While rural homes often have their own septic systems and field drains, homes located in towns or cities are usually connected to a public septic system. The cost of this system is usually built into property taxes. In some cases, homeowners pay a monthly or annual septic fee. However, this can vary based on location. 

In most cases, public utility companies will maintain the sewer line that runs along the street. However, homeowners are responsible for the sewer connection that goes to their house. If this line is broken, clogged or damaged, it's often a homeowner's responsibility to repair it.

Most sewer lines in the United States are made of ceramic, clay, PVC or a metal alloy. While these pipes are usually designed to last for 50 years or more, a number of environmental factors can impact the expected lifetime of a sewer line. For example, moving heaving machinery on the ground above a pipeline can increase the risk of cracking or rupture. 

In addition, cold weather can also increase the risk of a cracked pipe. For example, imagine that the sewer line that runs to a home clogs during the winter months. As water builds up on one side of the clog, it freezes. As this water expands, it can potentially crack the sewer pipe, requiring expensive repairs later on.

A broken sewer pipe can be an expensive repair. By performing proper maintenance on a home's sewer line, it's possible to avoid many common problems. Instead of allowing a sewer line to get clogged, it's a good idea to have a sewer line cleaned by a professional sewer inspection and cleaning company at least once every 12 months.

A broken sewer line is more than just a nuisance in the plumbing systems: It is a hazard to your health. If a sewer line outside a home is broken, liquid sewage can bubble up through the ground. This sewage can contain a toxic mix of household chemicals, bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and other dangerous pathogens. To avoid these issues, it's important to make sure that a home sewer line is inspected at least once every five years.