Sewer pipe: repair or replace?

Have you detected a sewer defect? Are you unsure whether replacement or repair is the better choice? Find out about your options and the scenarios when trenchless technologies can be used.

Sewer pipe: repair or replacement? What are the options?

A damaged sewer pipe is a serious issue that can cause odour in the vicinity, contaminate soil and groundwater and damage both municipal and private property. When does a sewer pipe have to be replaced? When will a repair suffice? How are sewer pipes repaired?

It has been claimed that a properly installed sewer pipe is virtually ‘immortal’ and requires no maintenance. From our own experience, we know that this is not always the case. Numerous factors affect the functionality of sewer systems. Human error can also cause problems, as can natural influences.

Once you find out that a sewer works poorly or not at all, you have to act quickly to prevent pipe clogging issues from escalating.

Cleaning and diagnosing come before repairing a sewer pipe

The chief task is to find out why a sewer pipe’s flow rate has deteriorated or ground to a halt. In order to ‘take a peek’ inside the pipe, you first need to clean it. Only then can cameras and specialised robotic devices be used to tackle specific repairs.

Following this, a specialist firm can work out how to tackle the sewer defect. Two principal options are available:

1. The sewer pipe can be repaired using a trenchless technology

The better-case scenario is where the sewer can be repaired using a trenchless technology as this is less time-consuming and costly, causing only minor disruptions to normal road traffic.

Trenchless methods for repairing sewer pipes include:

Rehabilitation using the UV Liner technology: The pipe is repaired using a sleeve method for a quick and clean renovation. Find out more about the technology here.

Trenchless rehabilitation using the INSAK method: The pipe is repaired using an inverted sleeve technology suitable for various types of sewer pipes regardless of material or shape. Click here for more information about INSAK.

Trenchless repair of a sewer pipe using a short rehabilitation sleeve: This is suitable for local repairs of damaged sewer pipes – a short liner (about 0.5 m) is inserted into the pipe.

Sewer pipe defects that can be repaired using trenchless technologies:

  • Cracked pipe wall
  • Decoupled and leaking joints
  • Missing parts of pipes
  • Leaky pipe couplings
  • Leaky service pipes
  • Small cracks and breaks
  • Compromised pipe surface
  • Roots growing into the pipe

2. The sewer pipe is damaged so severely that it must be replaced

If the inspection reveals a serious problem in a sewer pipe, no trenchless method will work.

When the pipe cannot be repaired, the only remaining option is to dig up the entire section and replace the damaged pipe.

Sewer pipe defects that require digging

  • Collapsed sections of piping
  • Disintegrating, structurally compromised sewers
  • Extensive cracks and breaks
  • Excessive pipe spacing