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Question DetailsAsked on 8/6/2013

is a trenchless drain a good option for sewer replacement?

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I don't find a "trenchless drain" on the web - I presume you mean trenchless sewer repair, or sewer sleeving.

This is a proven technology and standard practice on public sewer lines. On private lines (4" or so) it is a bit iffier for several reasons:

1) if the pipe is physically broken or dislocated, the liner can be torn during installation, so leak and cause buildup in the pipe at the tear

2) In a large diameter pipe, the reduced flow friction from the plastic liner more than compensates for the slight reduction in cross-sectional area. in a small pipe, you are losing significant diameter, which as slime builds up in it will increase the possibility of plugging over the full-size pipe diameter

3) many of the liners are basically a plastic sheet which is fed in and then inflated to fit the pipe, or a spray epoxy coating - neither of which has any measurable structural strength, so to repair physically damaged pipe it will not do the job.

4) a plastic (modified PVC or ABS or butyl seamless tubing slid into the pipe will work well, but does reduce the diameter to less than optimal

There are few instances where I would choose this solution for residential pipe over dig and replace - the primary one being where the pipe is buried under another building or at such depth it is uneconomic to dig it up.

5) There is one other technology which can be used, which is pipe bursting, where the existing pipe is split open and pushed to larger diameter with a hydraulic bursting tool, them a new full-size pipe (typically ABS or butyl) is pulled into the resultant opening. If done carefully this can work well, but because of the cost of the method is rarely cheaper than excavation and replace for short runs unless there are things above the line tht it is expensive to move or replace.

In summation, even in our area where sewer depth is 10 feet, there are few residential cases where the cost difference to get a same-size pipe is significant, and I would not go with the inflate-in-place solutions, so I would recommend in the normal case to go with trench and replace - you know what you are getting in-place.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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