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How to Run a Sewer Line at Your Home

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Written by Dena Bolton   

How to Run a Sewer Line at Your HomeIntro:  This is going to be an article as much about what NOT to do rather than what TO do.  Specifically, do NOT plan on running a sewer line yourself.  (Unless, of course, you are a licensed plumber.)  In most areas of the United States, if not all, a homeowner cannot run a sewer line themselves. A sewer line must be run by a licensed plumber. Permits and a final inspection are also required. If you are planning on running a sewer line, you should check the regulations for your area. After doing so, there are some things that you need to know in order to make sure that the person you hired is proceeding correctly.

Step 1:  Make sure to call 1-CALL. Most states in the United States have what is known as “1-CALL.” Before any digging is done in your yard, this call must be placed. Officials will then come to your home and mark any underground lines, such as gas and electrical.

Step 2:  Acquire the appropriate permit(s). Generally a licensed plumber must obtain the necessary permit(s) before proceeding with the installation of a sewer line.  (Note:  There will most likely be a charge for this.)

Step 2:  Locate your sewer tap. If you do not know where your sewer tap is located, you can have the city come to your home and mark its location for you.

Step 3:  It is time to dig. You will usually have to use a backhoe for digging. First dig out where the sewer line comes out from the house. Install a clean-out right outside the house. Then you (or your licensed plumber) will dig a ditch towards the sewer tap. You also need to install a clean-out plug about every 60 feet or whatever distance your city code allows.

Step 4:  Lay sewer line. Residential sewer lines are usually 4-inch pipes. When laying the sewer line, your plumber will need to have a quarter-inch fall per foot. In addition, you need to make sure that the dirt is packed firmly under the pipe to avoid any swags in the line.

Step 5:  Connect to sewer tap. When you the sewer tap is reached, a clean-out plug will have to be installed. After doing this, the sewer line can then be connected to the tap using the necessary fittings. (Different taps require different fittings.)

Step 6:  Before covering the sewer line, you an inspection must be done.

Step 7:  Once your sewer line has passed inspection, you can then cover it. Be sure not to dump heavy loads of dirt onto the newly-installed line. You do not want to cause any swags in the line.


•If you are using PVC pipe for your sewer line, be sure to get Schedule 40 pipe.

•Be sure to use the proper glue and primer when connecting pipes and fitting.  Your plumber should know this.


•DO make sure to use the “1-CALL.” You do not want to start digging and hit an underground gas or electrical line. Also, if you do not call to have the underground lines marked and you hit one, you will be charged for the cost of repairing the lines. If you do call and have it marked and then hit a line, you will not be responsible for the cost of repairs.

•DO make sure the proper permits are acquired.  If not, the city may place a "stop work" order or have you dig up whatever you have already done.  Either way, this will cost you time and money.


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