Sewer Lines and Excavation

Like most appliances and systems in our homes, sewer lines eventually require replacements. But unlike most other things, these lines need immediate attention. Any delays can result in extensive damage or health hazards.

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Exposure to sewer gas may cause side effects like nausea, headaches, dizziness, and impaired cognitive abilities. Not to mention, it smells like rotten eggs! You’ll need a repair ASAP. Several strategies are used to repair sewer lines, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

External Excavation

This traditional method of sewer pipe repair is tried and true; it’s been around for years and continues to be used in excavations.

With an external sewer line excavation, workers must dig trenches and tunnels to access the sewer line. This will expose the pipe completely so that it’s easier to repair or replace. However, it often causes damage to the surrounding land and structures.

Interior Access Excavation

Rather than digging up a large section of the yard, this method involves precise excavation where the damage is. It’s a way to repair sewer lines without digging large trenches.

Even though trenchless sewer line excavation methods can be costly, you won’t need to spend money repairing landscape damage once it’s done. However, it’s not always possible to use this technique; if the lines are damaged too extensively, pipe bursting may not be viable.

Reasons for Digging Up Sewer Lines

No one wants to have their lawn excavated—but if your sewer line needs repairs, it may be necessary. Here are a few common reasons why excavations are performed:

  • The existing line is damaged. Oftentimes, this is due to tree roots. Damage to your sewer line can also be caused by oil, grease, and flushing things other than toilet paper. Avoid costly repairs by scheduling routine maintenance, like drain cleaning services.
  • You’re updating your septic system. Switching from a traditional septic tank to the city sewer system? You might choose to do this if your septic tank needs repairs, or if a new city bylaw requires it. If so, you’ll need a new sewer line to make the change.
  • You’re constructing a new residential or commercial building. If you’re building a new home or business, you’ll need a new sewer line, too! An excavation allows you to install this essential system on a new property.

Sewer Line Excavation Process

Before the real work begins, excavators start by marking all utility lines. Accidentally hitting a utility line may cause a service outage in your area and cause serious injuries to those nearby—in some cases, it may even result in death. Careful and precise planning is key to a successful sewer line repair.

Next, the workers will use video inspection technology to assess the condition of your pipes. It allows them to get a closer look at what’s happening within the line. Based on this information, they can select a strategy that’s optimal for your property and pipes. The plumbers may need to obtain permits or other inspections to proceed with the repair.

The specific plumbing excavation process varies depending on the methods that are used. We’re going to detail a few of them here:

Pipe Bursting vs. Open-Top Excavation
Which repair method is best for your property: trench or trenchless sewer repair? There are pros and cons to each:

Pipe Bursting
Some homeowners are hesitant to repair sewer lines because they don’t want trenches dug into their yards—it fixes their sewer line, but it ruins their lawn! One of the main advantages of pipe bursting is that it won’t require any trenches to be dug.

To remove old and broken pipes, we used a pneumatic or hydraulic head. We remove the old damaged pipe and replace it with a new one that’s perfectly sized to fit in that space.

If you’re interested in trenchless sewer line repair in Anne Arundel or Howard County, we also offer pipelining (also known as cured-in-place piping). With this method, your existing pipes are relined with epoxy. This saves you the trouble of removing the old pipes; once they’re relined, they’ll work as efficiently as if they were a new sewer line.
These repair methods have only been around for the last two decades, making them relatively recent. The lack of digging minimizes costs, both in terms of labor and what you’d spend to fix your property afterward.

Open-Top Excavation

In cases where a trenchless sewer line repair isn’t viable, there is an alternative method:

An open-top sewer line excavation is time-consuming and labor-intensive, but it ensures that your sewer line is completely repaired. Holes must be dug on either side of the pipe and around it, too. As you can imagine, this means a large portion of your yard must be dug up.

Once the pipes are unearthed, the repairs can begin. Whether the pipe requires a total replacement or just an adjustment, the workers will have easy access to the sewer line.

An open-top excavation tends to be more affordable than a trenchless repair. It’s a reliable way to repair a faulty sewer line or replace it with an entirely new pipe. That being said, this method has its disadvantages—namely, the time it takes to complete, and the expense associated with repairing your yard.

At some point or another, most home and business owners deal with a damaged sewer line. A prompt replacement is the key to minimizing damage or exposure to any hazards.
Wondering which of these repair methods are best for your property? We can help!

If you need plumbing in Anne Arundel or Howard County, Maryland call W.L. Staton Plumbing, Heating and Cooling we provide a range of sewer line repair methods, including pipe bursting and pipelining. Get in contact with us today, and we’ll help you determine the right excavation method for your sewer line repair.

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Ben GouldBen Gould
13:13 14 Apr 22
Justin came out and gave a thorough run through of options including pricing to help make sure it made the most sense to me. The work was then done impressively quickly and well. Justin went above and beyond to even return a couple days later to install an improved access panel, making the project that much nicer.
R CR C
20:54 13 Apr 22
We’ve been using W.L. Staton for several years now and they’ve been consistently excellent. They’ve been to our house 7-8 times for a variety of things, ranging from the installation of a new water heater to repair of a garbage disposal. We’ve been very pleased each time. We’ve always found it easy to make an appointment and they’ve always been on time and very accommodating (and very honest - I never felt like they were trying to gouge us). Their plumbers are all quite knowledgeable and easy to work with. We’ve had James and more recently Joe B. Joe is very courteous, professional, and highly skilled. I’ve referred Staton to several people and will continue to do so. I highly recommend Staton to anyone wanting an honest, well run company to take care of their plumbing needs.
Laurie CulkinLaurie Culkin
14:15 01 Apr 22
Vince, my technician, was great! He figured out the problem quickly, was very professional, and the job was done really fast!The company was able to accommodate me first thing the following morning after I called in the afternoon. Absolutely worth it, and would highly recommend!
Michael MillerMichael Miller
23:11 18 Mar 22
Responded right away to help me meet my own schedule of a home improvement project I was was working on. The plumber was courteous to me and respectful of my home. He put down canvas to protect the floor from the front door to the work area. The job was done professionally.
Bridget ReedBridget Reed
22:19 01 Mar 22
The service people were very prompt on a bitter cold day in trying to repair our heat (old boiler system). They had to return the next day with another part and spent all day working on the system. It was cold forthem too, working down in my basement but they worked as fast as they could. At the end of the day, my home was warm and toasty. One of the guys spent some time explaining how the new parts worked in our boiler and that was very helpful. We will always use this company. They are great!
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