Recent Advances In Sewer Inspection


Plan review, permit and inspection update during COVID-19 pandemic

Plan review:  Electronic and paper plans submitted will continue to be reviewed. Paper plans are accepted but will be processed every Tuesday. Make sure to keep copies of paper plans submitted to our office as we are not able to mail back paper plans during this time. For electronic plan review, submit plans online. Staff are working normal hours and available by phone and email.

Inspections and permits:  Online permits will continue to be issued. Paper permit applications are processed every Tuesday. Inspections continue during normal hours by contacting your regional plumbing inspector.

What you need to know:

Plumbing plans, specifications and a fee must be submitted for modification or installation of all plumbing systems that serve the public or that serve a considerable number of persons. Some of these facilities include but are not limited to restaurants, resorts, hotels, vacation home rentals, grocery stores, department stores, offices, warehouses, shops, churches, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and housings with five units or more, such as apartments and condominiums (excluding townhomes built to the International Residential Code (IRC) with individual water and sewer services to each dwelling unit).

Plan review includes all interior plumbing, building sewer and water service connections within the property lines and storm water drainage systems. A few of the items we review include adequate pipe sizing, proper pipe connections, approved pipe material, fixture specifications and backflow prevention devices.


Plumbing uses the best technology to perform pipe and sewer inspections and diagnose issues. A high-resolution video camera attached to fiber optic cables is routed through the pipe to give visual documentation of breakage or blockage in your plumbing system. This record can be used later to determine the best plan for repair.

Drain & Sewer Tips & FAQ

Most people avoid thinking about their drains or sewer system as much as possible. And while it works for a while, eventually something is bound to go wrong. To avoid issues and maintain your sewer system as long as possible, the following tips are designed to keep your lines from needing major repairs.

Avoid Blocked Drains

The first and easiest thing you can do is work to prevent major blockages in your drains. Clogs and blockages are the number one reason for major sewer line repairs and they are completely avoidable.

To start, do not put anything down the drain that your system is not designed to handle. Remember that while toilet paper actually dissolves in water over time, other types of paper do not. Napkins, sanitary products, and paper towels will remain whole in the sewer system and eventually clog your sewer line. Instead of breaking down (something toilet paper is designed to do), they absorb water and grow heavy, eventually clogging the drain, if not in your home, in the sewer line. Also avoid flushing any food, dental products or hair down the line.

If you have a child, make sure they do not put any small objects in the drain such as toys, food, or clothing. Even when something actually flushes down the drain, there is a possibility it will get stuck between your home and the final sewer outlet.

In the kitchen, avoid putting any grease or other food waste down the drain. Only use the garbage disposal for things that it can safely break up and run the faucet at the same time as you grind the food. This will ensure that it completely breaks down whatever you place inside before it is flushed through. Grease, in particular, is a major problem in pipes as it coats the lining and other items can stick to it.

Limiting Root Problems

Roots are another major issue for sewer systems that can be avoided. Most of the time, trees and shrubs are planted far from sewer lines, unless they are added after the line is installed. Make sure you know where your sewer line is located and do not place any plants with extensive root systems nearby. Additionally, keep all root systems properly watered. Roots will usually only extend toward the pipes under your home if they are looking for a water source and the sewer line can provide that source.

Performing Maintenance On Your Own Drain & Sewer

Regular maintenance on your drains goes a long way when you are trying to avoid problems in your system. Pouring boiling hot water down the drain once per week will help to break up any errant grease that may have clung on. You should also install strainers and traps wherever possible to avoid the impact of things like hair or soap scum building up in the drain.

Clear out your traps regularly as well. You can use an auger if necessary to avoid any buildup in the actual drain. If you notice any foul smells escaping your drains, it is likely due to a dried trap. If you use the fixture regularly, call a professional to have the trap and the drain attached to it checked and make sure nothing is flowing backward in your system.

