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Question DetailsAsked on 12/2/2017

Replace Driveway with sewer lateral

For some reason - there is a sewer lateral opening in the lower end of my concrete driveway. The concrete driveway is cracked and fallen - the fallen area of the slab has the sewer lateral cover embedded. I'm wondering what are the potential issues I could face in attempting to replace the driveway? At what point, should I have the city sewer system involved? Should I involve a plumber in addition to a concrete contractor. Any insight you could provide would be helpful.

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Sometimes (especially in underdeveloped subdivisions and for new streets) the utility puts in the sewer main and a stubbed-out connection box with cleanout - normally at the edge of the street easement or outside (towards houses) side of sidewalk or where one would be if one ewere to be built. That is commonly the "termination point" where their responsibility ends.

Also, generally cleanouts are put in every 50 to not more than 100 feet on sewer lines - could be that.

This assumes this is actually a sewer cleanout riser - more typical for it to be a water shutoff valve box, at same location as described above typically.

Either way, expensive to move if not damaged. If the slab has cracked and fallen in but you do not have a corresponding depression all the way up the drive (which might just indicate settlement of the fill around the pipe but no leak), it almost certainly means the sewer line or riser pipe is broken and is letting dirt into the pipe, causing a sinkhole and drieway collapse.

You first need to find out where the sewer (or water if water line) termination point is, so you know if the line is your responsibility to fix or not - though either way the overlying driveway repair will almost certainly be your responsibility, or at least take an argument to get them to fix that too even if the underlying line is their responsibility.

Second, the line should be inspected for damage - with a sewer camera (helpful to be sure only that location is affected, not entire length of line under drive), or with excavation (formerly usually done in areas with deep frost penetration so line is deep, latter in areas with shallow pipes (like 3 foot range) or if you are pretty sure the line is broken (like you have had line clogging issues) and needs repair anyway. Line should be repaired as needed, then structural backfill properly compacted into the excavation, then the driveway repair (or total repave if at that point) done.

For this type of work, for coordination purposes, you could go with a plumber who will also do the excavation and then a Driveway - Concrete contractor (your Search the List category) to do the backfill work,and try to coordinate between the two yourself - commonly a losing proposition expecially if you work outside the home. Normally getting a General Contractor who routinely does utility line work would be easier - he can coordinate the plumbing, any utility company coordination if at/near the taermination poiint, and the paving.

You do need to make sure to emphasize good mechanical compactor use wtih a plate or tamping foot ("jumping jack") compactor to ensure the fill around the riser is well compacted. Commonly the top couple of feet is sleeved in the next larger size PVC pipe to reduce the risk of breaking the riser pipe in the work. The riser is adjusted to correct height in the repair, then the paving is poured around it - should have a bond-breaker around the cap hub which will be cast into the concrete so it does not stick to the concrete (many contractors duct tape plastic sheet around it, some sleeve it in PVC). This reduces the loadon the pipe if the concrete settles or get a heavy truck loading in the future.

Another alternative, if this is just a cleanout sticking up and line is deep enough and closer enough to edge of paving to do this, is to incorporate an inclined cleanout in the repair, so actual surface location of the top of the cleanout pipe is outside the edge of the paving (preferably a foot or so because you always get the occasional tire off the edge of the paving) - that way even though the sewer line stays the same place, the cleanout is no longer in the paving.

Note if the sewer line or cleanout was broken nd letting dirt in, you should get the sewer line jetted out in the process once the repair is done (or at same time more likely), to clear out any debris and rocks in the line, otherwise you might get future clogging downstream of there.

If this happens to be a water shutoff same suggstions about sleeving and bond-breaking, but has to be right above the valve box - cannot reasonably be inclined out from under the paving.

Assuming the pipe needs repair, you are typically looking at around $700-800 minimum and more likely $1000-2000 range for simple broken sewer line or riser repair plus the paving repair - assuming this is just maybe 10-20 SF or so of paving needing redoing. Add anopther $500 or so typically if deeply buried line so they have to dig down say 6-12 feet to the lateral. Those are rough ballparks of course - more or less depending on local labor rates and difficulty of your specific job.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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