What Is a Sewer Camera Inspection?

by | Sep 8, 2022 | Blog, News

If you’ve done any research on sewer line issues, you’ve probably seen much information about “sewer cameras” or “video pipe cameras.” Any sewer camera inspector or plumber worth any value will utilize this visual inspection technique when diagnosing sewer backups or any other sewer pipe drainage issues. It is worth the time and effort to know what sewer camera inspections are and what their purpose in the event that a sewer problem presents itself at your home or rental property.


The purpose of a sewer inspection camera is to be able to see what the source of the problem that is causing a blockage or backup inside the sewer pipe or drain pipe without having to excavate your yard. The snake camera is a valuable tool in eliminating the guess work when it comes to sewer line problems. Because sewer line repairs and sewer pipe replacements are no inconsequential projects, this pipe camera inspection will assist homeowners and business owners avoid expensive repairs without knowing for certain that proposed work is necessary.

A small, flexible and water resistant drain line camera is attached to a snake-like cable that plumbers send through the sewer pipe until it reaches the root cause of the problem. Many of this sewer cameras are designed with a transmitting signal that transmit a radio signal that can be detected above ground with a sewer camera wand that will target the location where the sewer camera as identified the problem. Some of the sewer camera locators will not only identify the location of the problem but also annotate how deep the problem is in the ground. This sewer camera process will hep you not only identify the problem but also aid you in budgeting for the repair of the issue.


A sewer inspection camera can identify nearly any problem with your sewer line, but these are some of the most common:

  • Tree / Plant root penetration:

    One of the most common issues with old pipes made out of clay, cast iron, or other porous materials. Tree roots and other large landscaping plants seek out water sources as they grow, because that is the way they are created. If this thirsty and growing plants find a crack in your sewer pipe, they’ll grow into it to get to the water inside. The intruding roots cause waster materials to build up and block water and waste flow.

  • Damaged, Broken, or collapsed pipes:

    Since the sewer camera feeds along the pipe itself at the bottom of the pipe, the sewer camera inspector will be able to identify if the pipe has collapsed, been compromised by roots, or has become damaged.

  • Major blockages:

    Sometimes your pipes are in good working order, but years of sending waste material down the pipes that should go in the trashcan has caused a considerable blockage. This blockage is usually caused by a buildup of grease, disposable wipes, non-disposable products, and sadly, those items that children flush down the drain.

  • Sagging or billowing sewer lines:

    When a section of the sewer pipe begins to sag or bow underground, waste gets caught in the bellied section. The solid waste and paper will have a tendency to pile up in this area and not allow a smooth flow of waste to continue.


Once your sewer pipe inspector identifies the root cause of the sewer line issue, you may have various options to consider for resolution.

Traditional Sewer Repair & Replacement

If the sewer camera inspection identifies that your sewer line is sagging, bellied, or collapsed, traditional repair will be your only option. A plumbing company will be required to expose your failed sewer line and repair or replace the section of pipe causing the issue. In most cases, the sewer line will be replaced as the excavating equipment will most like damage the sewer line during the process of digging. This obtrusive method will cause damage to other parts of your property such as concrete walkways and driveways, and existing landscaping. Of course if the root cause of the problem was root migration most homeowners and business owners will choose not to replant any other large growing shrubbery or trees over the repaired area.

Trenchless Sewer Repair & Replacement

The trenchless sewer repair method is much less invasive and damaging to your property than traditional trench digging. Trenchless pipe cleaning will typically require that a jetter be used. Most sewer lines have an access point to introduce a sewer inspection camera or jetter machine. The jetter systems is designed to be used with high pressure water to blast out and clean out the clogged area. This sewer line cleaning method is very effective with cleaning grease clogs or other non-biodegradable sewer line blockages.

Most sewer camera professionals will perform a ‘before and after’ sewer camera inspection for their customers. They will show their customer the reason why the extensive work of using a sewer line jetter or excavating work to address their issues. This ensures confidence that not only that the work was necessary but also that it was completed properly.

USA Borescopes provides may options when it comes to sewer inspection cameras for professionals and novices. Please contact us if you have any questions. Our borescopes sales and service team is ready to help with al of your visual inspection requirements.