Sewer Camera Inspections Revealed

A sewer camera inspection is a vital part of keeping your property’s sewer line working properly and effectively. Whether it’s a residential or commercial property, a sewer camera inspection can help property owners maintain their sewer line and identify issues before they become a bigger problem.

What is a Sewer Camera Inspection?

sewer camera inspection is a process that inspects a property’s sewer line by inserting a video camera in the sewer pipe. Potential issues can be identified and located with a high resolution video camera. Some problems that can be identified are leaks, cracks, breaks and blockages, such as roots.

The Sewer Camera Inspection Process

A sewer camera inspection, done properly, could mean the difference between lots of time and expense wasted (without being any closer to knowing what the problem is)—and getting a clear read on the problem with the “best case” advisement given as to how to solve it.

A service technician finds a point of access, such as a sewer clean out. A camera is then fed into the sewer pipe and run through the entire length of the sewer line until it reaches the city’s sanitary main. Throughout this process, the sewer line is inspected for flaws. See the video below for an example of a sewer camera inspection.

Why Obtain a Sewer Camera Inspection?

A sewer camera inspection is critical to keeping your sewer line working properly. Sewer camera inspections are able to identify issues within your sewer line, before there is a backup event. Problems that can cause a backup event are:

  • Clogged/blocked sewer pipes
  • Root intrusions
  • Cracked/broken sewer pipes

Although a small crack or blockage may not seem like a big deal, these issues can quickly become a major problem – and cost you a lot of time and money trying to diagnose or repair them.

Sewer Compliance with EBMUD PSL Ordinance

Sewer camera inspections are also an integral part of becoming compliant with the EBMUD PSL Program.

In 2011, the East Bay Municipal District (EBMUD) established the East Bay Regional Private Sewer Lateral Program. This requires properties in the East Bay area (including Oakland, Alameda, Albany, Emeryville, Piedmont, Kensington, El Cerrito and Richmond) to pass a sewer lateral inspection and receive a Compliance Certificate when:

  • Buying/selling property
  • Building/remodeling a property (in excess of $100,000)
  • Changing the size of your water meter

Before scheduling an EBMUD verification test, it’s highly recommended to conduct a sewer camera inspection to identify any required repairs to receive a passing verification test.

Learn more about EBMUD PSL Compliance »

The Cost of a Sewer Camera Inspection

When looking for a sewer camera inspection, it’s important to remember that a camera inspection is an investment. A discovery during the inspection process could help prevent a much larger problem. A small fee now can help you save thousands in additional repair and replacement costs when you receive a thorough sewer camera inspection.

You may also find many professionals offering “free” camera inspections. It’s important to keep in mind that these “free” inspections often end up costing you in the form of hidden fees or related charges. Always ask for the true cost of a camera inspection.

Tips for Your Sewer Camera Inspection

Be Wary of “Free” Camera Inspections

As mentioned above, many sewer professionals might persuade you with “free” camera inspections, but they often come with an associated cost. These additional costs can include:

  • Service charge added to the final cost of the project
  • Fee for a copy of the camera inspection (DVD, electronic, etc.)

If a professional or company is offering you a free sewer camera inspection, make sure you know exactly what it is you’re receiving – and always ask about additional costs and fees to determine whether “free” really means free.

Always Be Present for Your Camera Inspection

A sewer camera inspection is non-intrusive and easy to observe. A homeowner should always be invited to be present for a camera inspection and should be given details and insight into anything found during the sewer camera inspection process.

Remember: you should always make a sound, informed decision about a sewer lateral replacement or repair. Taking someone’s word for it does not allow you to make the best decision for your home.

Ask the Right Questions for Your Camera Inspection

Make sure you’re asking the right questions when searching for a sewer camera inspection professional. Some questions to ask include:

  • Can you confirm the depth at the house, curb and city main?
  • Is the line made of more than one material? Is it cast iron, clay or Orangeburg?
  • Can you show me on the video what portions of my line will not hold pressure?
  • Can you record the inspection for my review?

A professional should always be able to provide the answers to these questions and the information you’re asking about. Find a partner that will work with you to meet your needs and give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

Take Care of Your Sewer Pipes BEFORE an Inspection

Often times, a camera inspection will show clogged or blocked sewer pipes. Unfortunately, a lot of these blockages are easily preventable with proper care and maintenance. This means not flushing or disposing items down your drains, including:

  • “Flushable” wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Feminine products
  • Excess toilet and facial tissue

Flushing or disposing of these items can block pipes themselves or cause a backup event in the pipes. Taking proper care of your sewer line can help your sewer line last for years to come.

Sewer Camera Inspection Services from Pipe Spy

When selecting a professional for a sewer camera inspection, it’s important to look for two things: experience and trust.

At Pipe Spy, we deliver competent service and more than 40+ years of knowledge and experience solving sewer problems in Oakland, CA and the surrounding Bay Area. We have a longstanding track record of excellence in our communities, employing the highest standards when our customers entrust us to get the job done right, even when presented with challenges outside the “norm.”

Our sewer camera inspections use the latest technologies and equipment to give you a thorough view of your sewer line to provide you with an accurate estimate and no surprise costs. We also provide our customers with a digital copy of every inspection – leaving you with less wait time and leaving less of a carbon footprint with numerous DVDs.

Interested in partnering with Pipe Spy and scheduling your sewer camera inspection? We have served Oakland, Berkeley, and the surrounding Bay Area since 1998. Contact our team to schedule your sewer camera inspection.