What is Involved in Sewer or Water Line Replacement?

Every home plumbing system has two crucial components: sewer and water lines. Your sewer lines remove solid waste and grey water from your home and transport it to a public sewage treatment system or a septic tank. On the other hand, water lines convey clean water into your home for drinking or washing. This water usually comes from private wells or municipal suppliers.

Something can go wrong, and one of these lines can spring a leak, burst, or become clogged. Here are a few scenarios that could lead to your pipes becoming damaged and needing repair or replacement.

  • Tree roots: When tree roots grow underground, they tend to gravitate toward water sources. This could mean that roots gravitate towards your pipes, whether your water main or the liquid waste in your sewer line. Over time, a tree root can wrap around your pipes, weakening, clogging, or breaking them. Older clay pipes are particularly susceptible to this form of damage.
  • Corrosion: Many pipes, particularly those made of steel or iron, are galvanized to prevent rusting. However, this puts the lines at an increased risk of corrosion due to the buildup of magnesium and calcium from wear and tear. These particles corrode the pipes and can lead to holes and cracks in the structure.
  • Foreign objects: Clogged sewer or water lines are widespread household problems. One of the most common causes is cooking oil and grease that gets washed down the sink. Although it might seem harmless, these substances can coagulate and clog pipes. These fats should be poured into containers and placed in the garbage instead. Your sewer line can also get plugged in if you flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper. Objects like kitchen towels or everyday litter will not disintegrate and could block your system.
  • Extreme temperatures: During periods of extreme cold, pipes can freeze and rupture due to rapidly expanding ice. Excessive heat can also damage your plumbing system.

So, what can you expect from your sewer or water line replacement? The best course of action will depend on several factors, including the severity of the problem and the location of the affected pipes. Here are a few options your water or sewer services firm might suggest.

Consequences of water line burst


In extreme cases, your contractor might want to tunnel under your home to access your pipes and replace them with new ones. This can be a risky endeavor, not only for the contractor but for the security of your home too. Tunnelling can compromise the soil underneath your home’s foundation, and there’s no guarantee it will support your house. There are much safer, modern methods that avoid digging extensive tunnels.

Pipe Section Replacement

Another option is to identify the specific sections of pipe that need replacing and to cut them out one by one. A contractor might run a camera through your pipes, looking for leaks, clogs, or breaks before breaking through your home’s flooring to access the afflicted sections.

Pipe Lining

Sometimes, extracting old piping to replace your sewer or water line is unnecessary. One method involves inserting an inflatable epoxy tube into your pipe, which then expands to press against the existing line. The epoxy resin hardens and sets, thus repairing the leak. The inflatable tube is removed, and your pipes are good as new.

Pipe Bursting

There are cases where the damage to your water line is too extensive to perform the pipe lining technique, and a more invasive method is required. Pipe bursting works similarly, but instead of the inflatable epoxy tube, your contractor will feed a cone-shaped device through your pipes, which effectively bursts your existing line and replaces it with a new one. Although the pipe bursting method takes longer and is more expensive than pipe lining, it will repair your pipes without significant excavation.

If you need sewer or water line replacement – or advice on how to keep your pipes in good condition, get in touch with Mainline Water and Sewer today.