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Common issues found by lateral inspections

Regardless if you are buying a new home or an older home, you should make sure a lateral and sewer inspection is done so you know exactly what’s going on with your piping. Knowing is better than not knowing, whether its to know for sure your potential home is up-to-par or to find problems before they become wholly your responsibility.

We find possible issues by using a sewer scope camera. Once something is located we can find it on the outside and fix it from there. What are the common issues found by lateral inspections? Bellies, offset pipes, tree roots, grease build-up, cracking, pipe collapse and other defects are all common issues we can locate with a properly done inspection. Let’s discuss these problems from least common to most common.

Defects in your home

Even if your potential home is brand new its better be to safe than sorry. While it’s not as common as other problems, it is possible for accidents to be made. While building the home it’s possible to accidentally damage the sewer line and not even know it. Catching it before it becomes a big repair will save you a lot of money and stress.

Pipe bursts

You can never completely sure how well a past owner has taken care of their home before it became yours. If the past owner was a bit neglectful then pipe collapses can occur. These can occur by roots, offsets or weather-related wear on old lines. A collapse can cause full blockages and leaks. Typically is there is a full collapse of a pipe, depending on where it is, we may not be able to do a full inspection so this is vital to get fixed right away. 


Cracks commonly occur in clay or cast iron lines. Pressure can lead to hairline cracks which can vary in severity. If it’s on the top of the pipe it may not be as urgent, but if it’s on the bottom then it might need some work. Something as simple as installing a liner can reduce leakage into your lawn and help prevent further problems down the line. 

Grease buildup

Since garbage disposals are common in modern-day plumbing that means grease can build up in your line. Oil is not water-soluble and thus can stick to the pipes. If not cleaned out blockages can occur. The good news is that this is an easy problem to solve. We can power wash the line clean and you are good to go. 

Tree roots

Roots are powerful and will let nothing get in their way of growing even if that means crushing or offsetting your sewage line. A carelessly planted tree can eventually wreak havoc on your pipes, especially clay or cast iron lines. There a few solutions we can suggest, all depending on the exact situation we find. It’s a common problem with fairly easy remedies. We do recommend that if you plan on planting trees be sure you carefully consider where so you don’t cause damage later when the roots grow in. 

Offset pipes are an issue found by lateral inspections

Offset pipes

When two sections don’t quite line up, that is called being offset. It’s often environmental factors that can cause this to occur or poor installation. Depending on the severity will determine how urgently it has to be addressed. If it’s severe then this could require us to dig it up and replace it or repair it from there. If it’s not too severe then we can use trench-less technology to fix it.


Also known as a sag, its when debris collects in the low point and can disrupt system flow. Flow disruption can lead to backups or blockages which is never a good thing. Bellies can be caused by poor layout, roots or other shifting soil. This is a very common find in lateral inspections. If minor then we may not have to do anything but if severe then digging may be needed to fix it.

"Bellies" found by a lateral inspection

We all hope that your lateral inspections come back fine and that nothing is wrong, but if there is an issue found, then you’ll want to know that you have an team of expert plumbers on hand to solve it. At McClain Bros. can we not only do the inspection, but also handle any plumbing repairs you may need to your sewage, heating and plumbing systems. We ensure that if you call us that you are in good hands. So if you need an lateral inspection on a home before you buy it or need to get to a settlement, McClain Bros. are here for you.

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