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Concrete Sewer Pipe Repair The Ultimate Guide to Fixing Your Sewage System

Written By
John Souffront
Last Updated - May 30th, 2023 5:49 AM

When it comes to our homes, there are few things more important than our sewer systems. These networks of pipes carry waste and wastewater away from our homes and businesses, keeping our communities healthy and clean. However, like any artificial system, sewer pipes can break down over time, leading to leaks, blockages, and other issues that can be both costly and disruptive. That’s where concrete sewer pipe repair comes in.

Advanced techniques and materials make it possible to swiftly and effectively repair severely damaged sewer pipes. This eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming excavation.

This blog will delve into concrete sewer pipe repair, explaining its workings and the benefits it offers to your community.

So whether you’re a homeowner, a business owner, or a public works manager, we have got you covered. 

Let’s dive in and learn the steps to keeping your sewer system running smoothly for years to come.

What is a Concrete Sewer Line?

First things first, let’s discuss what is a concrete sewer line. 

Concrete sewer lines consist of reinforced concrete pipes used in sewage systems, present in both municipal and residential areas.

They’re really strong and durable, plus they don’t corrode easily. That’s why they’re often used underground for sewer systems. 

There are many different sizes and shapes of concrete sewer pipes available to suit different flow requirements and system designs.

How to Tell If You Need Concrete Sewer Pipe Repair: Common Signs to Look Out For

Like most problems, there are a few signs that might indicate that your sewer line is in need of repair.


  • Foul Odors: If you notice a strong sewage smell around your property, it could be a sign of a sewer line issue.
  • Slow Drains: If your sinks, toilets, or showers are slow to drain or are backing up, it could be a sign that your sewer line is blocked.
  • Lush Patches of Grass: If there are unexplained patches of extra green and lush grass in your yard, it could be due to a leak in your sewer line.
  • Water Damage: If you notice water stains, mold, or mildew in your basement or lower levels of your home, it could be a sign of a leaking sewer line.
  • Strange Noises: If you hear gurgling, bubbling sounds when you use your plumbing fixtures or the sound of leaking running water, it could be a sign of a sewer line issue.
  • Cracking in the Foundation: If you’ve observed cracks or buckles inside on the floors or walls, or outside on your foundation’s lower portions, you may have a slab leak. This could be a big problem, as it can actually compromise the overall strength and stability of your foundation.
  • An Unusually High Water Bill: If you’re constantly getting a high water bill, it’s a pretty good sign that there might be a leak somewhere in your house. However, just because your water bill is high doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a slab leak.

If you notice these signs, don’t hesitate. Reach out to a professional plumber or concrete repair and restoration specialist promptly. This prevents further damage and addresses the issue effectively.

Read further: Concrete Coring Procedure: All You Need To Know

Signs of Structural Damage Caused by Broken Sewer Pipe Leakage

Now you might think, how dangerous can a water leak be?

Although a damaged sewer pipe or water leakage might appear minor, it’s far more serious than it seems. The implications are more significant than you can imagine.

As previously mentioned, even a small water leakage can gradually impact and weaken your home’s foundation. It can compromise your home’s structural integrity.

Let us explain this.

If the land your home is built on contains clay in the soil, the clay in the soil can absorb the leaked water from the damaged sewer line. It can effectively increase the volume of the soil by up to 10%.

This increase in the soil’s volume can put enough pressure on the foundation to lift it, and consecutively damage it.

If you see any signs mentioned below, there is a high probability that your home has structural damage from water leakage.


  • There are cracks in the walls that extend from the floor upwards.
  • The tiles or concrete flooring have cracks in them.
  • Some areas of the flooring are raised and have a dome-like shape.
  • The timber boards are warped or make squeaking sounds when walked on.


It goes without saying that if you see any of these signs, we highly recommend that you take steps to fix the problem as soon as possible. If left unchecked, it can cause not only structural damage but health hazards as well.

You might also like to read: How structural inspections can prevent accidents and grow building life

What’s Involved in a Concrete Sewer Pipe Repair/Replacement?