Sewer Camera Inspections

we’re committed to completing your plumbing service correctly the first time. We understand that plumbing problems can be incredibly stressful and it’s important that any issues are taken care of promptly and effectively. With this in mind, we proudly rely on some of the most advanced techniques in the industry, including state-of-the-art camera inspections and a pin-point location system.

Thanks to this cutting-edge technology, we’re able to quickly and accurately provide full sewer pipe inspections without causing any unnecessary damage to your property’s plumbing systems. Instead, we’re able to nail down the exact source of the problem and get right to work making the necessary sewer repairs or replacements

What Are the Benefits of a Sewer Camera Inspection?

The process of a sewer camera inspection involves the use of a flexible rod fitted with a hi-res camera that is placed into your home’s pipes. In a matter of minutes, we’ll be able to determine the nature and location of the issue. This allows us to provide you with an accurate, upfront cost estimate for any repairs or replacements needed.

Camera inspections allow our skilled plumbers to avoid digging up your yard or cutting through walls in an effort to locate a sewer line problem. This, in turn, means less stress for you and less destruction to your home or business. Plus, it affords us greater accuracy which leads to a much faster, safer, and overall better service for you

Sewer Inspections Explained

Blocked sewer line

Most of us never think about our sewer lines until something goes wrong. The problem with this approach is that when something goes wrong with a sewer line, it can go catastrophically wrong. Your home or business’ plumbing is one its most essential systems, and having a broken or blocked sewer line can cause problems like clogged toilets and shower drains. If you’re starting to notice water coming back up out of your shower drain or gurgling noises in your toilet, it may be time to get a sewer line inspection.

Sewer line clogs are caused by a variety of different things. Some of the most frequent causes of a blocked sewer line are large solid objects obstructing the pipes, gradual food and grease buildup from the kitchen sink, and tree roots growing into the pipe and causing damage and drain speed slowing.

Plumber Pro Tip of the Week

Tip #1  Tree roots can be a particularly prevalent issue with older pipes that aren’t made of plastic.

Tip #2  Old pipes can be made of clay and other permeable or breakable materials.

Tip #3  When a tree roots sense the heat and moisture coming off of one of these pipes, it grows toward it and sometimes into it. This can lead to a bunch of roots slowing the flow of the sewer line or even the complete collapse of the sewer line.

Invest in a sewer inspection!

The health of your sewer lines is an important thing to consider if you’re interested in saving time and money and avoiding stress. Treat your sewer lines with care and avoid putting too much food and grease into your drains. If your drains are experiencing slower speeds or are at high risk for clogging (as is the case for businesses or restaurants), get an inspection. You could be saving yourself a lot of money in the future!

The Newest Way to Locate Sewer Inspection

Tips on choosing a Sewer Inspection Camera

Sewer inspection cameras are widely used by plumbers, contractors, engineers, home inspectors, municipal workers and other professionals for inspecting areas that are typically difficult to see, that is pipeline interiors, spaces behind walls, inside a drain and other hard-to-reach places. So, if you are thinking of purchasing a sewer inspection camera, first, you need to consider what it is you are going to use it for. Should it be water- and chemicals-proof? How much light will you need? How long should the insertion probe be? etc.

Insertion probe:

Length. It should be long enough to go from one manhole to another. The length of the probes varies from 20 to 120 meters (65.6′ – 394′). In case you need a more extended probe, you may need a reel with a stand to roll the probe, for additional comfort.

Material. Simple PVC covered probes are sturdy enough for most of the works but can be worn out and damaged during routine, heavy duty inspections. Some of our professional sewer inspection cameras have Kevlar braided probes. Kevlar is five times stronger than steel (used in body armor, e.g.) what makes such insertion probes considerably more durable.

If the push rod with attached cam is water- and chemicals- proof and is capable of withstanding 1-6 bar pressure – this will also provide the longevity to your device.


Illumination. Since you are planning to inspect hard-to-see areas, you will need enough light to explore it. The brighter the light source, the better is the image. Search for sewer inspection cameras with adjustable, bright LED lights.

