How to Locate Underground Sewer Lines

Workers overseeing underground sewer lines on a street

Sewer lines are underground utility lines that are responsible for moving wastewater from your home out to the city’s sewer system. If you’re performing any outdoor work that requires deep digging, you’ll need to know where that line is to avoid severing the line and causing a huge mess in your yard.

This post from your plumbing contractors will cover how you or a professional can locate the sewer line before you start your home improvement project.

Find lines using a pipe locator

The DIYers out there will be happy to learn that they can locate their sewer pipes without the help of a professional. A pipe locator—available at any home improvement store—is a device that’s specially designed to find sewer lines.

Pipe locators come in two parts: a transmitter and a long detector line that’s fed into the ground. Set the transmitter and detector to the same frequency, and then feed the detector line about 15 feet into the drain or sewer cleanout in your yard.

Keep the locator wand pointed towards the ground, and walk around until you hear a loud beeping sound. The louder the beep, the closer you are to the end of the line.

Mark the location where you hear the beep with a utility flag, as this will help you clearly see where the line is. Next return to the drain cleanout, and unroll a bit more of the detector line. Repeat the process of walking around with the locator, marking the area with flags.

Keep in mind that these devices can cost up to $1,000. Your hardware store might have locators available for rent. Try to rent one to save yourself a ton of money on a one-time task.

Call the professionals to locate lines

While you can get the job done with a pipe locator, we don’t recommend wasting your time or energy doing it yourself. There are several professionals that can perform the task without you having to lift a finger.

You can easily contact your city’s zoning or maintenance office to have them locate the line for you. They might take a few days to come out, but you can be sure they’ll find any underground utility lines—not just your sewer.

Another option is to dial 811. This is a free service that’s dedicated to locating underground utilities. Although it depends on your home’s location, they should arrive within three business days to mark your underground utilities with flags and spray paint.

Your plumbing contractors can also do this service for you. They perform a more thorough job by also locating all of the interior pipes connected to your sewer line. These same contractors can also tackle any subsequent plumbing services you may need.

Hire us from the get-go

Instead of trying to find your sewer lines by yourself, just hire our plumbing contractors at PlumbSmart Plumbing Heating and Air. We offer a variety of sewer and plumbing services to meet all of your needs, so contact us today to see what we can do for you.