Replacing a sewer pipe is a big job that involves a lot of work and a significant investment. Before you dive into a sewer pipe replacement project, it’s important to understand what it’s going to take.

Step 1:

First, you’ll need to hire a plumbing specialist to assess the situation and determine whether or not a full replacement is necessary. 

They’ll inspect your pipes and use cameras to determine the extent of the damage and where it’s located. 

Once they’ve determined that a replacement is necessary, they’ll provide you with an estimate of the cost.

Step 2:

The next step is to prepare your property for the work. This may involve obtaining permits from your local government and coordinating with your neighbors if the work will impact their property as well. 

You’ll also need to clear the area around the pipes to make it easier for the plumbing specialists to access them.

When the work begins, the first step is to excavate the area around the pipes. This may involve digging up your lawn or driveway, and it can be quite messy. 

Once the area is cleared, the old pipes will be removed, and new pipes will be installed. The plumbing specialists will then connect the new pipes to your home’s plumbing system and the city’s sewer system.

Step 3:

Finally, the area around the pipes will be backfilled, and any landscaping or paving that was removed will be replaced. The plumbing specialists will then test the new pipes to make sure everything is working properly.

Overall, a sewer pipe replacement is a complex and involved process that requires the expertise of a trained plumbing specialist. 

But, once the work is complete, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your sewer system is working properly, and you won’t have to worry about any unpleasant surprises in the future.

You might also like to read: The Importance of Electrical Home Safety Inspections and How to Ensure Your Family’s Protection!

Steps You Need to Take Before Choosing a Concrete Sewer Pipe Repair Strategy

When you’re dealing with drain or sewer line issues, you’ve got a few options for fixing the drain repair under the slab. 

But before you start, it might be worth considering hiring a leak detection specialist to find the leak and provide you with CCTV footage. 

These pros have all the latest equipment and can accurately pinpoint the problem, which means less guesswork and patching up of pipes.

If you’re dealing with collapsed drainage or sewer pipes under slabs, a CCTV or infrared camera inspection can survey the pipes and identify the damaged area. 

Some repairers might tell you they need to do their own inspection before giving you a quote, but that might mean extra charges for you. 

So, it’s a good idea to have your own report and footage of the damage to keep costs down.

When you call for a quote, ask if it’s a free service. If they want to charge for an inspection, let them know you already have recent, professional footage of the damage and that you want them to quote based on that.

It’s likely they’ll need to do their own inspection before starting work, but that can come later.

Also, keep in mind that the people giving you quotes can offer a lot of helpful information about the different repair methods. 

Ask them about the pros and cons of their approach and compare that to what you find on the internet. 

This will help you make an informed decision about the best way to fix your problem.

You might also like to read: The Ultimate Guide to Concrete Restoration Process and Methods

Methods For Repairing A Broken Sewer Line Under A Slab

There are several widely used methods that you can choose from for your concrete sewer pipe repair.

Here are some of the best methods in use for you to choose based on your specific needs.

Traditional (Open Trench) Sewer Line Replacement


Traditional pipe replacement typically requires excavating a ditch along the entire length of the pipeline, removing the old pipes, and installing the new ones. 

One advantage of this method is the ability to inspect each pipe individually after replacement, ensuring proper installation and minimizing the risk of future failures.

Although this approach is the easiest way to ensure that the installation has been done correctly and that the new pipe is in the right position, it may not be the most cost-effective solution.

For instance, if the sewer pipe runs under a building, the traditional approach may not be the best option since everything from the building to the landscape would need to be replaced. 

In such cases, it would be wise to consider other methods of pipeline repair that are less invasive and more cost-effective.

Read more: Concrete Spalling: Cause, Prevention Measures, Repair & More

Trenchless Sewer Repair

Trenchless concrete sewer pipe repair is a method of fixing pipes without the need for digging trenches or ditches. 

In fact, it’s often considered the best approach for pipeline repair due to its non-invasive nature and cost-effectiveness. 

There are several types of trenchless repair methods available.

CIPP (Cured-In-Place Pipe)

CIPP is a pretty cool technique that’s used to fix older pipes in a seamless way. Basically, it involves inserting or pulling a polyester or fiberglass liner into a damaged pipe. 

