined with an inability to "make" more fresh water, every last drop (including the ones coming out of your faucet) should be valued.

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What is a Clean out?

Located above the ground, a sewer Clean Out connects to your sewer line for access for clearing or inspecting the line. Your Sewer Clean Out can be located near or next to your home close to a bathroom, your sidewalk, or property lines. Depending on the area, the Clean Out may also be located in a crawl space or basement.

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How long does a sewer line last?

The lifespan of a sewer line is influenced by many factors, including installation, ground impact, and sewer surroundings. HDPE pipes, such as the ones installed by Pipe Spy, should last 100 years or more, while clay and iron pipes last approximately 50-100 years.

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Sanitary vs. Storm Sewers

There are two completely separate underground sewer systems: storm sewers and sanitary sewers. Storm sewers help collect rainwater and return it to local waterways. Sanitary sewers collect water from the plumbing fixtures of homes and takes it to be treated at the municipal treatment plant. After being processed and treated, this water is safely discharged back into local water environments.

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Sewer Smell

Smells coming from your sink or drain? It may not be a sign of something broken, but it could mean part of your system isn't functioning correctly. Infrequent use is the most common reason for sewer smells, but fixture vent blockage, loose or damaged P-Trap, or a problem in the sewer line could also be reasons for sewer smells coming through to your home.

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Slow Flushing Toilet?

A slow-flushing toilet is most commonly caused by some type of internal blockage, especially when the problem is occurring on the second floor of your home. If your neighbors are having similar problems, it could be an issue with the city sewer main.

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What NOT to Flush

Sanitary water lines are specifically designed to handle water, human waste and toilet paper; any other materials and objects could cause blockage. But one of the biggest and most common drain line problems is "F.O.G.": fats, oils, and grease.

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How to check your sewer line after an Earthquake?

It's incredibly important to check for problems following an earthquake. Common things to look for include: issues with your toilets, sink holes, rodents, sewage smell, an over-worked sump pump and sewage backup.

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