Fix Broken Clay Sewer Line Loaded with Roots

September 21, 2018

We received a call from a local Brooklyn homeowner after he fell victim to his third sewer backup of the month. He had a company snake the sewer line who told him that they were hitting an obstruction and had to put a camera in the sewer pipe to see what was going on.

It was clear to see that the old clay sewer line was loaded with roots, had several belly’s in the line and the bottom of the clay pipe was completely rotted out in a few areas. It was no surprise why his sewer line was backing up so often.

What are the options to fix?

The first option would be to water jet the sewer line to clear the roots. The downside to this option is that it cost anywhere from $500-$1000 and is not a permanent fix. The homeowner would have to continue with maintenance and spend money time after time.

The second option the homeowner wanted to entertain was locate the section of piping that was broken and repair only this section. His thought was that the roots weren’t that bad, and if the pipe was no longer broken at least the sewage could flow out to the city sewer. This wasn’t a terrible idea but in this case there were too many problems throughout the entire sewer line, if he repaired one section, we would be back a few months later to fix another problem.

The final option which would serve as his permanent resolution is to replace the entire sewer line from the house, out to the street where the city sewer was located. After receiving estimates for each option this homeowner figured replacing the entire sewer line would be the most cost effective over time. He would have to spend several thousand more than the sewer repair upfront but would have piece of mind and end up saving thousands over time.

The entire sewer replacement was completed over two days and first started by opening the street.

Opening roadway for sewer
Opening roadway for sewer installation

This section of piping was installed on the first day, including DEP inspections. Over the next day we began working under the sidewalk to prepare for piping.

Digging on sidewalk
Digging on sidewalk

Finally the remainder of the sewer line was installed and passed the DEP inspection.

New 6" cast iron sewer line
New 6″ cast iron sewer line