Orangeburg sewer pipe - the horror! the horror! Would you install a liner?

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packardv8

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We've been living in a 100-year-old house for 45-years with about every ten years an occasional clog which I've been able to clear with a rented 50-foot snake.

This weekend, life as we knew it came to an end. The rented snake didn't do it. A pro-rooter stringing two 125-foot snakes together hit the wall at the 175-foot mark after eight-and-a-half hours of hard work.

The takeaway - the house originally had a septic system. In 1969, the sewer came down the street; the second owner installed his own line, using Orangeburg pipe. I'd never heard of the stuff, but a bit of research says it has a maximum life of fifty years under ideal conditions. My line is fifty-one years old.

From the back of the house, the original septic line is turned 90-degrees, runs under 50-feet of asphalt driveway, into the side and a 45-degree turns it downhill toward the street for the last 100 feet. The guess is somewhere between the big pine tree, the spyrea hedge and the evergreen border, there are collapsed sections.

Their suggestion is to dig in that area, find collapsed sections, replace them and install an inflatable, hardenable Nu-Flo liner system inside the Orangeburg which remains open.

Yes, in the perfect world, dig it all up and go with new. The 125' of shrubbery and lawn is doable, but going 3.5' down under that last 50' of asphalt is a bit spendy.

Your thoughts?

jack vines
 
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Geofd

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We've been living in a 100-year-old house for 45-years with about every ten years an occasional clog which I've been able to clear with a rented 50-foot snake.

This weekend, life as we knew it came to an end. The rented snake didn't do it. A pro-rooter stringing two 125-foot snakes together hit the wall at the 175-foot mark after eight-and-a-half hours of hard work.

The takeaway - the house originally had a septic system. In 1969, the sewer came down the street; the second owner installed his own line, using Orangeburg pipe. I'd never heard of the stuff, but a bit of research says it has a maximum life of fifty years under ideal conditions. My line is fifty-one years old.

From the back of the house, the original septic line is turned 90-degrees, runs under 50-feet of asphalt driveway, into the side and a 45-degree turns it downhill toward the street for the last 100 feet. The guess is somewhere between the big pine tree, the spyrea hedge and the evergreen border, there are collapsed sections.

Their suggestion is to dig in that area, find collapsed sections, replace them and install an inflatable, hardenable Nu-Flo liner system inside the Orangeburg which remains open.

Yes, in the perfect world, dig it all up and go with new. The 125' of shrubbery and lawn is doable, but going 3.5' down under that last 50' of asphalt is a bit spendy.

Your thoughts?

jack vines
I have mentioned here before,we have had pipes lined before when digging is not an option it seems to work fine it is not cheap, but no digging , re landscaping we have had pipes from 4” up to 14” I think and I believe they are rated for some extreme temps
 

Jeff Handy

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Can you get a camera down there first, to see what is collapsed?
With a sonde on it, so you can locate it from above.

That pipe is just glorified cardboard and tar, so it might be blown in or mushed onto itself, or full of roots anywhere.

Can you choose a new sewer route that will not need to go under the driveway, or at least not as far?
Maybe also change the sewer exit point from the back of the house, to the front or other side?
That would shorten the whole underground route, and eliminate some turns.
I think basement or crawlspace plumbing would be cheaper than trenching.
 

packardv8

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All the cast iron soil pipe is under the basement floor and all of the sweep joints run toward the back of the house.

Agree, a liner is not the way to go with Orangeburg. Now we're thinking trenchless replacement with hard lines Just ran a camera/sonde out to the blockage about five feet from a huge pine. The camera was useless in the blocked up sludge. They say they'll dig at the blockage first

We're thinking of digging at the street, at the first blockage and at the 45-degree turn from the lawn to under the driveway and in the asphalt at the 90-degree where it exits the back of the house. Theoretically, they can get all new pipe in with those four holes. We'll see.

jack vines
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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Hello Jack--you don't say where you are and that may make a huge difference in what you can do and the cost.
Know a few things--anything other than replacing ALL that pipe is nothing short of a temporary stop-gap measure which may continually come back to bite you.

