Replacing 97-year old Orangeburg Pipe, using Trenchless Technology

This is a pipe bursting we did new trenches technology. We can replace a sewer line without digging up the whole yard. A pit is needed on both ends. This pulls a new line inside the old line.

This job has Orangeburg pipe and had started to collapse. Roto rooter had been out 3 times and had not fix the problem. They were told not to flush paper. 97 years old, told not to flush paper and left without fixing their problem. Unbelievable! We went and discovered the problem, quoted an upfront price and did this job the same day.

Traditionally, we would have brought out a backhoe and dug a trench from the house to the septic tank. But on this job we dug a pit at the house and at the septic tank, and ran a cable through the existing Orangeburg pipe with some difficulty. We then attached a bursting head to the end of the pipe. The cable is then running through the pipe pulling equipment on one end, and attached to bursting head on the other. The equipment grabs the cable and pulls the old bursting head and pipe through the old existing pipe. The puller can pull up to 30 tons of force. The bursting head splits and breaks the old pipe making room for the new pipe. Once the pipe is pulled into place the bursting head is cut off, and the pipe is connected at both ends.

Orangeburg pipe was made with inside diameters from 2 inches to 18 inches out of wood pulp and sealed with hot pitch. Joints were made in a similar fashion, and due to the materials involved, were able to be sealed without the usage of adhesives. Orangeburg was lightweight, albeit brittle, and soft enough to be cut with a handsaw. Orangeburg was a low cost alternative to metal for sewer lines in particular. Lack of strength causes pipes made of Orangeburg to fail more frequently than pipes made with other materials. The useful life for an Orangeburg pipe is about 50 years under ideal conditions, but has been known to fail in as little as 10 years. It has been taken off the list of acceptable materials by most building codes.

It was observed in early usage that Orangeburg was susceptible to deformation from pressure. Deformed Orangeburg has been referred to as "egg-shaped" and is subject to blistering. Thus, manufacturers urged "bedding" the pipes in sand or pea gravel to prevent rupture.


All Orangeburg pipe should be replaced

This is the plate place in the ditch, the bank is cut straight so we can pull against the bank. The photo on the right is the hydraulic cylinders attached to the plate and cage.

This is the heat fusion equipment. The pipe used for pipe bursting has to be strong and more flexible than standard PVC pipe. This pipe is jointed together by heating the faces of the pipe and then pressing them together. A properly fused pipe joint is as strong or stronger than the pipe itself.

This the pipe entering the pit. You can see why the flexibility is important.

This is the bursting head with the equipment removed.

The pipe can be hit with a sledge hammer to push the pipe further into the pit.

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