As recently as 30 years ago, many American cities installed sewer lines that were constructed from cast iron or clay. Surprisingly, many of these sewer lines are still in use: one major American city still has sewers that run through channels lined with porous bricks. Tree roots can break through clay sewer pipes easily, and homeowners faced with unexpected sewer line repair projects should know that they are going to have to clear their sewer lines of roots and other organic matter.
Leaves, nests of underground mammals, cooking oil, and pieces of existing sewer pipes can all clog water and sewer systems. Sewer camera inspection is typically the first step in the diagnostic process: cameras are lowered into existing sewer systems and the images received by the camera can be recorded and studied by plumbing crews before they begin digging.
The amount of digging that is required nowadays for comprehensive sewer repair is actually a fraction of what it used to be: commercial plumbers can often perform comprehensive repair projects from a single digging location. Pressurized water jets can work to clear clogs from broken and leaky pipes, and there are several repair options available for homeowner who need to update their connection to their city’s sewer system.
Commercial plumbing has also undergone a renaissance due to improved technology. Cities around the country are requesting “no-dig” and “low-dig” sewer repairs; in cities with millions of people, the idea that pedestrian traffic and vehicular traffic would be able to continue with minimal disruption is appealing. Plumbing repair contractors also want their clients to know that they may be dealing with another problem in addition to broken pipes.
Lead is a soft, pliable metal, and was used extensively as a joining material between water and sewer pipes for decades. In the modern era, the dangers of lead poisoning from drinking contaminated water are well-documented, but homeowners may work to remove leaded paint from their walls without realizing that lead is continually seeping into every glass of water they drink. The advantage of performing water and sewer line repair with epoxy resin is that it will bypass the leaded joints and allow homeowners to protect themselves from possible injury due to toxic contamination.
Sewer line repair has come a long way, but new “trenchless” sewer repair has actually been used for more than 15 years. Any plumbing company should be aware of new techniques and approaches, and could have extensive experience with newer methods. As public awareness of sewer repair options increases, local contractors may see a sharp rise in the number of customers who want help in eliminating lead from their water supply once and for all.