Just got a notice from the county that they will be "lining" old drain pipes
in the street rather than digging them up and replacing them.
Can anyone tell me the pros and cons? I assume this is a "cheapskate"
method since the local water authority blew all its money on a brand new
steel & glass hi-rise that was determined to be "excessive" only *after* it
Anyway, I am worried that ramming a liner all the way up to my where my
home's drain line begins is likely to push a huge wad of sludge into my
drain pipe and leading to my toilets backing up. Of course, they don't
offer to do the last 20 yards into my home "while they are there" even if I
am willing to pay them the same price per foot that they are charging the
county. Any input welcome.
Thanks in advance,
I've found that knowing as much as I can before I call any vendor or
government agency helps me not to waste his time with elementary stuff. I
might very well want to hire a plumbing crew to be ready to work with them
and do the replacement from my house to the street when they've backhoed it
out. I don't see anything wrong with doing research, even if it's "not my
call" because sometimes you can change that outcome before something bad
Someone has told me the pipes are not even metal, but terra cotta and they
are bound to fail after the county does its work. I don't know if that's
true or not. FWIW, my assessment skyrocketed in the last few years because
of the boom and it's not coming back down very fast so I am going to look
very hard at how they're spending my money.
We had a massive fraud about 10 years ago with some "connected" construction
firm ripping out and replacing about a million bucks of perfectly good curbs
before someone complained to the right people and got it stopped. Maryland
has a long and honored tradition of corruption. We gave the US Nixon's
favorite bagman, Spiro Agnew so the watchwords here are "Ever vigilant!
What year was your place built? Local customs vary. My 1963 place down
in Louisiana had 'Orangeberg' (sp?), not even terra cotta, much less
iron. Nasty stuff, some sort of fiber/asphalt based product, in short
lengths so plenty of joints for tree roots to worm their way in. First
sign of trouble, I had it replaced all the way to the street with heavy
PVC. Some things you only want to mess with once. It usually mostly pays
back on resale- on any house over 'X' years old, a fresh sewer line is a
strong selling point to any buyer that ever had a collapsed sewer pipe
on their previous house.
When they shut down the water for the work, turn off the water at the meter
(shut off the water heater. Don't use any water in the house to keep your pipes
full. After they have flushed the pipes after the work, open a hose nozzle
nearest the main pipe coming into the house and turn on the water at the meter
at the same time, to flush out your supply pipe without getting crud into your
pipes and water heater. Hopefully, most of the crud that gets into your house
will be flushed right back out.
note OP said DRAIN LINE, I assume thjat means sewer line.
they will first clean the line by snaking then srubbing. interior must
be smooth so solids move along.
the sewer authority dug up and replaced the main line here. it was a
mess, they hit my gas line, i witnessed it:)
digging is highly disruptive and a real mess. the lining approach
works well and saves big bucks let alone the muddy mess it saves. and
the street sidewalk driveway restoration which never matches
Dunno if it's the same technique, but about a year ago the city replaced the
main sewer line serving my house.
The line that got replaced was 8" concrete - the replacement line was 10"
plastic (of some kind). They start at one end of the block and pounded the
new line through the old one, fracturing the old concrete on the way. After
sufficient boom-pause-boom-pause-booms, they reach the end of the block.
Then they come in with a teeninsy back-hoe, about the size of a riding
lawnmover, dug down about eight feet, cut a hole in the new pipe and
connected my sanitary line.
They then filled the hole, put down new grass, repaired the fence and moved
All in all, a very sanitary process (pardon the pun). I was impressed.
It doesn't sound like it. They're working on the street behind mine, and I
can feel a lot of vibration, but it doesn't sound like anything breaking up
old concrete pipe. They sent out a notice that described a liner process,
and I believe (but wouldn't swear) that it goes inside the existing pipe. I
should have at least the weekend to do the research and get some sodas to
put on ice to offer to them when they reach here (which will give me an
opportunity to talk to them).
The last time there was water work they killed a 60 year oak tree by backing
into with a backhoe. To their credit, they replaced it with a twig of a
tree that's since died. That's part of why I am worried about the possible
"side effects" of the construction work. My neighbor had it worse: she had
just had a $5,000 concrete driveway installed and it got sliced up like a
Now that is a good mental note to file away- when you put in a driveway,
figure out what utilities run across it, and mold or cut expansion
cracks at the appropriate spots so it will be easy to patch.
Around here, they try to synchronize sewer/water work with the street
repavings. Makes them feel dumb when the have to cut through year-old
asphalt to replace pipe. Can't always avoid it, due to unexpected
failures (aka shit happens), but at least they try. They seem to just
replace all the driveway aprons with a standard design, if the curbs
have to be redone. Most of the time they do an okay job.
Wish they'd run water and sewer down my street...
They did ours a few years ago and gave us a fairly nice handout about what
they do and how they suggest you prepare. The only thing I complained to
the city about was that they were suppose to leave a door-hanging a few days
before they started, but I never saw one. I did see the trucks in the area
so I prepared.
The main thing I'd recommend is you keep your toilet lids closed. They do
blow air into the lines and that can cause some water to splash out. We
didn't have anything major but I did notice the water level in the toilet
was a little low a few times when they were working in the area.
They didn't offer to do the lines into our homes, if they had I might have
taken them up on it.
Excellent! It does, indeed answer many of them and more importantly, if the
project engineer ever answers his phone or returns messages, I've got a much
better understanding of the process. At first I thought the name was a
typo, but now I realize it's based on the Latin "in situ" - in place.
I like knowing *exactly* what's going on, how it's done and what the
possible/likely problems are going to be. This information will be helpful.
Thanks for your input, Bob
Details the process very, very nicely. It's certainly a good read for
anyone remotely interested in the process. They use robots to cut the
lateral feeds. With robots and cameras that actual can see the inside of
pipes, the world is a very different place than it was when the original
sewer pipes were laid down. Now I'll be sure to go out and look over their
shoulder or offer to make a coffee run for them in order to get to watch the
process close up. This URL:
gives comparison details about the pros and cons of each method, giving
names (and further Google leads!) of the other processes and how they
compare, confirming that lining does reduce capacity, and different liners
cause differing amounts of constriction. While it's vendor data, and isn't
like to contain horror stories about their own products, this is precisely
what I was looking for in terms of understanding how the lining process
FWIW, I've only seen the inside of a *real* sewer main on that "World's
Dirtiest Jobs" program. Oh, was that nasty. I've seen cockroach
infestations before, but this was beyond anything I had ever seen. Well,
that's not true. The Aussies had a mouse epidemic a while back that the
Late Croc Hunter documented. There were enough mice to act as a bionic
fluid. He'd open a grain shoot (oops *chute*) door, and out would flow
near-endless mice. My wife is still creeped out over that. She'll kill
bugs with her bare hands but mice: No way!
Yes, they sent out a similar handout, but it was pretty short on details and
mostly concentrated on insuring that we don't dump anything down the drain
during the process.
They're shutting off the water to keep the sewer lines but I'll be sure to
keep the lid down.
It seems like it would be a revenue maker and a good idea. No surprise they
didn't think of it. I did get a notice from one of those home repair
insurance companies shortly after the county flyer arrived that focused on
how expensive a replacement of the line between my house and the main would
be. I'll bet it's a scam. -
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