There’s arguably nothing more frustrating to a Minneapolis homeowner than a sewer line problem. They seem to come out of nowhere, can disrupt all your plumbing, and often demand your immediate attention. The key to solving these issues quickly, and with minimal damage to your property and wallet, is recognizing the troubles early and then and having them properly repaired.

Warning signs

While it’s not always easy to tell when a sewer line issue is developing, you definitely know when it becomes a problem. The tell-tale signs are:

  • Water won’t flow down pipes.
  • Drains become puddles.
  • Raw sewage backs out of drains or toilets.
  • Water pools in unexpected places.
  • One water source causes a reaction somewhere else (e.g. you flush a toilet and water comes out of the tub, or after running the washing machine the toilet overflows).
  • Gurgling sounds from toilet or sink.

If you have any of these symptoms, the next step is to determine if you’re dealing with something related to your secondary sewer lines or the main sewer line. The sewer pipes in your house are designed similar to the branches on a tree — there is one main, trunk line that takes all waste water to the sewer and then there are various secondary lines (branches) that lead to the main line. Dilemmas isolated to a single area, such as a kitchen sink, are likely secondary pipe issues. On the other hand, if any water you run causes some type of trouble then there’s likely a difficulty with the main line.


Over time, lines can clog, break, and even collapse — all of these issues can lead to serious home damage if not remedied. There are a variety of source problems that lead to the need for sewer line repair but some of the most common are:

  • Buildup of foreign objects – Grease, food, hair, and even some toilet papers can clog in pipes.
  • Rust – Older, metal pipes can eventually rust and erode, which leads to cracks and leaks.
  • Tree roots – As tree roots spread, they can infiltrate or even totally crush a sewer line. This is a common nuisance during Minneapolis summers, since trees are growing and their roots are widening out in search of water.
  • Corrosion of pipe joints – The joints and seals between pipes are particularly susceptible to damage and are often the point of failure (especially when substandard materials were used during installation).
  • Shifting ground – The freezing and thawing of soil as well as other natural factors can cause the ground to shift or move. When this happens, sewer lines can collapse, bulge, and crack.

rusting pipe

Even when you know the usual signs and causes of sewer problems, it can still be difficult to diagnose the particular issue you’re facing. That’s why, if you have any doubts, it’s always best to call a professional plumber for assistance. They can help you avoid unnecessary trial and error and quickly solve the dilemma before it causes any further harm to your home.


Sewer line repairs range from simple drain uncloggings to main sewer line replacement. Of course, the extensiveness of your repair is entirely dependent on the complication you’re having; some issues you might be able to remedy yourself while others require a plumber. For instance, you may be able to fix a minor sink clog with a plunger or plumber’s snake (avoid harsh chemical drain cleaners), but most other issues need the skills and tools of a professional.

What does a sewer line repair entail?

In the past, main sewer line repair meant digging a massive hole in your yard just to diagnose the problem. Luckily, those days are in the past and well-equipped plumbers now use sewer cameras to see and locate the exact location of the break, blockage, or damage. With modern equipment, many difficulties can be solved without bringing out the backhoe — so don’t settle for a plumber who immediately insists on digging up your yard.


Some of the possible remedies for sewer line problems are:

  • Install a pipe liner – A pipe liner, or a “cured in place pipe” involves blowing resin inside a damaged line to essentially create a pipe inside a pipe. This slightly reduces the diameter of the line but doesn’t affect water flow and only requires digging one, small access hole.
  • Pipe “bursting” – With this method, the existing line is broken apart as a new line is pushed through it. The plumber may need to dig a few access holes but no major trenches are needed.
  • Routing – Routing is used to clear away blockages and to cut back invading tree roots. Just keep in mind, with tree roots, this method is only a temporary fix, as the roots will eventually grow back.
  • Trenching – In some cases, digging a trench is the only or best option. This is usually the case during new construction or when pipes are in particularly bad shape.

What We Do

If you live in or around Minneapolis, Minnesota and are having trouble with your sewer lines, Dusty’s Drain Cleaning & Plumbing is here to help. We use state-of-the-art equipment to solve your issues efficiently and with as little disruption to your yard as possible. We also offer an annual maintenance service, so you can avoid many of these problems before they start.

We serve all the greater metro area, including St. Francis, Elk River, Zimmerman, Princeton, Blaine, Coon Rapids, and Big Lake.

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