Until recently, the only way to replace or repair broken sewer lines was to dig a deep trench to expose the entire length of the pipeline, thus disrupting parking lot and road traffic or destroying landscaping and trees. The old pipe had to be pulled up and discarded and lengths of new pipe had to be carefully laid in place and fused together.
Thanks to new technology, broken underground residential, commercial and even municipal sewer pipes can, in many cases, now be replaced or re-lined without the need to dig unsightly trenches, which can destroy and disturb expensive lawns, driveways, trees and landscaping.
How it Works
New trenchless excavation technology uses advanced equipment to enter the ground via two small access pits, approximately four feet by four feet square. Using the broken sewer line as a guide, hydraulic pipe-bursting machinery pulls full-sized, seamless replacement pipe through the old pipe’s path while breaking up the old damaged pipe in the process. Once the job is completed, the entrance and exit pits can be quickly refilled, leaving little or no evidence of activity. Since the pipe is seamless, it is virtually impervious to leaks or root intrusion. The entire process goes on below ground leaving almost everything on the surface undisturbed.
Another process is called “trenchless pipe re-lining.” Pipe re-lining is a process where a new inner skin or sleeve is threaded through damaged underground pipes, sealing cracks and creating a smooth new inner wall that will last for decades. Like the aforementioned pipe bursting technique, the pipe re-lining equipment is non-invasive and requires only a couple of small pits to gain access to the damaged pipes below ground. The re-lining process is particularly useful for repairing damaged pipes encased in concrete slabs.
Trenchless systems can replace pipelines up to several hundred feet in length beneath parking lots, streets, driveways, yards, golf course fairways and greens and even protected wetlands. The company has also saved countless mature trees, which might have otherwise died from the shock of having conventional trenches dug through their nutrient-gathering root fields. Prior to the availability of trenchless excavation, a sewer replacement dig was a virtual death sentence for surrounding trees.
To sum up, when these applications are appropriate, benefits are some of the property management industry’s highest priorities: time-saving, environmentally-friendly, money-saving, cosmetically pleasing and minimal disruption to tenants.
by Paul Abrams, spokesman and public relations manager, Roto-Rooter Services Company.