Inland Camera Inspection

 

Inland Camera Inspection

Inland Camera Inspection is dedicated to homeowners, real estate agents, lenders, house flippers, rental property owners and property managers. This site is used to better understand sewer camera inspections when faced with plumbing, water and sewer line issues.
 
Camera Technician operating sewer camera for inspection
Here Technician Dave operates camera for customer’s sewer camera inspection.
 

What is a sewer camera ?

A sewer camera is a device that produces video images of your sewer lines.  This specialized device is heavily built to take the rigors of the poisonous and corrosive gas environment. (It is the gasses between the liquids and the top portion of the sewer line that can decay the sewer pipes due to these same gasses eating away at the sewer lines).

These inspection cameras are made to be knocked around while traversing your sewer lines, and relay back to the technician video images of the condition of your sewer lines. 

What is a sewer camera inspection?

A sewer camera inspection consists of sending a sewer line camera into your sewer line to judge the condition of your sewer lines. These inspections can locate the changes in direction your sewer line takes as well as depth readings at certain points.

The sewer inspection camera can also locate lost cleanout locations as well.  The sewer camera has the ability, through a competent operator, to determine the type of pipe your sewer lines are made out of.  Whether Orangeburg, clay, or PVC etc.  The technician will be able to tell you not only what type of pipe you have, but also the condition of your sewer lines.

What is Orangeburg pipe I hear so much about and does it affect me?

Orangeburg pipe was commonly made available from the early 1940’s to the early 1970’s.  It was comprised of layers of cellulose, asbestos, then saturated with coal tar mixes.  This ‘tar paper’ of sorts, was rolled into cylindrical shape to form a pipe.

Overtime, this impregnated tar paper makeup starts to deteriorate from not only sewer gases, but the weight of the earth above the sewer pipe constantly bearing down on it and eventually crushing it.   (Modern sewer plastics used in sewer pipe can show elongation due to the weight of the earth.  Earth weights can exert incredible force against sewer lines and other utilities as well.  Also, delamination is a common occurrence with Orangeburg pipe.

There is a good chance that if your home was built between the early 1940’s and early 70’s, you may have Orangeburg pipe.  Below you can see the breakdown of Orangeburg pipe that was commonly used for sewer drainage pipe.  

Inland Camera Inspection shows tree root infusion into Orangeburg sewer pipe in Spokane Washington uncovered by an Inland Trenchless crew.
This is what tree root intrusion looks like when Orangeburg pipe is uncovered in your yard. You can clearly see the effects that not only tree roots play in the degradation of sewer lines, but Orangeburg’s defective material makeup as well. Image: Inland Camera Inspection/Inland Trenchless Inc.

 

Image of collapsed Orangeburg pipe pulled from Inland Trenchless customer in Spokane Washington
Collapsed Orangeburg pipe section pulled from an
Inland Trenchless customer’s yard in Spokane Washington.

Can the camera also inspect my waterline?  How about my storm sewer?

Normally, a dedicated camera for waterlines can be used but never be used for sewer inspections.  Contamination would certainly ensue by doing so.  Larger drained waterlines can be camera inspected under certain circumstances, but normally, not residential service lines.   (The camera lens suffers when surrounded with water).

Can a sewer camera inspect my septic system for clogging issues? 

Yes and no.  There are certain areas of your septic system that can be inspected with a sewer camera but there are limitations.  These limitations are due to design obstructions.  Such septic line obstructions include the septic tank itself, any junction boxes and any sharp turn tee’s in the system can impede the camera.  Basically, any obstruction that stops the camera head from being snaked down the line are the limits of using a camera for septic inspections.

What can be inspected with a sewer camera concerning my septic system?

When used for septic system troubleshooting and diagnosis, the sewer inspection camera can be used in the sewer line from the house to the first cleanout, usually located just on the outside of the home, and then snaked to the septic tank.  

If the lids are removed from the septic tank, the line from the tank to the junction box may be snaked, but this all depends on further obstructions in the system, ie; design constraints, cleanouts, clogs, root intrusions, collapses etc. 

Are there sewer camera limitations?

Yes, there are limitations when using a sewer camera to locate clogs and other pipe damage.  When the sewer camera comes into contact with a clog, many times the camera cannot proceed further down the sewer line because the clog is really bound up tight in the sewer line.  Sometimes the camera operator can simply push the clog down the line and out into the sewer main, but this not always the reality.  These sewer inspection cameras are costly and are also costly to repair.  When the sewer camera comes into contact with a clog with heavy buildup, then the only real answer is to have the sewer line cleaned by a drain cleaning company.  These clogs can also be due to tree roots growing in the sewer line due to the sewer pipe having been damaged.  This damage could be caused by any number of issues, but the more common issues are tree root buildup, collapsed lines; due to the weight of the earth above the line, flushing objects down a toilet or drain that should not be tossed down the drain. (Baby wipes are a HUGE problem with clogging sewer lines).  Often the sewer line has reached its age limit for functionality and simply has to be replaced.  

Where does the Camera technician gain access to the sewer line?

The sewer camera technician can sometimes gain access through existing cleanouts, roof plumbing vents or even in some instances by pulling the toilet and send the inspection camera down the pipe your toilet was hooked up to. 

I heard that a sewer camera can locate the actual depth and location of my sewer clog.  Is that true?

Yes! Many times more advanced sewer inspection cameras can not only tell you what the issue is with your sewer lines, but tell you the depth and exact location of the problem.  (This is important because if your problem is in a yard or under a slab it’s better to know exact locations so you aren’t destroying your entire yard or ripping up entire concrete slabs for repair).

 

Who do I contact if I need the services of a camera inspection technician?

In Eastern Washington you may contact Inland Trenchless, the people that sponsored this page.  Call 509-655-3360. We appreciate your business!