What is Orangeburg Pipe? Should you replace Orangeburg Pipe? Can Orangeburg pipe be replaced with Trenchless technology?

What is Orangeburg Pipe?

As a modern plumber who is spoiled with the constant advancements of technology I frown upon Orangeburg pipe, but the creative and resourceful person inside of me is impressed with a pipe that was created out of wood pulp fibers and adhesive. Only hind site is 20/20 and considering that Orangeburg pipe was used from the 1860’s well into the 20th century, that’s pretty impressive to me. Orangeburg pipe was named from the city it was born in, Orangeburg, New York. The pipe is made from layers of wood pulp, water-resistant adhesive and tar. Orangeburg would later be replaced by plastics likeABS and PVC, which are superior in longevity. Orangeburg served its purpose at the time without more modern alternatives. Orangeburg pipe was only ever allowed to be used for outside sewer lines, not sewer or drain lines under the foundation.

Should you replace Orangeburg Pipe?

Orangeburg pipe over time deteriorates in the ground and collapses causing sewer stoppages and flooding of homes and businesses. Orangeburg pipe was originally supposed to last 50 years, but history has shown that even undergood conditions the pipe only lasts about 30 years, you’re going to dramatically shorten the lifespan of the pipe if there are any trees or large shrubs planted near the sewer line. The layers of the pipe become like sheets of paper as they decompose in the ground and those sheets of paper separate and lose their strength and integrity. The bottom line, it isn’t a matter of if you should replace your Orangeburg sewer line, but when.

There are typically 2 reasons that people know that they have Orangeburg sewer lines.

1. You’ve recently purchased your home and you had a sewer line camera inspection

2. You’re already feeling the pain and expense of the sewer line collapsing and you’re experiencing stoppages in your home or business.

If you’ve recently purchased your home and you know it has Orangeburg it is our professional recommendation that you prioritize replacing this pipe before investing into cosmetic repairs of your home. The sewer line will inevitably fall apart and need to be replaced and it is better to be proactive with this process rather than reactive and feel the pain of your new home flooded with sewage. If you’re already experiencing stoppages replacement of your sewer line should be a top priority, the line will collapse to the point that a cable will no longer clear the stoppages and you will find yourself with an emergency andwithout the ability to use the plumbing in your home and could face flooding.

Signs it is time to replace your sewer line

  • Stoppages
  • Slow drains
  • Sink holes in the yard
  • Cracks in concrete patios or driveways
  • Landscaping that appear to be greener than the rest.

If you have any of these symptoms it’s time to call our professional team to perform a camera inspection of your sewer line and confirm the line isin good condition or if it needs to be repaired or replaced.

Can Orangeburg pipe be replaced with Trenchless technology?

Orangeburg sewer lines can be a great candidate for trenchless sewer replacement if the line is in good enough condition still. Not all trenchless technologies will work with Orangeburg, and the licensed plumber on site will have to confirm the condition of the existing pipe, as well as confirm that the line does not have any bellies in it.

Types of trenchless that can work to replace Orangeburg?

There are two common types of trenchless sewer line replacement systems that could work for replacing your Orangeburg line, but often the pipe just isn’t in good enough condition for trenchless replacement, this is where a camera inspection of the line by a certified and licensed company is vital to determine the best course of action for your sewer line.

Pipe Lining

Pipe lining or (CIPP) cured in place piping,can sometimes be a great option for Orangeburg replacement, however this option will only be viable if the existing pipe is in good enough condition and is durable enough to hold up to the process. Trenchless isn’t always the best option for replacement of Orangeburg lines, often with the digging process of gaining access to the line on both ends of the pipe it is just easier and safer to dig up and trench the line and replace it rather than attempt a trenchless replacement. We recommend looking into trenchless when the line is in good enough condition and if the landscaping is extensive. This repair process requires a cleanout to the sewer line (an opening in the sewer line meant to provide access to the sewer line for drain machines) and it also requires a hole at the end of the line for access to the equipment. This type of trenchless sewer replacement requires the ability to access the line from both the beginning and the end of the pipe.

Pipe Bursting

Similar to pipe lining the pipe bursting technology also requires access to the sewer line at both the entry point and the end of the line where it connects to the city or the septic. Unlike pipe lining, pipe bursting will not rely as heavily on the condition of the existing Orangeburg as long as there are no bellies in the line. The pipe bursting equipment will follow the existing path of the Orangeburg and burst through the pipe while pulling a new pipe through the space. This is why lines with bellies are not a candidate for trenchless replacement, they will still have a belly in the line after the new pipe has been pulled through.