Broken Sewer Pipe – Cost Effective Resolution

Recently in Long Island City, Queens, a homeowner experienced a sewage backup in his basement.  The tenant contacted his local drain cleaner who arrived at the house for a routine sewer cleaning.   It quickly became apparent that the sewer line was broken, and was no longer draining sewage to the city sewer.  The sewer cleaner identified the broken pipe being 37’ from the house which was located in the roadway. After searching the Yellow Pages and online, the homeowner decided to meet with who he viewed to be the three most experienced contractors for the job.  Two of the contractors had advised him that the entire sewer line must be replaced due to the age and condition and that he had no other option.  Unfortunately the homeowner had been out of work for several months and could not afford the $11,000 cost associated with replacing the entire pipe.

Questions? Ask Harris.

Harris Water was the final water main & sewer contractor to meet with the homeowner.  Harris did agree that replacing the entire pipe was the best solution due to the deteriorating condition of the clay pipe however, there was another option.  It is never suggested to repair a clay pipe, due to the circumstances Harris was willing to attempt a “spot repair” to relive the owner’s immediate needs.  A spot repair tends to be risky as there is no guarantee that the other portions of the pipe are in working condition.   This was the only option as the repair would cost approximately half the price as replacing the entire pipe.

Digging for sewer line

Digging for sewer line

Broken section of pipe

Broken section of pipe

Harris pulled an emergency work permit before opening the roadway, as well as booking DEP inspections for the sewer line repair.  The crew began opening the roadway by 9AM and had excavated almost 10’ deep before reaching the broken sewer pipe. All shoring was installed in the hole before the installation crew began removing the old clay pipe and installing the new extra heavy cast iron pipe.   The installation process took one hour once they reached the house sewer line.   At this point the crew used an 8×6 increaser to install the new cast iron within the existing clay pipe.   The installation was completed just in time for the DEP inspector’s arrival.

Shoring boards

Shoring boards

New cast iron pipe w/ "increaser"

New cast iron pipe w/ “increaser”

The roadway trench was now backfilled with clean soil and compacted in two foot intervals.  The homeowner had recently reported of a fully functional sewer line for six months with no backups.


Contact Harris Water Main & Sewer Contractors for cost effective resolutions when experiencing water line or sewer emergencies 718-495-3600.