Material. Just as the insertion probe, the camera should be at least water-proof to last you long enough. Stainless steel housing is preferable.

Type of head: standard, self-leveling, pan/tilt. While standard heads are cheaper, self-leveling and pan/tilt cameras allow you to see the sides of a pipeline, or behind the wall, go around corners and still provide you with a clear picture.

Monitor hub:

Screen. The screen should give you a clear picture of the area you are inspecting. Than wider screen and higher resolution than better. Pro models are equipped with a Daylight Readable Monitor.

Image capturing and saving. Modern sewer inspection cameras can capture different types of files with different resolution. You can save the footage either as a JPEG file or a video in MPEG, or AVI format. Being able to record images on your computer is a convenient tool since first, you don’t need to use a pen to write everything down or try to remember it. And secondly, you can always go back to the file should you, or your client, need to verify some information.

Additional features. Some modern inspection cameras are equipped with keyboards (may be splash proof on the PRO models) that allow you to type useful information during inspections

General characteristics:

Weight and handle. The sewer inspection camera should be lightweight and have a comfortable grip, especially if you are planning to use it for long periods.

Radio transmitter will be an excellent addition to the camera. It is generally located behind the camera in the tip of the probe and operates on 512 Hz frequency mode. It is a great tool to locate your camera or find blockages. Make sure you have an accurate locator to trace it.

Questions to Consider When Choosing a Pipe Inspection System

Pipe Inspection and location systems represent a significant investment for most small businesses. In return, they offer unique diagnostic and marketing potential that can either save or earn a tremendous amount of money for your company.  Choosing the right system for your needs is a task that should be taken with serious attention to detail in order to avoid a costly mistake

What size pipes/drains/sewers are you likely to be inspecting?

The great divide in pipe inspection systems is between push rod and tractor pull style systems. Which style do you need? Tractor pull systems are generally for large, municipal style drain pipes (10 inch and larger) and pull themselves down the line. They tend to be controlled with a joystick and computer system by an operator sitting in a specially made truck or van. Prices begin in the high 30 thousands and go up from there. They are outfitted with additional lighting and swivel heads to look left, right, up and down. They are usually purchased by municipalities and larger companies.

Micro-systems, designed for 1 1/2 to 3-inch pipes. Due to the flexibility required for this size pipe, these push rods are very thin and weak. (Keep in mind that there is an inverse relationship between strength and flexibility.) If used in larger pipes, the probability of damage to the structure of the push rod is very high. They seldom have a built-in locator beacon, and may or may not have a built-in recording device.

Mini-systems, designed for 2 to 4-inch pipes. These systems are used for indoor work in the small and medium-sized pipes that connect bathrooms, sinks and toilets within a building. The push rod used in these units is stronger and less flexible than a micro unit, but the emphasis is still on flexibility, not strength. If used in larger pipes, these systems are at greater risk of kinking and damage. They usually have built-in locator beacons and often have the option of a built-in recording system.

Main line systems, designed for 3 to 12-inch lines. These systems are designed for use in outdoor pipes. While flexible enough to negotiate a house trap, the emphasis is on strength rather than flexibility. These systems generally have the same features as Mini-Systems

Do you need a built-in recording device?

Do you need to provide proof of performance? If so, having a built-in recording device can save you time and money. Do you want to use the camera system as a marketing tool in addition to being a diagnostic tool? Is your primary focus the drain cleaning job, or are you actually in the pipe replacement/relining business? If you only need to take a ‘look-see,’ you don’t need a built-in recording device. For those rare instances when you need a recording, there are add-on recording devices available from most electronic retailers that are more economical and will work with any video device.


A septic system can last up to 25 years, though this depends on how well it’s maintained as well as its design. Even so, there are times when major issues happen leaving one with no choice but to call plumbing experts. Some of these problems are so serious that it becomes necessary to inspect sewer pipe lining underground.

