- Located the Sewer Line
One of the most critical steps in digging a trench for sewer line replacement is making sure you are digging in the right location. If you have no idea where your sewer line runs, a video camera inspection can tell you. The technician will run the camera from the sewer clean-out and down the sewer line from your house and can stop at various points. The camera has a radio transmitter that signals its location. At any point, the technician can sweep a locator over the ground so that it reads the signal, allowing you to mark the ground directly above the sewer pipe.
We should be as accurate as possible because you will pay a high price in useless labor for hand-digging at the wrong spot. Work with the technician until you are certain that you have found the accurate location, then paint a line along the entire length of the pipe run with marking paint.
Located the Utility Lines
We called the local utility locater phone number. This is usually a free service to residents that is funded and managed by utility companies. Technicians will mark your yard for electrical, water, gas, and other vital services.
Applied for a Permit
It is highly likely that your community requires a permit as a safety measure to ensure that the work is done correctly. An inspector will visit the work site to make sure the work has been done in compliance with the code. In the case of a sewer line replacement, this is normally done after the new sewer line has been installed but before the trench has been filled.
Break or Remove Obstructions
Before we could get to the soil, we had to remove obstructions such as concrete or brick sidewalks. An 8-pound sledgehammer was used to break up concrete, starting on the edge.
Dug the Sewer Trench
Dug straight down, minimizing side digging as much as possible for the time being. As we were digging, we needed to clip off tree and shrub roots as we encountered them. Some small roots were severed with shovel blade. Other roots were clipped with pruning shears or a hand saw.
Assessed the Sewer Line Problem
The depth at which you reach the sewer line will vary. It can be as shallow as 18 to 30 inches or as much as 5 or 6 feet. But in our cold climate, the pipe will be buried deeper to prevent the pipe from freezing in the winter. But pipe depth is not always a matter of climate.
- Complete the Project
After the sewer replacement was completed, our plumbers made sure to have the work inspected before filling in the trench with gravel and soil. As we filled in the trench, periodically compressed the soil to prevent future settling of the earth.
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