Orangeburg repair/replacement.

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by hornedfrog2000, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. hornedfrog2000

    hornedfrog2000 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    I was wondering if it was possible to replace the orangeburg myself, or if I should just get it done by a plumber?

    Also, how do you know how deep the actual line is?

    Thanks.
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    The city could tell you how deep your lateral connection is. Figure it slopes up from there to the house. What part of this do you need to replace? If it is the entire lateral, this is some serious digging.
  3. hornedfrog2000

    hornedfrog2000 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    I'm not exactly sure where, or how much. My house sits on a hill, and at the bottom is a cleanout pipe that goes down about 6 feet.

    I figure if it is easier to just dig down, and then repair a section, and hope it lasts about a year that is what I would do. I would like to save some money up to fix it first...

    Thanks for the quick reply.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,825
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    orangeburg

    If the pipe is like most Orangeburg, it will be out of round, which along with its oversized outside dimension will make it very difficult to find any way to repair it. The depth is whatever the plumber decided to make it, there is no standard. It could be 24" deep or 72".
  5. hornedfrog2000

    hornedfrog2000 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Since I am on a hill do you think they would have used 90 degree elbows to make it "stair case downward, or do you think it would have been more of a gradual slope down?

    Really appreciate your help.
  6. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    How are you going to find the place to dig? How do you know that it has failed; stopped up or leakage coming out of the ground? Can you run a snake up to where it stops, or use a camera?

    In some places the pipe from the house is run below the frost line to the sewer area and connected to a "chimney" that drops down to the sewer. In those cases the pipe is a lot higher than the sewer. Contractors usually don't dig any deeper than necessary.

    You could repair it by cutting out the bad section, then insert a length of pipe, use a piece of flexible material to close the joint space, and pour a generous amount of concrete to make the seal and mechanical joint.

    The problem with Orangeburg is that after a few years it isn't much more than a liner for the hole in the earth, and when you uncover it you have very little integrity of pipe to which a connection can be made.
  7. hornedfrog2000

    hornedfrog2000 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    We are going to get a cammera in there this week. I am assuming a couple things here, but my 3 of my close neighbors had to have theirs replaced, so I think it's a fair assumption.

    The Orangeburg will be under the foundation then, or will there be a piece of steal that goes from the "chimney" out a ways from the house?

    Thanks again.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,139
    Location:
    New England
    Not quite!

    Unless the basement is finished, you should be able to find where the sewer line exits the house. that will tell you the starting depth. They would normally run the pipe with a continuous slope - no turns or angled fittings except maybe right near the end to get it into the main sewer line and, if the pipe exits under the slab, to turn it horizontal. From where it exits the house, it needs a constant downslope, and if you can find out the depth of the line at the street, you should be able to figure it out.

    Once you start digging, it'll probably be easier and less traumatic to do the whole thing rather than doing it in piecemeal. Unless there is a big tree that the pipe runs under, it's a lot of manual labor, but not a horrible thing.

    If the line hasn't collapsed, there are relining techniques, but they aren't cheap and may not be suitable for your situation. You may not have anyone in the area that has the equipment or expertise to do it, either.
  9. hornedfrog2000

    hornedfrog2000 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Our basement is finished, and there is a cleanout pipe right inside of the house. So, basically the orangeburg should start right by that? I think I will at least dig down to it at the top by our house to see how deep it is first.
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,139
    Location:
    New England
    Should be easy to determine with just a tape rule...measure from the ceiling, then go outside and measure from where the basement wall ends (usually a few inches above where the siding starts), and that should give you a very good idea. It's unlikely that the pipe does any jogging after it goes through the wall.
  11. hornedfrog2000

    hornedfrog2000 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    When you walk into our house you enter the basement. I don't really understand what you mean in the above post. Sorry for not puting this information in there.
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,139
    Location:
    New England
    Does the sewer exit through the floor or the wall? If the wall (on the side of the house that is not a walk-out), then you should be able to figure out how deep it is. If it goes out the floor, you won't know until you dig down to it.
  13. hornedfrog2000

    hornedfrog2000 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    The pipe goes down into the floor. I wont be able to tell where the orange burg starts until I dig down to it?
  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,139
    Location:
    New England
    Not unless you are superman...they should be able to tell if you pay someone to run a camera down the line.
  15. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    The cast iron pipe should exit the house a few feet before you come to the orangeburg. The drain can change direction with this type of drain line. If you have somebody come to video the drain I would make sure they have a locater so you can get the depth and were it goes. I have seen pipes exit houses turn right, turn left, like they were trying to get around something. Very strange.
  16. hornedfrog2000

    hornedfrog2000 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Someone is coming out tomorrow, I will let you guys know what they tell me.

    Thanks for all the help so far!
  17. hornedfrog2000

    hornedfrog2000 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    The conclusion is we need to dig it up some way, or another.

    I started to dig to see how long it would take me, and i dug about 2'x2' deep in about 15 minutes.... I started right by the clean out pipe, which is by the street.

    The city said we needed a licensed plumber to do the connection, is this correct, or does it go city, to city?

    The clean out pipe is about 5 feet from the street, and about 5.5 feet down. It really wont matter if I start digging just to see will it?

    This really sucks...I am 22 years old, and I am just trying to save my parents some money by doing the expensive part myself. I have other people to help me, but it will mostly be on me, and it really isn't easy, because I am kind of busy.

    Thanks for the help guys...P.S. If you want me to post pics just ask. It might take me a little while though, because I'm going out of town this weekend, and work full time....

    Thanks again, James.
  18. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,825
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    dig

    5 1/2' down is may not be a safe depth, depending on the type of soil. People have been trapped, even in ditches that shallow, when the walls cave in.
  19. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,139
    Location:
    New England
    A large part of the expense is the lower skilled part, digging the ditch. But, that can be dangerous as HJ said. If you can safely expose the ends and a trench from the house to the streetside connection, having a plumber make the physical connection, and then you backfill should minimize the cost. Keep in mind that it takes attention to detail to backfill properly and might get costly if you have to shore up the trench to safely work in it, not only for yourself, but for the plumber.
  20. markts30

    markts30 Commercial Plumber

    Messages:
    630
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Explore pipe bursting as an option...
    Don't know the cost vs trenching - might be comparable or not...
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