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Question DetailsAsked on 5/18/2013

what should I pay to replace a sewer line?

how much will it cost to replace a sewer line?

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1 Answer


This is a wide-open question - depends on a number of things.

If part needing replacement is under your floor slab or foundation, then a full replacement can be many thousands of $ depending on number of branches and how many linear feet, and if interior flooring will have to be replaced or if you are on a bare concrete slab. A simple one-spot repair (based on a camera run locating and precisely measuring the location of the problem) can be as little as $400 but probably more often $1000 or so - more if poor access like underneath stairs.

If the runs to be replaced are exposed in a crawl space or basement than it can run as little as $20/LF (probably $400 minimum job cost) to replace with ABS or PVC, if allowed in your area instead of cast iron.

Outside sewer line to the street can run from as little as $60/LF in areas where the pipe is shallow (no annual frost penetration) and in easy digging soil, to $250/LF or more if deeply buried, have to excavate through trees and heavy roots or boulders, steep topography, other utility interferences etc. Commonly, instead of digging up the old line, they select a new route from your existing sewer exit point at the foundation to the street main tie-in, taking a route between them that is easiest to get a backhoe into and minimizes destruction of valuable plantings or trees. A number of $100/LF is commonly tossed around as "normal" for this type of job, if exceeding 100 feet or so and digging and access conditions are normal.

If your connection is in the middle of the street rather than along your side in the yard, that can easily add $5-10,000 to the job, as the sewer utility usually has to do that part, and repair the street afterwards. In a major throughway street, even more becdause of traffic control, multi-agency permits, etc.

There are a few alternatives:

- pipe bursting, where a hydraulic tool is pushed through the pipe, physically expanding in a couple of foot increments and bursts the existing pipe, and a flexible plastic pipe (typically black HDPE) is pulled into place behind it to give you your new sewer. This can be done on straight and gently curved runs, but cannot go around sharp curved, 45's or 90's, wyes or branches, so is almost never used under a house unless the run from the street is being done also.

- sleeving, where a thin plastic liner is pulled into the existing pipe after rootering it out. This avoids the digging up, but reduces the diameter of the pipe a bit, so is not allowed in some jurisdictions.

- horizontal boring a hole and pulling new sewer pipe through the hole behind the bit.

These latter three are not commonly used for residential replacements because they tend to be as expensive as trenching, and run the risk of cost overruns if they encounter unexpected utilities, large boulders, unexpected bedrock, etc. They are usually used only for cases where the line runs under other buildings or historic features or very valuable plantings that can't be dug up (like mansion gardens), or where you have to cross a busy street that they will not allow trenching across.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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