OCT 17, 2016

What’s that smell?! Three words you never want to hear in your place of business. Nothing drives traffic away quicker that stinky smells wafting from your building. We don’t often think of commercial properties having sewer line issue, but the fact is that many of the customers we call on have commercial plumbing problems.


There are a few reasons your commercial property may fall victim to drain issues. The first and most common is simply buildup from dirt, debris, and mineral deposits. Over time, the items that we flush down drains over and over again can start to accumulate.

Damaged pipes can be the result of one or more unfortunate circumstances.

  • Blockage: Probably the reason for most commercial sewer hindrances. Grease buildup and or  foreign objects can restrict or completely forbid proper flow. On occasion, blockages can also prohibit effective cleaning procedures of a commercial sewer drain.
  • Roots in sewer line: Tree or shrub roots intrude on the location of the sewer pipe. Often the roots grow through a weak point in the sewer line causing it to break as the root increases in size. If left long enough, the roots will grow down the sewer line eventually causing a complete blockage.
  • Settling: More familiar to Arizona is settling. Settling happens when the ground compacts at uneven levels. This can cause pipes to offset, which could cause a collapse.
  • Leaking joints: The seals of the connection points either break or were installed incorrectly allowing the water to run into the surrounding area.
  • Cave In: Pipes that are broken, cracked, or sometimes offset can collapse.
  • Outdated Pipes: Old pipes or pipes made of substandard materials were installed and have now failed in one or more of the aforementioned ways.


If your sewer drain is backed up you can probably guess at some of the indicators. Smells wafting from sink drains, floor drain, and bathroom facilities bespeak of issues that need quick attention.

Gurgling drains are another revealing element. Gurgling drains are telling you that there is something affecting water flow.

For those with kitchens on their commercial properties, water draining from one appliance or sink and coming up in another appliance or sink is a definite indication of drainage issues. If this happens, you likely have a blockage. You’ll want to call out an expert immediately to ensure the blockage is gone, but we also know that sometimes you’re in the middle of service and need a quick fix. We have a few troubleshooting ideas below.


Commercial plumbing systems are typically more complicated than residential plumbing systems, however, they do share some elements. For those we recommend:

Plunger: a tried and true plunger can help unclog some of the most stubborn toilet issues. A clean plunger can also be effective for clogged sink drain, provided they don’t have a garbage disposal. Plunge a few times then allow the water pressure to push the clog down the drain. After 3 minutes, try again.

Hot Water: For stinky smells emanating from drains, try dumping a bucket or two of hot water down the drain. The hot water has a better chance of breaking apart the clog than cool water.

Trenching: Some sewer issues are extremely complicated and requiring opening up the ground outside (of sometimes inside) your commercial building. This can be expensive and may require you to shut down your business. We know how important it is to keep your business running, which is why we have the Donley Trenchless Option.

The Trenchless option allows us to create only two small holes at either end of the sewer system.  Using our advanced equipment, a large cone-shaped object is pulled through the old pipe, which forces it to break apart. At the same time, this is happening, a new pipe is pulled into place, replacing the old one. The replacement pipe is just as strong and reliable as one installed by digging a trench. It’s non-leaking, chemical resistant and has a lifespan of at least 100 years. For more information contact Donley Service Center.