Deep disruptions call for working on pipes connecting your house to the municipality’s main water supply or sewer. Thanks to technology such as camera inspections, locating the source of a problem in a sewer lining isn’t much difficult. In fact, the use of cameras during sewer line inspection saves on time, and thus spares your hard-earned money too. But what problems warrant a water line excavation?


Water and sewer lines get damaged whenever soil expands and consequently causes pipes to shift. Tree and plant roots are yet another cause of trouble that makes water line excavations necessary. After a while, the roots invade main water pipes and cause breaks and cracks in the process. The pipes in your home then start draining slower, and this tells you that it’s time to seek professional help. Ignoring will only make the problem worse and you might end up paying a fortune.


Truth be told, excavation work isn’t for every Tom, Dick, and Harry, and that’s why you need to check for certification. Serious players in this line of work will always have their documentation in order. With proper certification, you can be sure that you are dealing with people trained to handle jobs like water line excavation.


A lot could go wrong when going about tasks such as water line excavation. The slightest mistake could set in motion other issues that could be pricey to fix. However, an experienced company knows all the dos and don’ts to ensure the job is done correctly from the beginning to the end.

Why a Sewer Inspection Is Critical Before Buying a House

Most home buyers today wouldn’t think about closing their purchase without getting a general house inspection. That’s particularly so with older homes, but many also elect to have new buildings examined by an independent third party. Inspections are excellent insurance for discovering existing and potential problems. Unfortunately, most home inspectors fail to examine the sewer lines, which can turn out to be a critical and costly mistake

Home inspectors generally report on current home system conditions. They also estimate the life expectancy of major components. Types of home inspections include the overall framing or structure, roof, building envelope, electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems. Inspection reports identify issues that often establish repair or replacement price adjustments during negotiations. However, while a home inspector may note a dripping faucet, they rarely catch the underlying cause of the problem.

Why Inspectors Overlook Sewer Systems

Inspectors might overlook the sewer system for two reasons. One is that the vast majority of a sewer system is underground. It’s out of sight and out of mind. The second reason is that most home inspectors don’t have the specialized equipment or knowledge necessary to do a proper sewer line inspection.

This isn’t a slam against house inspectors. Far from it. Many inspectors are extremely competent and have a vast amount of general building knowledge. It’s tough to be an overall expert when you consider just how many pieces there are in a home’s systems. Just the plumbing system alone is extensive, and good inspectors know what plumbing features to check before buying a home.

Sewer Repairs Can Be Extremely Expensive

You might wonder, “Do I need a sewer line inspection before buying a house?” The answer is yes. A sewer inspection should be a mandatory part of your house inspection checklist. When considering what inspections to get when buying a house, do not overlook the sewer line. In fact, getting a sewer inspection is one of the most important home inspection tips for first-time buyers. Sewer line inspections are cheap, but sewer repairs can be extremely expensive. Why spend the money on a repair when you could have avoided with a simple inspection?

Sewer Camera Inspection: What It Can and Can’t Find

A sewer camera is a valuable tool to help determine if there’s a problem with your home’s sewer system. Maybe you noticed a nasty sewer gas odor. Or maybe your water isn’t draining as fast as it use to. Or worse, you’ve got an overflowing toilet.

What is a Sewer Camera Inspection?

First, let’s cover what a sewer camera inspection is. Typically sewer lines are installed under the foundation of your house. There’s the concrete slab which is about 4 or 5 five inches thick and then about 2 feet or so of dirt above the pipe.

What a Sewer Camera Inspection Can’t Do

Despite what many in the plumbing industry think, there are limitations to what a sewer camera sees inside your sewer lines. But there is one thing a sewer camera absolutely cannot see.

Locate Leaks

A sewer camera alone cannot determine if you have a leak or to locate a leak or leaks in your sewer lines. In fact, this is so important, it bears repeating.

