Failing residential sewer pipes highlight need for trenchless sewer repair in Twin Falls area

admin Sewer Repair

Property owners with deteriorating sewer lines faced with sewer repair in Twin Falls and other local cities

Traditional open cut sewer repair in Twin Falls

Open cut sewer repair in Twin Falls

The infrastructure in America is aging. Many of the utilities we take for granted are nearing the end of their usable life. Many property owners in our area are feeling the effects. Electrical systems and water lines fail. The need for sewer repair in Twin Falls and the surrounding cities is becoming more evident.

Many homeowners are living with chronic sewer backups due to a failing sewer. They are reluctant to have their sewer line replaced because they are not aware of their options. When they think of a sewer repair, they envision years’ worth of property improvements being destroyed in one fell swoop in a large excavation project. They imagine a large, ugly trench cut across their beautifully manicured lawn, their expensive irrigation system ripped apart. Beyond that, many homeowners have other assets, such as concrete patios or retaining walls, that would need to be removed in order to dig up the sewer. Garden sheds, garages, driveways, fences, and other features create even more challenges.

Thankfully, due to Western Septic & Excavation’s investment and training in trenchless technology, there are alternatives for sewer repair in Twin Falls and the surrounding area. Trenchless sewer repair is a method of repairing or replacing a sewer with minimal digging. In fact, in some cases the pipe can be repaired with no digging whatsoever. Western Septic & Excavation has invested heavily in trenchless equipment. We are factory trained and certified for the trenchless methods and equipment we use.

Options for sewer repair in Twin Falls

There are several options available if you are a property owner needing a sewer repair in Twin Falls or other parts of the Magic Valley. Every property and situation is unique. Western Septic & Excavation is committed to educating our customers about the options that are available. We will provide a recommendation on what we feel is the most cost effect solution for you.

Traditional excavation

Traditional excavation, also known as open cut or trenching, is the method of using an excavator to dig up the old sewer and replace the pipe. Although this is quite invasive, it is still the most cost-effective choice in many cases. The advantages of trenching are that the old pipe is completely removed, and a brand new pipe is installed. Any imperfections, such as humps or bellies, in the old sewer, are removed. The new pipe is installed with correct slope. Open trenching also allows the new sewer to be rerouted in a different location than the old one. Trenching is often a good choice for small repairs where only a short section of damaged pipe needs to be replaced. The bad news: there is simply no way to sugar-coat the fact that excavating is destructive. Lawns and flower beds are damaged, if not completely destroyed. Concrete and other surface features like retaining walls sometimes need to be taken out. Another complication of trenching is underground utilities. If the electrical service or gas line crosses or runs parallel to the sewer, digging can be a very risky and time-consuming endeavor. One downside worth mentioning is that if the person installing the new pipe in the trench is careless about digging a flat, smooth trench and doesn’t compact the soil properly under the new pipe, it can settle over time. The proper slope required for drainage will be lost and the sewer will again become prone to clogging and backups.

If a sewer isn’t buried very deep and runs through an open area, without a lot of buried utilities nearby, digging is a great choice. In open areas, trenching can be done quickly at relatively low cost. Costs of landscape repairs are offset by the lower cost of the open cut method. Western Septic & Excavation takes pride in the quality of our work and will do our best to install a sewer that will last decades. While advancing trenchless methods are more attractive in some cases, the majority of sewer repair in Twin Falls and other communities in the Magic Valley is performed using the open cut trench method.

CIPP point repair / PipePatch No-Dig Pipe Repair
No-Dig sewer repair in Twin Falls

Demonstration PipePatch repair showing a patch covering a separation and a large hole in a pipe

CIPP (Cured In Place Pipe) is a method of inserting a flexible resin-soaked fiberglass or felt tube, or liner, inside of a broken pipe. Once in place, the liner is cured to form a new pipe inside the old pipe. CIPP point repair systems are designed to patch short problematic sections of pipe from a single joint to longer lengths of 15′-20′ or more. Western Septic & Excavation utilizes the PipePatch No-Dig Pipe Repair System. The PipePatch system was invented by Fernco, an well-known manufacturer of plumbing products. PipePatch was the original CIPP point repair system, and pioneered the concept of No-Dig Pipe Repairs. We were the first local company to offer PipePatch No-Dig sewer repairs in Twin Falls and other parts of south central Idaho.

