The Sour Reality of Orangeburg Sewer Pipes

Did you ever have an idea that seemed good at the time but it ended up backfiring later on? Sure, we all have. In fact, it has even happened in the plumbing industry. We can look back at some plumbing methods from decades ago that didn’t work out very well. One notable example is Orangeburg sewer pipes. If you have an older home, you will want to read on to learn how this outdated material can affect your household.

What is Orangeburg pipe?

Orangeburg is a type of pipe material that was common from 1945 through the early 1970s. Made of bituminized fiber, it was created to save iron and steel for other uses during World War II. Orangeburg gained popularity because it was inexpensive and known as the “no-corrode” pipe.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but unfortunately, it was later discovered that Orangeburg isn’t nearly as durable as it was thought to be. Instead of lasting for 50 years (as it was expected), the sewer pipes began to fail about 30 years after installation.

Why Orangeburg sewer pipes need to be replaced

The sewer pipe has a very important job on your property. It carries all the wastewater from the home through an underground pipe and discharges into the municipal sewer system. When the sewer pipe breaks down, is damaged, or becomes clogged, it can lead to slow drains in the home or even sewage back-ups.

Orangeburg was a poor material for sewer lines because it absorbs moistures. Over time, this can result in the pipe deforming or flattening (especially under the pressure of the soil), which disrupts the water flow. To make matters worse, Orangeburg pipe is also prone to tree roots growing into it, among other issues.

Signs of damages Orangeburg pipe

While it’s clear that Orangeburg is not reliable, pipes deteriorate at different rates. Some Orangeburg sewer lines have lasted a long time, which is why they can still be found at some homes.

The warning signs of a sewer line problem is the same no matter what material the pipe is made out of, but especially if you may have Orangeburg, you will want to look out for the following:

  • Frequent drain or toilet problems that affect multiple areas of the home
  • Low water pressure and flow
  • Soggy yard or difference in grass color along the path of the sewer line
  • Sinkholes in yard or foundation
  • Sewage smells inside the home
  • Unexplained increase in water bills
  • Water backing up into the basement
  • Mildew or mold growth

Sewer line repair and replacement in Oahu and Maui

If at any time you suspect there’s a problem with your sewer line, it’s important to get it corrected as soon as possible. In some cases, the pipe can be repaired but for severe damage, the line will need to be replaced. For an expert evaluation and recommendation using the latest methods, bring in Emergency Plumbing & Solar. Schedule an appointment by calling (808) 691-9309 Oahu, (808) 400-8811 Hawaii Island.


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