The Old Way
If you’ve ever had something go wrong with the sewer lines outside your home, you’re familiar with the mess the repair process can bring. Think large trenches, or at the very least, holes with dirt mounds beside them. Even when things are restored, repaired, and covered over, there is still evidence that your backyard was recently torn up. Large, soft dirt spots remain, and when it rains, they become large, slippery mud holes. It’s up to you to overseed with grass to prevent erosion from becoming a problem. But what if things didn’t have to be that way? Enter the trenchless sewer repair method.
How It Works
Pipe failure can come in several forms, from root interference to rusted cast iron. The concept behind trenchless sewer repair essentially transforms the process from a replacement of the entire pipe to a reinforcement of the old pipe using a new insert. Hydrojetting is the first part of this process. Water is forced through the pipe to remove any stray roots or soil buildup. Then a technician views the pipe via a video camera to see where the new lining will need to go and how much of it will be needed.
Epoxy is inserted into the liner. This epoxy is self-heating and allows the liner to harden once it’s in the pipe. First, however, the spots where other pipes (branch lines) connect to the main pipe in question must be accounted for. The camera will have already located them, and spaces must be left for them in the liner. Tape keeps the liner constricted so it can be inserted into the old pipe. It’s then inflated, during which time the tape pops off, and the epoxy can harden.
Benefits and Drawbacks
One of the only drawbacks is the higher cost involved in this process. Cost varies depending on the amount of initial cleaning that is necessary. The more roots and debris in the old pipe, the longer the cleaning process will be. The length and width of the pipe that needs to be replaced are other factors that need to be taken into consideration. Longer or wider pipes will naturally cost more to line. The cost of digging up the ground in front of your home can be quite costly, as well, however. You might have to foot the bill if city sewer lines or property is involved. You also need to think about the fact that an invasive sewer project near the road could result in bottlenecked traffic in that area.
You’ll also have to pay to restore the area to its original condition, which means filling in the holes, smoothing the dirt back over and replanting any grass or shrubs that had to be temporarily removed for the project to take place. With trenchless pipe replacement, there is typically only one access hole, which makes the restoration process much easier and faster. So, if you need to replace or make a major repair to a sewer line, consider whether trenchless sewer repair is right for you.