PipePatch patches can be inserted through almost any cleanout or access point in a plumbing system and pushed to the problem area. PipePatch patches can seal joints from roots, repair breaks, and bridge large holes in a sewer pipe. Once cured, it is a smooth pipe that is as strong or stronger than most original pipe materials. The patch itself is approximately 1/8″ thick and consists of a fiberglass patch and a special resin that is incredibly strong and can cure and actually bond to the wall of the original pipe even when wet. Patches can even be inserted through a smaller access to patch a large pipe, for example a 4″ patch for a 4″ line can be inserted through a 3″ cleanout. We are equipped with equipment of various sizes and lengths to patch 3″, 4″, and 6″ pipes, including transitions between sizes, elbows, and more.

PipePatch is an excellent option for small spot repairs that would be very difficult or costly using other methods. PipePatch repairs are fast, with some repairs taking as little as 3 or 4 hours in all, including setup, prep, curing, and cleanup. Some of the applications we have used PipePatch for include repairs to sewers under buildings or main drains under slab-on-grade homes. We have employed PipePatch sewer repair in Twin Falls residential sewers and drains, as well as in commercial applications. We have used the system in dairy applications as well, repairing a completely broken pipe underneath the cow deck in a dairy parlor without shutting down the milking operation. If you have a sewer with a small number of problem areas, PipePatch is a great choice that will stand the test of time.

Pipe bursting
Trenchless sewer repair in Twin Falls - entry pit

Pipe burst entry pit

Pipe bursting is the only trenchless sewer repair method that completely replaces a sewer without trenching. While pipe bursting does require a small amount of excavation, the result is a brand new pipe installed in the place of the old sewer with only minimal digging. With pipe bursting, a small pit is dug at each end of the sewer, called the entry and exit pits. Often this only requires one pit to be dug on the property, since the other pit can be dug in the alley behind the property. A cable is inserted through the old sewer, and a cone-shaped burst head attached to the cable. A very strong HDPE pipe is then fused together to the length needed to form a solid, seamless pipe that is impervious to roots. This pipe is attached to the back of the burst head. Once everything is set up, a very powerful puller pulls the cable through the old pipe. The burst head shatters the original sewer pipe and presses it into the surrounding soil, while the new pipe is pulled through behind it. Once pulled through, the pipe is reconnected at either end and the pits are backfilled.

The advantages of the pipe bursting method are many. The impact to the property is minimal. A brand new, root-proof, seamless pipe is installed that is the same diameter as the original, but with better flow characteristics. Pipe bursting can even be used to increase the size of pipe installed. For example, an underground 4″ pipe can be burst and replaced with a new 6″ pipe. Pipe bursting can even correct small bellies in the original pipe. Using the pipe bursting method, new sewers can even be installed around as many as three 45 degree bends.

There are a few disadvantages to pipe bursting. First of all, although minimal, it does require a small amount of excavation. Secondly, if a sewer has a large sag or long belly, the new pipe will follow the old pipe and will end up with a belly as well. Those areas would have to be excavated to correct them. There is also one joint at each end of the new pipe where it attaches to the city main and the house drain. While not likely, there is a chance of root intrusion at those two points.

Trenchless sewer repair in Twin Falls - exit pit

Pipe burst exit pit

Pipe bursting is a great option when dealing with sewers that are deeply buried, and in situations where the pipe runs underneath a feature that needs to be preserved. Unless there is a reason why all excavation should be avoided, pipe bursting is often the best choice for trenchless sewer repair.  Western Septic & Excavation uses equipment made by TRIC Tools, Inc. TRIC Tools was the original pioneer of trenchless sewer repair technologies, inventing the pipe bursting method and equipment in the 1980’s. We are proud to provide trenchless sewer repair in Twin Falls and other communities in southern Idaho.

