As a homebuyer, one of the biggest and most expensive problems you might come across are damaged lateral waste lines. This is very common in older homes. If you are purchasing a house in an older St. Louis neighborhood, make sure you inspect for plumbing problems and especially for any issues with the lateral waste line (a.k.a. sewer lateral).
Common Lateral Waste Line Problems
The lateral waste line is the underground pipeline that carries household waste out to the city sewer. These pipes sometimes break or collapse due to frozen ground or shifting soil. They may become corroded or cracked due to old age or freezing, clogging the line and leading to messy wastewater backup. Leaks may occur at the joints if the seals between pipes have broken. Roots from trees and shrubs can penetrate the line, causing blockages and pipe damage. Also look out for lateral waste line pipes made of low-grade material, because these tend to deteriorate and corrode.
Inspect the Lateral Waste Line Before You Buy
Antiquated cast iron pipes are common in older St. Louis homes and can cause serious problems. Once a pipe has corroded or cracked, the entire line is susceptible to leaks and root blockages. Large sections of piping may need to be dug up and replaced. These repairs can destroy your landscaping and cost you tens of thousands of dollars. If these repairs are required, be sure to negotiate the selling price down to allow for lateral waste line replacement costs before you purchase the home.
Public Sewer Lateral Repair Programs
Most areas in St. Louis have a “Sewer Lateral Repair Program” in which the city or municipality will pay to cover the cost of a lateral waste line replacement, but only if it’s outside the home. If the problem is inside, repairs are the responsibility of the homeowner. Click the following links for more information on sewer lateral programs in the City of St. Louis, Kirkwood, and Maplewood. If you need lateral waste line work done inside the home, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.
We cannot stress enough the importance of hiring licensed professionals for lateral waste line projects. If you have questions or would like an estimate for indoor repairs, call our office at (314) 965-9377 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.