When is a Belly Severe Enough to Fix? (Explained)

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A sewer belly is severe enough to fix when experiencing blockage in your drainage system. The severe belly can occur more in public sewer mains, private sewer laterals, and municipal pumps. Hence, if the drainage is located in a public place, you may need a permit before digging up the area.

What to Do About Belly in the Drain?

Before treating the belly, ensure your diagnosis is correct as many contractors do not carry out the video inspection appropriately. After confirming the condition is not channeling; which is the corrosion of the bottom of the pipe, you can treat the belly in your drain. There are several ways to treat belly in your drains, which are:

The Dig and Replace Method

The traditional method of fixing a belly is the dig and replace process. However, this traditional method still exists in the extensively destroyed area. It is costly and time-consuming and mainly damages the drain location.

In the long run, fixing broken yards is more expensive than the modern sewer repair process.

A plumber fixes the problem by digging the soil until identifying the belly, then replaces the section. Generally, this process should cost about at least $50, but factors such as the piping depth and where you live that can influence the price.

Moreso, request the service of a professional when fixing a belly in your drain. The quality of service would determine the durability of the new pipe. Pipelining lasts for a long time, and you may not need a change sooner than expected.

You can inquire about the plumbing company’s past works and check if there have been any positive reviews about their services.

Trenchless Sewer Technology

Although it cannot fix every type of drain belly, it is less costly and can proffer a short-term solution. Also, when you only need to remove a clog, a trenchless sewer can fix the problem.

The in-line replacement method uses an old pipe to place the new pipeline without digging up the soil. Another way to carry out the trenchless sewer method is by slip lining. Here, plumbers attach a smaller pipe into the old pipeline then remove the old pipeline after placing the new one appropriately.

When is a Belly Severe Enough to Fix?

As soon as you observe some blockage in your sewer line, ensure to fix it. Neglecting it can cause erosion and require a backup option from the homeowner. A severe belly is caused by the buildup of debris which prevents the free flow of sewage.

More so, it is one of the most frequent problems that affect a sewer line. When you start noticing the following symptoms, it means the sewer belly is severe enough to fix:

The pipeline smells

A sanitary sewer line would begin to smell and release offensive odors. The smell is caused by the buildup of sewage. Normally, the sewer pipeline shouldn’t produce a smell because it is constantly flowing.

But when the sewer line is clogged, bacteria can breed in the belly producing gases such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and other gases. The gas produced in your sewer belly can be toxic or non-toxic, but in either case, it smells badly.

Mold growth

Asides from the sewer smell, you may see some mold growth behind the growing around the sewer line. The reason for the mold growth is because of the high humidity and moisture level caused by logged water in the pipe.

These are favorable conditions for mold to thrive. And once the spore grows into mild, they release some microbial volatile organic compounds into the area which produces unpleasant odor.

Multiple clogs

When the belly of your pipe is at a point where you have no choice but to fix it, you will know because several pipes in your household will be clogged. This often starts in the lowest open pipeline and works its way to the main sewer line.

The reason for the multiple clog is because when the belly prevents the free passage of sewage, the sewage will flow into other channels. And since sewage flows with debris, it will most likely block other lines as well.

Insects infestation

Most times, a sewer belly results in insect infestation. The reason you’d find insect infestation in a sewer belly is because of the foul smell it produces.

Additionally, when one insect is able to find its way into a hole in the drain and insects crawl through breeding all the way, hence multiple and result in an infestation.

Sinkholes and cracks

When water logged in a particular spot for a prolonged period, the integrity of the ground will be compromised.

As such, the wall near the sewer starts to crack because the foundation is no longer strong enough to hold the wall, hence it starts falling apart bit by bit, causing the wall to crack. Sinkholes are also known to build up on top of the sewer belly.

Green grass growing in specific areas

Once the sewage leaks underground, a patch of grass would start growing in the yard. You will be able to easily distinguish it because the grass will be greener than other grass because it is more fertilized.

How serious is a Belly in a Sewer Line?

A belly in your sewer line can be moderate or severe, depending on its cause. It determines if the plumber would carry out a complete replacement or slightly change the pipeline position.

For instance, if a cut of tree root affects your pipeline, you will need a replacement because more water will be wasted. Meanwhile, if you have a severe belly in a sewer line, here is how serious it is.

The passage of water from your sewer line to the main system results from gravity and not any mechanical force. Hence, the presence of a belly changes the slope of the sewer line, restricting water flow.

The wastewater will move towards the second half of the sewer curve in an upward direction. It will cause sediments in the sewer pipe and accumulate water in the low area of your pipeline.

A serious belly may cause your sewer line as the soil shifts position. This is mainly because of natural causes such as earthquakes, temperature fluctuations, and excess soil hydration. Therefore, the safest method of preventing bellies in your sewer line is to carry out the appropriate installation technique.

Contractors need to compact the soil well to prevent them from loosening up. The plumber can achieve compactness by placing a bedding material as the undercover space. Although you can use gravel or sand for bedding your sewer line, sand is better than the latter.


Every sewer line is connected to a main waste treatment plant, which passes wastewater through the pipelines. Hence, your sewer should be in perfect shape in order not to affect your whole plumbing system.

Sometimes when a blockage pops up in your sewer line, you can fix the situation with the solutions above.

If you want a pipe that would last for about 50-60 years consider using the clay pipelines. Although it is old and less found in modern homes, it will save you the need to repair your sewer line more frequently.