Everyone knows that your bathtub or shower is the place that the whole family gets clean in, so having anything come out of the drain is repulsive. When what's coming up appears to be sewage, it becomes horrifying. If you've recently been bothered by any kind of fluid coming up from your shower drain, here's what you need to know.
Not From the Sewer
One of the most common misconceptions is that the filthy water or waste that's coming up from your shower drain is from the sewer itself. In rare occasions, this can happen, but typically only if there's construction being performed by the city on the sewer line. In these cases, the sewer line may be blocked or closed off in order to perform maintenance. However, your city will likely notify you of any construction happening weeks or even months in advance, so if there's no work being done, the problem is with your pipes.
Typically, if something's coming up from your shower drain, there's a blockage in your sewer line. This is the large pipe that exits your home and goes all the way out into the street, where the sewer main is. The blockage is either from large debris passing through your pipe (like toilet paper, paper towels, and tampons) or due to a structural problem with the pipe, like a collapse or a break.
When a blockage forms, it can allow water or other thin fluid to pass through, but typically keeps debris from passing. This means that your shower is likely still draining normally but may still experience problems with stuff coming back up out of it.
The most common triggers you will experience with things coming up in your shower are high-pressure water appliances. This means your dishwasher, washing machine, and toilet. Since your toilet is in the same room as the bathtub or shower, it's the most likely culprit.
These three types of appliances need to push a lot of water through the drain out of your house at the same time. Your dishwasher and washing machine both drain regularly, and your toilet drains every time you flush it. When the large volume of water or other types of fluid meets a blockage, it has to go somewhere. It will most likely come back up through your shower since the drain is close to the ground and the water doesn't have to flow as far back up a pipe in order to come out of the shower drain.
In any case, if you're having this problem you should see a bathroom plumber immediately. Having any kind of waste come up through your shower is unhygienic and potentially dangerous. Seeking a plumber's assistance immediately will allow them to target the problem in your sewer line and fix it quickly before it becomes a serious problem.