Repair Your Sewer Line Without Destroying Your Yard

Monday, March 18th, 2019
broken sewer line from roots

How to Know if You Have a Sewer Line Problem

Do you have a sewer line problem? There are many ways to tell. First, look for the obvious. Inside the house, suretale signs are slow running drains, drains backed up, slow toilets, or water that bubbles up in your bathtub. Other ground level or basement drains may also back up. Outside, signs include unusually green and taller grass in one area of your lawn, a spongy wet area, or a sewer smell. If you suspect a problem, look for these signs or contact a professional plumber.

How Sewer Lines Break

If you have slow or backed up drains then it could be from flushing something down the toilet like paper towel, or kitchen grease buildup causing garbage disposal output to get stuck, or excess hair buildup. Outdoors, it could be due to tree or large bush roots growing into the sewer pipe, or a partial or total collapse of the sewer line due to ground shifting or settling over time.  

Solutions for Sewer Line Problems

The first step to fix a sewer line problem is to find the cause.  Is the problem a clogged drain, an obstruction in the main drain, or a collapsed or broken sewer line outside?  The best solution is not always the simplest one. Some homeowners think that a quick easy solution is to run a drain “snake” down the pipe.  But, this may push the problem down further and into the outdoor sewer line where you cannot easily get to it.  Or worse, you may break the sewer line and sewage starts seeping into the ground. A professional plumber has the knowledge, skills, experience, and tools to properly diagnose the problem. He or she can help you determine the best plumbing solution. There are many fixes for you to choose from, which may or may not be the best or most affordable for your situation. The best course of action usually ends up being the lowest cost solution in the long run.
New sewer line replacement by plumber

Sewer Line Repair

If the problem is in the sewer line, your plumber can determine the cause. Are roots growing into your sewer line, or has your sewer line broken or collapsed?  If roots are the problem, they can be cut away, but they will grow back. It is best to permanently eliminate the break in the sewer line. In the past, this meant using a trenching machine to dig up part or all of your outdoor sewer line, tearing up your lawn and landscaping,  and maybe even jackhammering away a piece of your sidewalk or driveway, and pouring new concrete. But, not anymore! There are better ways to repair your pipes that do not require trenching.

trenchless sewer repair by professional plumber

Methods of Trenchless Sewer Line Repair

Trenchless CIPP lining

Fortunately, technology has advanced so that sewer line repairs are faster and less disruptive to your landscaping and sidewalk.  If your sewer line is clogged with roots or debris due to a crack in the line, then fix it with a “Cured In Place Pipe” lining. This solution, also known as trenchless CIPP lining, is an ingenious method used by professional plumbers. After the roots and debris are cleared out, blow a woven fiber tube saturated with resin into the existing sewer line. Insert a bladder into the line with high pressure air or water. Then, press the fiber tube against the existing pipe to form it to the same shape.  Next, hot water or steam is forced down into the bladder to cure the resin. Once cured, the bladder is pulled out and you have a new seamless sewer pipe.

How long does it take?

The whole process can usually be completed in a day, including the curing.

Trenchless Pipe Bursting

If your sewer line is too damaged to accommodate a CIPP lining, the next option is Trenchless Pipe Bursting.  For this process, pull a heavy cable through the existing pipe. Then, attach a “bursting head” to the cable, to break the old pipe apart and pull through a new very heavy duty polyethylene pipe to replace it.  This method requires that you dig a hole at each end of the area where the pipe goes. Then, a high power hydraulic machine pulls the bursting head and new pipe through. Depending on the length of pipe needed, more pipe sections are welded on. The seams are as strong or stronger, than the pipe itself, so there is no risk of a seam coming loose or roots growing into it.

pipe bursting technique for damaged sewer line

Horizontal Directional Drilling or Directional Boring

Another trenchless method is Horizontal Directional Drilling, often referred to as Directional Boring. Use this method where there is no existing pipe.  To start, dig access holes at the entry point and exit point for the pipe. Then, use the directional drilling machine and insert the drilling head into the entry point. Begin the drilling operation.  The drill travels horizontally under driveways, sidewalks, or fences. The machine can follow curves, which allows for flexibility in routing the pipe.

For the first step in this process, drill a pilot hole. Then, send through a larger diameter drill. After that, like the bursting method, pull a heavy duty polyethylene pipe through the line.  This operation is used to add a new sewer pipe. It can also help when you add new electrical conduit for power beyond your driveway or fences.

Not sure which method to use to fix your plumbing?

Call Cole’s!

With nearly two decades of experience, Cole’s Plumbing is professionally qualified to install and service your home or business sewer line or underground pipe needs. We have the right equipment, tools, and experience to do the job right – at an affordable price. Call us at (806) 367-5159 to discuss how we can help you fix your drain and sewer line problems.