CIPP lateral lining

CIPP (Cured In Place Pipe) sewer lateral lining, also known as sewer lining or inversion lining, is a trenchless technology that allows an existing sewer that has proper slope for drainage and is structurally sound to be rehabilitated. There are several methods for CIPP lining, such as inversion lining and pull-in-place liners, but other than their method of inserting the liner all accomplish the same thing. First, a felt liner is cut to the exact length of the pipe that needs to be rehabilitated. It is then impregnated with resin and inserted in the sewer. Once inserted, a bladder inside the liner known as a calibration tube is inflated, packing the liner against the wall of the original, or host, pipe while it cures. In some cases, steam is introduced into the calibration tube which speeds the curing process.

The advantages offered by CIPP lateral lining include the fact that it is fast and, in many cases, completely eliminates the need for any excavation whatsoever. A sewer with numerous root infested joints that is in good condition can be completely and permanently rehabilitated. There are also disadvantages to the CIPP lining process. Any imperfection in the host pipe, such as bellies or collapsed spots, will simply be covered up, but not corrected. The liner is not a structurally sound pipe in and of itself. Care must be taken when cleaning a lined sewer, since a sewer snake or hydro jetter can damage or destroy a liner.

Western Septic & Excavation does not currently offer CIPP lateral lining as an option for sewer repair in Twin Falls and other area towns. There are several reasons for this. First of all, CIPP lining is not a replacement; it is a method of rehabilitating an old pipe. A very high percentage of sewers in Twin Falls and other local towns were installed using Orangeburg pipe. In a nutshell, Orangeburg is a laminated pipe made of asphalt and paper. Instead of just allowing roots at joints and cracks, nearly all Orangeburg pipe has deformed under the weight of the soil. Most of it is now very oblong shaped, instead of round like a new pipe. During this settling, layers of the pipe delaminate and form jagged ridges and bumps inside the pipe. As roots from trees grow nearby, they find their way alongside of the pipe, and as the root grows, the pipe forms around it, leaving a large indention in the side of the pipe for up to several feet. In short, when Orangeburg pipe fails, it usually is too deformed to act as a host pipe for a liner. If these failed lines are rehabilitated with CIPP lining, the new liner will conform to the old pipe and will result in a lot of money spent for little, if any, improvement. Furthermore, once a liner is installed in a pipe it can no longer be replaced with bursting. It is alarming that we have observed property owners who were sold a CIPP liner to rehabilitate a very deformed sewer in a location that would be very, very difficult to excavate. This certainly poses a very real challenge if and when the lined Orangeburg sewer fails. The only way to replace these sewers will be to excavate, at great cost to the owner and destruction to the property.

Does this mean that CIPP lining is not a viable option for sewer repair in Twin Falls? Certainly not. We have seen numerous clay and asbestos cement sewer pipes that were in very good condition structurally aside from a chronic root intrusion problem. These sewers would be a prime candidate for CIPP lining. However, the number of sewers that we inspect that are viable candidates for CIPP lining are very low percentage-wise. Orangeburg pipe comprises the vast majority of the failed sewers that we deal with. CIPP equipment is very costly, and the minimal demand for CIPP sewer repairs in Twin Falls and the surrounding area does not justify owning the equipment. Instead, we have formed business relationships with CIPP lining companies from outside the area that we subcontract to do our CIPP lining work. These companies are highly specialized and focus exclusively on sewer lining, ensuring you get the highest quality CIPP installation possible.

How do I decide what option is right for me?

Are you a in need of a sewer repair in Twin Falls or elsewhere in the Magic Valley? If so, the best place to begin is to have your sewer cleaned and inspected with a sewer camera. Western Septic & Excavation provides sewer camera inspection services to all of south central Idaho. Once inspected, the information gained will be a valuable resource to us in making a recommendation, and also will be a helpful educational tool to help you as the owner make an educated decision about what is right for your property.

Give us a call today, or contact us by filling out the form on our contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!