Yeah, a "pipe" made of wood pulp, tar and goodness knows whatever waste products was one of those low cost products. Surprised it lasted this long.

I would investigate directional boring. It may work and allow you to replace it all, disturb nearly nothing except at entry and exit points. Make some calls, get some quotes.

My experience with it was wonderful. I had to add a 20 kVa three phase transformer to the car wash I owned once. The electric company made me buy the transformer, and provided detailed engineering specs for trenching for the line from the pole--which was like 120' away. They even provided the map to do it. It would have involved saw-cutting a nearly a 2' swath of concrete, trenching, then additional trenching in the electric company ROW under the lines to get to the pole. Very invasive, very expensive. I hired a directional boring company, and they did it quickly and considerably less costly than trenching AND repairing the mess of a long trench. They hand dug holes at entry and exit points, set up the equipment and pulled two 4" conduits in a couple of hours. nothing in the path was disturbed.

The challenges you may have with this is finding the right people to do it, AND some equipment cannot easily maintain the necessary slope for sewer. I'm sure the folks you call will know. The other issue may be something at the entry and exit point to prevent the equipment from working properly. Again, the guys who do this will know.

Good luck.
 

packardv8

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The process we chose welds together 20' sticks of 4" thick-walled black plastic pipe to replace all 200', including the two 45-degree bends in one solid run. They will open the sewer connection in the street and at the back of the house. A heavy cable is pushed through the existing pipe. It is attached to a solid steel bullet slightly larger than 4" and the plastic pipe is attached behind the bullet. A winch pulls the cable, the bullet cracks open the existing pipe and makes a path for the plastic pipe to be pulled behind it.

When complete, the sewer run will be one piece, and impervious to tree roots. All it takes is time and lots of money.

jack vines
 

packardv8

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Was a very long, very trying week, but we're flushing.

Fortunately, my random pick off an internet search got me maybe the best in town at "bursting sewer lines." Vietzke Trenchless knows their stuff, has the latest equipment and professional crew.

Watching them fight through problems and use the new Roddie R8 pipe bursting equipment was entertaining; but as with watching the da Vinci robot assist perform my prostatectomy, I'd have enjoyed it a lot more if I weren't the patient.



The first minor disaster came about when the city failed to mark the water supply line for the rear of the two houses on the same lot across the street. The backhoe pulled the brass valve out of the cast iron main. 80 PSI out a 1" hole can put out a lot of water and washed out the far side of the excavation eight feet away. The city came with three trucks, shut off and found the main cracked at the hole, so they had to use a stainless band clamp to repair it. That ended the second day.

The third day, Vietzke's crew brought in their vacuum hydro excavator truck to get down to the sewer main. Once the main was clear, they removed the cement pipe and pushed the cable 80' uphill to the hole they'd dug at the last bend where the clog had occurred. The new machinery they were using to pull the bursting bullet is so strong, the operator didn't realize it had come through and broke the new 65,000 PSI tensile strength 3/4" cable when the bullet hit the backboard.

On the second pull over the last 100', turns out there was a 4" cast iron 45-degree elbow at the first bend. The machine just pulled that 6" OD elbow through the Orangeburg and sandy soil. The operator said if there had been rock to stop the elbow, the machine would have cracked the cast iron elbow open as well.

All's well that ends well, but we certainly lucked out choosing the best pipe bursting team in Spokane.

jack vines

P.S. - my wife was talking with a friend across town in a neighborhood of the same vintage homes. This woman recognized the "Orangeburg" horror immediately. Everyone in that area has had to have it replaced or knows they should be saving up to do it sooner rather than wait for the basement drains to flood.
 

breplum

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Good story. You did get a good job. How much did the job cost?
My son lives in Spokane, doesn't do plumbing.
 

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