Reasons Why a Sewer Camera Can’t Locate a Leak

A leak is water escaping the pipe through a hole, break, or crack. Since the camera is inside the pipe, it cannot see the outside of the pipe. Meaning, it can’t see if something is leaking OUT of the pipe. It can only show what is going on INSIDE the pipe.

The plumber is looking at a monitor displaying what the camera “sees.” So the plumber has to interpret, or guess, what he’s seeing. He might think he see something that looks like a hole, break, or crack in the pipe. But keep in mind, this is your sewer system we’re talking about. This is where your waste flushes and runs through. Trust us when we say it does not look good. And all that gunk and waste makes it hard to tell if something is a leak based solely on what can be seen on the monitor.

Sewer pipes are usually one of two types: cast iron or PVC, both thick-walled pipes. So something very possibly might look like a hole or a crack or a break. But because the walls of the pipe are so thick, it’s possible what the plumber is seeing does not go all the way through the pipe so no water is leaking out at all. The result: no leak.

Particularly with cast iron, but this could also be true for PVC, there are years of buildup on the walls of the pipe. Calcium, soap scum, grease, debris… you name it, builds up on the walls of your sewer pipes. So any cracks or holes the plumber sees could very well be in the buildup and not the actual pipe.

Reasons To Do Sewer Inspection Lines

Sewer Inspection of Drains, Do I Really Need That?

Let me set the stage for you. You have a 20+ year old home. As the homeowner, you have had the toilets replaced, water pressure Sewer-Inspection2checked, kitchen drains replaced, and numerous other cosmetic plumbing services done to the house. One night you are on the lower level of the house and you hear running water, but you are not sure where so you get up to investigate. After looking around, you come to the bathroom and you see water pouring out of the toilet. What in the world is going on!

Turns out once the water was turned off, and the plumber came out to check out the drains with a camera, there was a blockage in the pipe along with a tree root that had grown through the pipe. So not only had a tree been growing through the pipe for many years, the paper that was being flushed was silently filling up the areas that the root had not gotten to yet until the drain could not dispose of the water properly. We can say the owners of the household were unaware that this could happen and had never heard of a sewer video inspection before their toilet backed up.

Sewer line inspection should be a requirement for older homes, or if you are purchasing a new home. Yet, it is left off the inspection list. Video inspections can provide views of the pipes so that you can see if there are cracks, separation, tree roots, pipe collapse, and even defects in the sewer line that might be caused by the city sewer lines. If you are buying a new home, this information could be quite pivotal in determining the purchasing price, or if you want to buy the house at all.

Here at AllGood Plumbing, we strongly suggest having your sewer inspected with a camera, especially since Georgia homeowners love the trees that grow around their homes. These trees can be competing with your sewer drains, and the tree will win out. The same goes for paper blockage in a drain that may be damaged or not draining properly, with enough time the drain will also stop working and your house will reap the damage it produces.

Let AllGood’s highly trained plumbing professionals come out and do a sewer inspection of your house’s drains. Let us find the problem before you do. We have a coupon on our website for a sewer inspection. With the coupon, the inspection is currently $139. A great deal to find a problem before it becomes an expensive problem.

Do I Need a Home Sewer Inspection?

The most common problem with many sewer lines is backups caused by roots. Roots are attracted to the rich nutrients found in main sewer pipe systems. Tree roots can grow into plumbing lines through even the smallest seam or crack and may continue to grow over time. They eventually lead to blockages, overflows, and in some cases heavily damaged lines.

What is a Sewer Pipe Inspection

A sewer pipeline camera inspection to view the condition of sewer and drain lines is a necessity if home or business owners have constant backups and blockage, root intrusion, or are purchasing a new home. Because most sewer lines are installed under the home and in the ground, there is no accurate way to determine the condition of the line and whether it requires replacement without the help of a professional contractor

If there are objects in the line, roots, or heavy buildup, eventually the system will clog and could overflow into homes causing water damage, hence requiring expensive sewer cleanup services.

