need to replace sewer lateral?
Posted by lfr on June 06, 2002 at 09:46:06:
my parents live in a house with a 4" clay pipe lateral. over the past few years, the lateral has been repeatedly blocked with roots.

in clearing the most recent blockage, the plumber removed roots up to a 1/4" in diameter. at the plumbers suggestion, the lateral was examined with a video camera. three locations were identified and marked where the plumber indicated the pipe has collapsed. his recommendation is that the lateral be replaced.

as a follow-up, the city was contacted to discuss requirements for replacing the lateral. the city came out and performed their own visual inspection of the pipe. according to the city, the pipes are fine. the "collapsed areas" are "simply joints where the seal(?) has been compromised". the city's recommendation is to not replace the lateral, but to simply perform root removal as needed.

needless to say, "root removal as needed" tends to be a "one-day-too-late" solution. however, the costs we have been quoted to replace the lateral have been in the $20k range.

1) other than a contractor's desire to perform work and the city's desire to avoid work, what can explain the difference of opinions based on the visual inspections?

2) are quotes in the $20k range reasonable for the replacement of a lateral? the length of the run is approximately 15', but would require the street to be dug up.

3) any alternatives that would provide a longer-term solution.

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