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How A Clogged Sewer Line Can Turn Explosive

Why Clogged Sewer Lines Stink

By: | May 15, 2014 6:25 pm

Most every homeowner will share with you that the inconvenience of a clogged drain or toilet is just part of the deal. But a clogged sewer line can be much more troubling and serious. If you find you have a clogged sewer, you should know about a troublesome situation called cross bore. This is when a gas line inadvertently is installed through your sewer line. And here’s the danger… Should a drain cleaning devise or auger pierce a gas line, the results can be catastrophic. Gas can escape the pipe, migrate into your home, and if not detected, can create the potential for an explosion. Watch this video. What are the signs that a tool cleaning a sewer pipe has pierced a natural gas pipe?

  • A natural gas odor at the cleanout or inside the building served by the sewer line.
  • Bubbles rising through standing water or in the toilet bowl.


If these signals are present:

  • Immediately have everyone evacuate the premises
  • Leave the doors open
  • Do not turn on or off any light switches, or use other sources of electronic ignition such as garage door openers
  • From a safe distance, call 9-1-1 for immediate assistance

Prevention is just a call away. Should your sewer line become clogged or is slow to drain, your first call (either by you or your sewer cleaner) should be to the natural gas utility serving your area. Xcel Energy’s dedicated 24-hour Gas Emergency number is 1-800-895-2999 Why call? First, you or your plumber need to determine if the natural gas pipe was inadvertently installed through your sewer pipe. The mechanical equipment used to unclog sewer lines can pierce the natural gas pipe and lead to the dangerous release of natural gas into your home.

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