Was your house built between 1945 and 1972? Or was a side sewer to your house laid at that time?
What Orangeburg Pipe is and why it matters
If you said YES, you have a high potential of having sewer line pipe made of a material called Orangeburg. Since these pipes are going end of life underground now, and since the sewer line is your homeowner’s responsibility, this has come up as a highly requested topic for our Newsletter. Here is the important information you need to know about Orangeburg pipe.
Orangeburg pipe is bituminous fiber pipe made from asphalt impregnated layers of wood pulp and pitch pressed together – essentially tar paper. Lightweight and brittle, this piping absorbs moisture and deforms under pressure It started out as a substitute to cast iron pipe, which was heavily taxed during WWII to support the war effort. We have recently performed two sewer line replacements in one block in Tacoma because of problems with this piping material.
How long does Orangeburg Pipe last?
Orangeburg has a life expectancy of approximately 50 years. After 30 years, deformation may begin to occur. All homes with Orangeburg pipe are pre-1972 and 40 or more years old. That could put your house at risk.
What happens when the Orangeburg piping begins to deteriorate?
Once the product begins to break down homeowners can expect frequent clogged lines, tree root invasion and even total pipe collapse. Once the deterioration process begins, Orangeburg sewer pipes deform quickly, allowing tree roots to break in to them and literally shred them.
How do you tell if your Washington home has Orangeburg pipe?
If your house was built between 1940 and 1972, there’s a chance you have Orangeburg. The product was used as the standard piping as late as the 1970’s. Also, if you have frequent clogs in your main sewer line or you see indentations in the front yard that line up with where the sewer should be, it’s might be a sign of Orangeburg pipe deterioration. If your neighbors have Orangeburg, you probably do too.
You have Orangeburg Pipe in your home. What is the solution?
We recommend having a licensed plumber come out and perform a side sewer camera inspection. This is a video camera review that does not require digging anything up. If it’s determined Orangeburg has been used and is showing signs of deterioration the solution would be to replace ALL of it at once with PVC. The bottom line is this material will deteriorate after a certain amount of time do to pressure and moisture. If you do not address the problem, eventually your sewer line will fail which could cost thousands in preventable repairs.
If you would like more information about Orangeburg pipe, please call us at 1-800-590-4969. PlumbWorks is a division of Washington Energy Services.