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Old 05-17-2012, 11:01 AM
 
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I have friend that is going to dig up his sewer pipe in the front yard and replace it. His house has a basement and wondering how deep the pipe would be? He does have floor drains in basement floor. He wants to dig this by a shovel because a plumber wants 2200.00 to do this job and this friend doesn't have the money. Can he do this himself or will he have to hire a person with a back-hoe?


Thanks, John
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:27 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John1960 View Post
I have friend that is going to dig up his sewer pipe in the front yard and replace it. His house has a basement and wondering how deep the pipe would be?
Start with the lowest connection in the house then allow 1/4" per foot from there and past the front wall of the house to the sewer pipe in the street.

Quote:
He wants to dig this by a shovel...
Then he's never done or even seen the job done.
Attempting it by himself without that experience is nuts.

Quote:
Can he do this himself or will he have to hire a person with a back-hoe?
The depth and trench safety issues are where the costs lie.
The 50 feet of pipe and a few fittings are almost a give away when the Plumber does it.


Trench Shoring - Master Builders Association of Victoria - YouTube
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Old 05-17-2012, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
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I can tell you having dug some stuff by hand last year, that's one crazy idea. Now I wasn't working on a sewer, just digging out to lay a retaining wall. But still, I way underestimated how much time it would take to dig. Would have been well-served to have someone do it, or at least rent some helpful machinery.

Hand digging to the depth of a sewer line would be insane. You effectively can't, I mean, I guess you can but really if the basement is mostly below grade and the lot is fairly level to the street you're going to be well over your head by that point, literally.

Replacing a sewer line seems best left to a pro. They will be able to better figure out what needs to be done. You don't say why he's digging it up. If it's leaking or breached by tree roots or something perhaps only one section needs to be replaced?
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Old 05-17-2012, 02:06 PM
 
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First off, in any place I ever heard off that has municipal sewers you need a permit to connect to them and do any work that effects them.

Secondly a sewer line that is deep enough to run under a basement floor is going to need a trench deep enough to be a literal grave -- dude is gonna be burried alive when the walls collapse.

Third, real life ditch digging is not like the cartoons -- I have seen guys built like Mr. Olympia that cannot fling the heavy clay/ soil/ gravel mix found under homes far enough to make any real progress. Typically if there is some special situation that require hand digging professionals setup a rig to fill up buckets, hoist those up, then wheelbarrow a mound to one spot. That takes a team of at least three guys, all of who are going to get quite the workout...

Which brings up the final point: even with the best video systems to run inside the failed sewer it still could end up that the area needing repair is going to require essentialy the whole front lawn to be excavated. With a powerful backhoe one can typically run along the pipe, replacing some of the trenching with fill. If you try to do that manually it could take days and days of dig, fill, dig...
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:28 PM
 
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This project is near Detroit Michigan. This friend thinks his kids and himself can dig this trench without any problems. Trench is between 9-12 feet deep I've been told. I would worry about cave-ins going that deep. His old sewer pipe is orange clay type.

Thanks.
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:29 PM
 
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I just had a job like this done with about a 50' run between house and sewer in central AL. Cost was $1000, which I considered a very fair price. With a freeze depth of about 8" and chert ledges about 36" down, the pipe runs pretty close to the surface. Yes, it was properly permitted and the contractor was fully licensed and insured.

I've got a trencher, but it made more sense for the guy to do the job in a day and be done with it. I did use a backhoe to trench my 300' underground power conduit. $300 for the weekend rental and a lot cheaper than paying to have it done. I wouldn't dig by hand for any number of reasons, not the least of which is when you wipe your sweaty face or your hands replacing a sewer line, you are smearing feces all over you..
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:41 PM
 
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My city here in Tennessee allows sewer pipes to be only a depth of a foot or two down because it doesn't freeze that deep in the winter. I wouldn't want it close to the surface because I would be afraid of someone driving a vehicle over it in my yard. Also our phone and cable is only buried two inches deep.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:49 PM
 
Location: Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John1960 View Post
My city here in Tennessee allows sewer pipes to be only a depth of a foot or two down because it doesn't freeze that deep in the winter. I wouldn't want it close to the surface because I would be afraid of someone driving a vehicle over it in my yard. Also our phone and cable is only buried two inches deep.

If the house in question has a basement(with drain pipes) the pipe will be at least that deep, there is very little chance this guy will be able to do the job himself with shovels, he needs to hire a professional, or there may be deadly consequences.

Most municipal sewer systems do not allow a private party to hook up without them being involved or the person doing the work is a real contractor.
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:35 PM
 
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He will not be able to dig it wide enough to lay the pipe.

This is a nightmare waiting to happen.
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Lexington, SC
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The cellar drains might not hook to the sewage drain pipe. The sewage drain pipe might only be a few feet below the surface. It would be foolish and dangerous for him to dig it out if more then a few feet deep.

Check with city/town and try to find out if any code or idea how deep the pipe is.

Hope this helps.
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