Many homeowners look at their home as an island, isolated from their surroundings. However, the power, internet, and other utilities are piped in, and some in literal pipes. Buried under the surface of every home’s lawn are utility pipes, and one of the critical ones is the sewage line. While some connect to septic tanks and fields, a majority pipe directly to the sewer mains through sewer lines. This article covers the process for sewer lines, focusing on the necessary excavation for the process and the cooperation between plumbing and excavation contractors to accomplish it.
Reasons for Digging Up Sewer Lines
Generally speaking, sewer lines are installed or repaired only when there is no sewage system in place, or the current system will no longer work.
- New Home: Most modern homes will require a sewer line connection. Commonly these lines are installed at the same time water, natural gas, and any other below-ground lines are installed.
- Repair/Replace: The most common need for a new sewer line is wear and tear or damage to the existing line. If a single section is damaged, that part can be replaced, but commonly the entire line is dug out as a cost-saving measure.
- Septic System Transition: Municipal rules or a home’s need might require a change from a septic tank and field to the city sewer system, especially if the current septic system needs replacement.
Troubleshooting Issues Before Digging
Of course, both the homeowners and consulting plumbers should take the time to make sure the issue is related to a pipe-failure instead of a blockage. Unless there are obvious signs of pipe failure (such as sewage spillage in the home or lawn), standard chemical and mechanical cleaning of the pipes should be performed first. The other most common issue with damage to pipes is from tree roots. If caught early enough (partial blockages), copper sulfate can be used to kill the tree root. Note that this only delays the issue and the pipe will need to be repaired in the future.
Sewer Line Excavation Process
The process to install, replace, and repair these lines generally requires excavation. The most common type of evacuation for lateral sewer connections is known as an open cut trench. This type of excavation cuts directly down over each pipe (or location for new pipe), allowing it to be exposed for inspection and replacement or repair. Depending on the area to be excavated, this can be as simple as backfilling and covering it with sod, to the need to cut concrete and then refilled with compacted stone or sand to avoid settling.
Sewer line excavation requires the cooperation between plumbing and excavation contractors like New England Enterprises. Serving Central and Eastern Massachusetts, we work with plumbing, electrical, construction, and general contractors as well as directly with businesses and homeowners for projects from foundation and utility excavation to patios and landscaping. If you’re looking for experts in excavation and landscaping, with the tools and experience to handle projects of any size, contact New England Enterprises.