This liner can either reinforce the existing pipe or create an entirely new piping system.

To do this, the process usually starts from a manhole or an excavation point. Once the liner is in place, it can be inserted using water or air pressure.

As the resin in the liner cures, thanks to the air pressure or heated water, it forms a super tight-fitting and joint-less replacement pipe. 

This new pipe is not only corrosion-resistant but also leaves you with a strong inside surface for your existing pipe system.

Pipe Bursting

Pipe bursting is a method used to replace sewer lines by breaking apart the original pipe with a special tool called a bursting head

Here’s how it works:

First, two small holes are dug at the start and end of the pipe so that we can access the existing sewer line. Then comes the bursting head.

The bursting head is pushed through the existing pipe run, and as it moves forward, it starts breaking apart the old sewer pipe into fragments. 

But here’s the cool part: It also pushes those fragments away from the area, clearing the path for the new pipe.

While the old pipe is being shattered and pushed away, the new pipe is simultaneously pulled into place. 

So, by the end of this process, you’ve got a brand new sewer line in place without having to dig up the entire area.

Have you read: Top Concrete Crack Repair Methods You Must Know Of

Directional Drilling

Directional drilling is a pretty neat method used for replacing sewer pipes. Instead of digging up the existing pipeline, this technique involves creating a new tunnel several feet below it.

Here’s how it works:

To start off, a horizontal directional drilling machine is used. It bores into the ground, creating a pathway for the new sewer pipe. The machine then continues drilling horizontally along the entire length of the pipe that needs to be replaced. 

As the drilling takes place, any dirt and debris that are encountered along the way are removed from the tunnel. This ensures a clear path for the new pipe installation. 

Once the tunnel is ready, the new pipe is inserted and connected to the existing pipe network. This allows for a seamless transition between the old and new pipes.

Depending on the situation, the old piping can either be removed completely or left in place. It really depends on the specific project and the requirements.


Pipe insertion is a clever method for installing a new pipe system into an existing line by either pulling or pushing it through. The specific technique used depends on factors like the length and material of the pipe.

Here’s what you need to know:

When it comes to traditional slip lining, an important step is excavating a lead-in trench for the installation. This provides the necessary space to work with. 

For shorter sections of pipe, they can be joined together using special gasket joints and then welded into place. 

These joints have a clever design that allows for flexibility while maintaining a secure connection. You can choose between flexible and rigid mechanical gaskets to suit your specific needs.

Read further: How to Resurface a Concrete Patio? (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Fold and Formed Pipe

As the name suggests, this technique involves folding the old pipe to make way for the new one. 

There are two common approaches for pipe folding: rolling the pipe or fusion welding it together before installation. 

Regardless of the method chosen, the new pipe is pulled into the existing pipe, similar to traditional slip lining.

Once the new pipe is in place, it’s time for the magic to happen. The folded pipe is then expanded back into its original shape, creating a close fit with the existing pipe. 

To speed up the pipe expansion process, air pressure and heat may be applied, just like in the CIPP method.

This ensures a secure and seamless connection between the old and new pipes. 


When it comes to manhole rehabilitation, coatings play a crucial role. These coatings have evolved over time and now come in specialized compounds tailored for various environments, such as cement and polymer coatings.


Preparation is key to ensuring successful coating application. It all starts with having a clean and sound substrate, regardless of the coating type. 

To achieve this, high-pressure washing is necessary. This process thoroughly cleans the pipes and removes any loose materials, grease, or other foreign substances from the walls of the manhole.

By properly preparing the substrate and ensuring a clean surface, the coating can be applied effectively. This helps protect and enhance the manhole’s condition, promoting longevity and durability.

Plumbing Rerouting

Rerouting plumbing lines involves creating new plumbing lines within existing houses. There are a few situations where rerouting becomes necessary. 

For instance, if you’re adding or renovating plumbing installations like your bathroom or kitchen, you may need to reroute the plumbing lines to accommodate the new layout.

Rerouting is also helpful when it comes to replacing pipes that have been damaged in hard-to-repair locations, such as beneath the concrete slab. 

