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Thread: DIY Sewer Mainline Replacement Plan

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  1. #1
    DIY Member sctclimbs's Avatar
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    Default DIY Sewer Mainline Replacement Plan

    I have tree roots growing into my clay pipe sewer line. I have had a camera sent down the line showing the root invasion in several of the joints. Since the first backup I have snaked the line yearly to prevent problems but this year the roots beat me to the punch and had a backup after 8 months. The wife says enough and wants the line replaced. The camera showed the roots invading the line underneath my property but not underneath the road before the sewer tap. My city will issue me a permit to work on the section before the right of way so I am going to try this myself rather than drop 8 grand. Here is my plan.

    I have gotten the plat for my house and know exactly where the sewer line is located. It is 6-7 feet deep at the house and 4-5 feet at the sidewalk. It is a 37 foot run from the house to the sidewalk. I plan to rent a mini-excavator to dig the trench and hydraulic shoring equipment to shore the sides. I am well aware of the safety issues here. Code requires 6 inches of pea gravel below the pipe and minimum 1/4 inch drop per 1ft run. I plan on using gasketed SDR-35, ASTM 3034 approved pipe which is accepted here by local code. Shielded Fernco couplings, guessing cast iron to plastic at the house and then plastic to clay at the sidewalk. Plan on installing cleanouts at the house and sidewalk.

    Questions:
    1. What do you recommend using to make a clean straight cut on the clay pipe to accept the Fernco?
    2. Any issues to think about when backfilling to avoid affecting the line?
    3. Anything else?
    Last edited by sctclimbs; 08-21-2009 at 08:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    ABSOLUTELY a MUST to have a "dig alert" service survey the area. The dangers and liabilities from digging up possible water, gas, phone, electrical...are large. And in most places, the LAW requires the use of dig alert.

    Are you aware of how much hand digging will also be involved? How long are you prepared to be without sewer while you work on this?

  3. #3
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    You will need a full size back hoe for this a, mini will take 3-4 times longer and may not even work...I think they do 6-7' deep but that is it's max depth not the working depth...do you also have a drag box so if the trench colapses they won't be just backfilling and placing a marker on the spot you died....what size bucket are you using...

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Even as an avid DIYer who will tackle just about anything, I suggest leaving this one for the pros. And if I could not afford that, I would install a pump with a shallow line going out to the street.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default sewer

    A mini hoe will not have a bucket wide enought to dig the ditch you need for a 6' to 8' deep sewer. Between that, and the shoring, I assume you will be spending most of that $8,000.00 anyway, assuming that is really what it would cost. I would NEVER use SCR pipe at that depth. It crushes at 4' and has to be replaced.

  6. #6
    DIY Member sctclimbs's Avatar
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    Thanks for the repsonses. I already called and had the ultilies marked, nothingwithin 12 feet of the trench.

    I can get a mini-excavator with an 18 inch bucket that digs to 11 feet or a backhoe with I think a 24 inch bucket that digs to 14 feet, that big enough?. Both are around $250 a day.

    The SDR-35 is OK with the city. My neighbor just had his line done, same depth as mine and that's what they used but I could go with the SDR-26 if that is better. Don't know if sch. 40 PVC is approved or not but could check if that is recommended.

  7. #7
    Mechanical Engineer loafer's Avatar
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    SDR 35 pipe will not crush at 4ft, did you mean to say 40ft?

    Even that would not always be right. For most soil compaction densities SDR 35 can be buried 40 – 50ft and still be below the 7.5% vertical deflection threshold allowed per ASTM D3034.

    For the homeowner’s purpose, the 7’ depth with no traffic/road load will not be a problem.



    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    A mini hoe will not have a bucket wide enought to dig the ditch you need for a 6' to 8' deep sewer. Between that, and the shoring, I assume you will be spending most of that $8,000.00 anyway, assuming that is really what it would cost. I would NEVER use SCR pipe at that depth. It crushes at 4' and has to be replaced.

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