Can You Restore a Broken Sewer Line Without Excavating AKA Trenchless Replacement?

The answer is yes, a sewer line can be restored without excavating however, there is a huge and costly downside.  First and foremost, it is 100% and completely illegal to install a sleeve inside your sewer line throughout NYC.

The secondary issue is that a sleeve inside your sewer line is a temporary solution, there is no guarantee that roots will not grow through your pipe sleeve and leave you exactly where you started.

Another common issue is that a sewer line may have a back pitch or belly, in this case a sleeve would not resolve the issue.

The challenge becomes that the homeowner does not understand the “ins and outs” of their sewer line and sadly it is the same case for many of the service technicians. A service tech may become aware that there is a problem with the sewer line and has been trained to sell the sewer line sleeve for all problems that a sewer snake cannot clear. In the case of a sewer line belly/back  pitch, the sleeve will form to the pipe and will not cure the issue if the pipe is pitched in the wrong direction.  If the pipe is facing the wrong direction as depicted in the diagram above, the sewer sleeve will only form to the existing

When dealing with a crack or broken sewer line the sleeve will work but only on a temporary basis. It is important to understand that the sleeve will not actually fix the broken pipe, it will only serve as additional support on the inside of the pipe.

Broken sleeve inside of sewer line

Broken sleeve inside of sewer line

In the above scenario, the homeowner spent $7600 to have a sleeve installed inside of her sewer line due to a problem that had occurred 15’ out from the trap. The pipe was diagnosed as having a break and the sleeve lasted 16 months.  Just over a year later the customer had to have a section of her sewer line repaired 15’ out on the property for around the same cost of the sewer sleeve that was installed in the first place. The repair was completed with extra heavy cast iron pipe and is guaranteed to last many years.

Sewer repair completed on property

Sewer repair completed on property


If you have any questions about installing a sleeve inside of your sewer line please feel free to contact our office