Instead of going through the complex and disruptive process of repairing those specific sections, rerouting allows for the installation of new pipes in more accessible areas.

By rerouting the plumbing lines, you can ensure that your plumbing system remains efficient, functional, and up-to-date. 

It’s a flexible solution that gives you the freedom to make changes to your plumbing layout or address pipe damage without resorting to extensive repairs in challenging locations.

The Cost of Concrete Sewer Pipe Repair

Repairing a sewer line under a slab or replacing a sewer line under a slab can be expensive, typically costing between $1,100 and $4,100. 

The total cost depends on several factors in, such as the materials used, accessibility, the extent of the repair needed, and the cleanup required afterward.

For instance, if the repair work does not require a lot of excavation, the cost usually falls between $60 and $250 per foot. 

But if you need to replace or repair a sewer line that’s located under a concrete slab, the cost can go up to $150 to $200 per foot.

The cost of replacing a sewer line can range from $3,000 to $25,000, whereas a repair job can cost between $1,000 and $3,000, excluding any cleaning charges.

For a clearer picture, repairing a collapsed sewer line can range from $50 to $250 per foot in cost.

Removing tree roots from the line can cost $100 to $600 (not including repair costs), repairing a cracked sewer pipe can cost between $50 to $250 per foot, and cleaning out a clog usually costs between $200 and $300.

One way to avoid these high costs is to make sure your sewer pipes are well-maintained.

Find a reliable plumbing professional in your area who can perform regular maintenance on your pipes and septic system to ensure they are in good working order and avoid costly repairs in the future.

Also read: How to Restore Faded Stamped Concrete?

How to Protect Your Sewer Lines?

As the saying goes, precaution is better than cure. So, why not take precautions to prevent you from the headache of repairing or replacing your sewer system?

Here are a few steps you can take to take care of your sewer system:

Yearly Sewer Line Inspection 

This is one of the best precautions out there. Yearly inspections can help you detect an issue, if any before it escalates. 

It can detect and resolve issues like corrosion and blockages and maintain and keep your sewer lines clean.

Remove Nearby Trees 

Trees that are above or near your sewer system can damage the pipeline as their roots grow. So, it’s better to remove them before any issue arises. 

It should be noted that tree root invasion is often caused by already-existing cracks or breaks in the sewer line. 

However, it is recommended to remove them beforehand. In case of future cracks or breaks, removing trees protects your sewer system from root invasion, preventing additional damage.

Proper Use of Your Sewage System 

We often tend to dispose of any waste by flushing it through the toilet. Although it makes things easier for us for the moment, it isn’t safe for your sewage system.

Always remember to dispose of only human waste and toilet paper through your sewage system. Any other waste can cause blockage and result in pipe cracks and breaks.

Report Any Problems 

If you face any issues, even minor ones like slow drainage, you should always report and address the issue as soon as possible. 

The issue might seem insignificant at the time. Nevertheless, it has the potential to escalate into a larger problem, eventually costing you significant time and money.

Backwater Prevention Valve 

It is a type of valve that can be installed in the basement of your home or any other structure. 

As the name suggests, it prevents any backflow and makes sure that sewage goes out and does not come back in.

Why Souffront is the Best Choice for Your Concrete Sewer Pipe Repair Needs

At Souffront Construction & Engineering (SCE), we understand the importance of reliable and efficient sewer systems for homes and businesses. 

That’s why we offer top-of-the-line concrete sewer pipe repair services that are designed to ensure long-lasting results.

Our team of experienced professionals is equipped with the latest technology and techniques. They can repair concrete sewer pipes quickly and effectively without causing unnecessary disruptions or damaging your property.

With Souffront, you can trust that your concrete sewer pipe will be repaired to the highest standards. This guarantees a safe and reliable sewer system for your property. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your concrete sewer pipe repair needs.

You can also read: How Long Does Concrete Resurfacing Last?

John Souffront

John Souffront is a seasoned leader in the construction and engineering industry, with over a decade of experience at the helm of Souffront Construction & Engineering. Known for his unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation, John has propelled his firm to the forefront of the field, delivering cutting-edge solutions for complex projects around the country.

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