Have you gotten news that your sewer main line needs to be replaced? You may not know it, but as a homeowner, you’re responsible for your sewer mainline —the line that connects your home to the city main line. Everything involved with that line, from your home to the city main line is your responsibility, including the street and sidewalk if needed.

You’re responsible for any necessary repairs to the line, as well as patching the asphalt, the sidewalk, and anything else involved on the city end of your sewer main line. If it needs to be excavated for repairs, the obligation is yours to return the area to its original condition.

But what, exactly, does this involve? What happens when your sewer main line needs to be replaced? Keep reading to learn more!

What to Expect When Your Sewer Main Line Needs to be Replaced

Our Step-by-Step Process for a Full Excavation

  • Before beginning excavation, we locate all electrical and gas lines
  • Once the site is ready for excavation, we lay down plywood to help keep your yard in good shape
  • If needed, we will block off a portion of your street and have someone directing traffic so that in-street work can be completed safely and efficiently
  • We then bring in tractors to dig up the full length of the pipe, and we make sure to dump all excavated material onto the plywood to help protect your landscaping
  • We replace the old line with a brand-new pipe, from your home all the way out into the street
  • We call the city to do an inspection of the work
  • Once the inspection is complete, we begin the work of patching everything up, including your yard, the sidewalk, and the asphalt

Ways to Replace a Sewer Main Line

There are two different ways we can approach a sewer mainline replacement. The first way is with a full excavation. The second way is with pipe bursting, also referred to as sewer lining. Most homes in Colorado will eventually require a full excavation, but we detail the specifics of both methods below.

1. Full Excavation

An excavator digs a trench to remove damaged sewer mainline from the residential front yard as workers look on. With most sewer main line repair situations here in Colorado, full excavation is often the route we have to take. Why? A lot of homes in the Denver metro area are relatively old. In fact, the median home age in Denver is 50 years (10 years older than the national average). Over time, pipes deteriorate, tree roots create obstructions, the ground shifts, and blockages can cause your sewer line to back up. The older your home is, the more susceptible it is to a damaged sewer mainline.

We understand that this process can be disruptive to your daily activities, so we typically try to complete a sewer mainline replacement in one day. Depending on how much asphalt or concrete needs to be patched, this can sometimes be a two-day job, but a one-day service is always our aim.

2. Pipe Bursting (AKA Sewer Lining)

If your sewer main line has good fall and no bellies, it may be a candidate for replacement via line burst. In this case, we run a pipe-bursting device through your line that breaks the existing pipe and pulls a brand new pipe through the middle of the old one. The new line effectively lines the inside of the old pipe. This method of sewer mainline replacement isn’t very common in Colorado because the ground here moves so much. This movement creates “bellies” in the line which require a full excavation.

What’s “Good Condition?”
Your line should have a good “fall,” sometimes referred to as “slope” or “pitch.” Generally speaking, your line should have a positive (downward) slope where it falls at least ¼” per foot of pipe. Your line shouldn’t have any “bellies” or sags. A belly is a portion of the pipe that doesn’t have a positive slope. It’s a low spot that interferes with the normal flow of wastewater through your line and allows stagnant water to collect and sediment to build up over time.