A collapsed or cracked and leaking sewer line is a serious situation that needs immediate repair so you can use the toilets and drains in your home. There are three basic types of sewer line repair to consider. One involves digging up the entire pipe so it can be replaced with a new one. Another method is to pull a liner through the old pipe without digging it up.
The third method of sewer line repair is pipe bursting. This could be the method your sewer line needs if a liner can't be pulled through and you don't want a long trench dug in your yard. Here's how pipe bursting works for repairing a damaged sewer line.
Pipe Bursting Breaks Up The Old Pipe
Pipe bursting is different from pipe lining since a new pipe is pulled under the ground rather than pulling a liner through. To make room for the new pipe, the old one is broken apart and the pieces are left underground. This leaves space for the replacement pipe.
A potential disadvantage of a pipe liner is that it fits inside the old pipe so the diameter of the new pipe formed by the liner is smaller. With the pipe bursting method, a pipe of the same size or even larger than your old sewer line is pulled through since the old pipe is broken apart to make room.
The Contractor Digs Two Pits
Rather than digging a trench the length of your sewer line, the contractor just has to dig a pit at each end of the line. One pit has the hydraulic equipment needed to pull the new pipe through, and the other pit is where the contractor inserts the new pipe.
A Bursting Head Pulls The New Pipe Behind It
The new pipe is pulled underground with a bursting head. The head has a bullet shape so the tapered end can fit inside the old sewer line. The back of the head is larger so it breaks up the old pipe. The new pipe is attached to the back of the bursting head so it is pulled through as the old pipe is broken up. This keeps the old sewer line parts and soil from filling the void before the new pipe is in place.
The operator in the pit with the hydraulic pulling machine sends a long rod through the old pipe to the other pit to grab the bursting head. Then the rod slowly pulls the head and new plastic pipe back to the pit so the end can be connected to your plumbing. The new line can be pulled under buildings and landscaping so your yard, except for the pits, doesn't have to be disturbed.