Do I Need  a Home Sewer Inspection

The only way to accurately diagnose a sewer line problem is with a professional sewer camera inspection. A camera may show homeowners several important things that can help them to plan ahead and avoid further damage.

Frequent Drain Backups – For home and business owners experiencing frequent sewer line backups, a sewer camera is crucial. Drain lines back up when there are blockages such as root intrusion, hard scale buildup, objects in the line, or broken and damaged sewer pipes. Various causes of blockages can be found in newer homes, but are definitely an issue with older homes. As homes age, so do the pipes servicing the drains. Deterioration, breaks from shifting earth or roots, and objects in the line can be viewed only with a sewer camera inspection.


Would you buy a home before checking out the interior or walking around the yard? Probably not. Most prospective buyers look at a house from top to bottom, hiring an inspector to go over the property with a fine-tooth comb. But despite all the scrutiny, sewer lines are seldom examined.


A lot of thought and care goes into finding the right home, so you want to make sure the home you choose is ready for move-in as soon as you are. Older neighborhoods sometimes have clay or concrete pipes and sewers made from these materials are particularly vulnerable to damage by tree roots. Roots are drawn to moisture that seeps from leaking or cracked pipes


Historic homes in southeast Portland and other areas predate city sewers. In these homes, cesspools were often used. When neighborhoods connected to sewer lines, the cesspools were sometimes connected to the sewer line.


It’s not just century-old homes that can have problems, though. It’s a good idea to have a sewer inspection in a home that’s over 20 years old. Two decades is ample time for tree roots to grow and problems to develop.


A qualified plumbing company can do a sewer inspection. When Apollo inspects a sewer, we attach a small video camera to a snake. The snake is inserted into the pipes. A plumber views a monitor that shows the progress of the camera through the sewer.

How Does Sewer Line Camera Inspection Work?

These days objects are getting smaller and smaller and cameras are no different. From big, bulky equipment, cameras have since changed and gotten smaller and smaller. It is small enough to fit on the back of most smartphones while still being able to capture high-resolution images.

Since cameras have become so tiny now, they have gained more applications not just for spy and undercover operations but for the plumbing industry as well, which is very helpful.

Instead of having to use big manual tools, listening gear or even having to dig up an entire area just to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem in pipes which also involved a lot of trial and error, plumbers now have the option to inspect pipes and sewer lines using miniature cameras specifically made for that purpose.

What Type of Camera is Used to Inspect Sewer Lines?

There is a specific type of camera used for sewer line inspections and it’s called a sewer inspection camera or a sewer pipe camera.

This is a tiny, flexible camera which is purpose-built to be snaked into sewer lines and pipes to allow an ocular examination of the sewer pipes or lines located underneath houses, buildings or roads. Most of the sewer inspection cameras are fit to use for either huge pipes or tight drains

What to Expect from a Sewer Camera Inspection

Not all homeowners can be as lucky as the French police when looking in their sewer system. The police managed to find $25 million worth of stolen Harry Winston jewels. Putting a sewer camera in a home’s drains can provide a wealth of valuable insight though. Homeowners can resolve blockages and find out the health of their lines.

What is a Sewer Camera?

Sewer cameras assist plumbers to view the main sewer line and pipes. There is a small camera mounted on the end of a flexible cable. Professional versions will have powerful lights mounted with the camera. This makes looking at the pipes easier.

The Benefit of Using a Camera

By using a camera homeowners can have confidence in the health of their plumbing system instead of guessing what problems might lie below.

When to Use a Sewer Camera

There are three times when a homeowner should consider getting a sewer inspection. They are useful when buying a home, planning a remodel, or if you’re experiencing issues.


Prices vary for this service, and with that so does quality. Ask beforehand if you are able to watch the inspection yourself while it is happening live. Also ask if you are able to get a copy of the video file, and if that will cost you any more on top of the fee for the inspection.