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When municipal decision-makers budget for the year, it can be stressful assessing unforeseen plumbing problems. When problems do happen, municipalities have to act quickly to make sure that businesses and homes in their area are well protected against plumbing issues.  

Common Municipal Plumbing Problems

Although you can never predict when a plumbing emergency occurs, it’s wise to be alert and have municipal sewer repair ready for when there is a problem. Below is a list of plumbing problems that regularly plague municipalities to stay aware of. 

Fatbergs & Clogs

When homeowners flush down the toilet “flushable wipes” or other materials other than toilet paper, they may not think twice. But foreign items discarded by residents down the drain can cause havoc for municipal plumbing. 

Though flushable wipes and paper towels may not seem that different from toilet paper, they wreak havoc on pipes and have created a massive problem for municipal plumbing across the country. Flushable wipes do not dissolve the same way as toilet paper. While toilet paper is designed to quickly break down once flushed, which makes it safe for sewer systems, alternatives such as wet wipes break down much slower and can accumulate together in tight masses when it flows through sewer lines. These masses eventually cause sewer mainline clogging, or worse, severe damage to water treatment equipment. 

If these clogs accumulate enough, they can cause municipal sewage blockage nightmares called fatbergs. Fatbergs are congealed masses in sewer systems commonly formed by accumulating grease and non-biodegradable matters like wet wipes and other materials. Baby wipes, paper towels, and grease are common culprits to these real-life sewer monsters, but other items found in fatbergs include false teeth, pens, and even watches. They can weigh hundreds of pounds and stretch to enormous sizes; a fatberg found in a Liverpool sewer reached lengths of over 275 feet and weighed almost 200,000 lbs - roughly the same as 13 African elephants! 

These rancid masses can eventually completely block whole municipal sewer systems, eventually forcing the foul sludge back into homes, roads, or anywhere to escape. Clogs and fatbergs can be extremely difficult for plumbers to remove and can take weeks to clear. 

Failing Sewer Lines 

Municipal sewer lines are integral for keeping city plumbing operating. These community sewer lines are usually large conduits that move wastewater from dozens of homes to a municipal connection daily. Failing sewer lines can result in a host of municipal plumbing problems and can put entire neighborhoods at risk for potential health hazards. 

Signs of failing municipal sewer lines include a sinking or fracturing surface above the failing pipe. Broken lines can result in treatment plant flooding and toxic runoff that may contaminate municipal water lines. Surface excavations can damage roads, buildings, sidewalks, and utilities, causing traffic disruptions for weeks. 

However, this does not have to be the case. Trenchless technologies, and manhole-to-manhole linings have eliminated the need to rip up roadways and sidewalks when repairing sewer pipes, so there is no need to disrupt traffic. Manhole-to-manhole lining can save cities thousands of dollars in sewer renovation by:

  • Fill entire sections of missing or damaged pipe
  • Seal cracking due to the elements or soil shifting
  • Renovate most intrusions and natural obstruction
  • Seal compromised joint connections or offsets
  • Fill a variety of sewer pipe diameters from 2"- 12”

After the operation is complete and a sewer video inspection can assess the new sewer line,  manhole-to-manhole lining can keep municipal plumbing at its peak performance for over 50 years.

Aging Pipes

Municipal plumbing problems occur with sewer lines generally due to aging pipes. Many city plumbing lines are easily 40 or 50 years in age, if not older in some cases. Some cities even have municipal pipes lines that are over 100 years old! These pipes were built with materials never intended to last this long, so many pipelines need replacing before they fail and cause catastrophic plumbing damage. 

For example, municipal lines may be outfitted with Orangeburg sewer pipes that are decades old. Orangeburg pipes were expected to last only 50 years’ time, but many systems began to falter after 30 years of use. Most of these structural complications resulted from the material used to manufacture the pipe, which is little more than asphalt-soaked paper and pulp. If left untouched, outdated pipe lines will eventually collapse, leading to expensive municipal sewer repairs and extensive damage.

When evaluating pipe systems, municipal plumbing services generally use video inspection technology to determine the source of the problems. Once the damage has been assessed, there are a few dig-free sewer repair solutions available, such as manhole-to-manhole lining and trenchless pipe lining. 

Municipal Plumbing Services You Can Trust

Municipal plumbing issues are not only a city inconvenience but it can also be a health danger to neighborhoods and drinking water. When choosing professionals for your municipal plumbing services, you should always pick one with experience with city plumbing repairs. Express Sewer is Sacramento’s favorite professional plumbing company, with years of experience at unbeatable prices.

If you’re dealing with municipal sewer line failure or corrosion, don’t hesitate to contact us today for a CIPP consultation or sewer line video inspection.

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Topics: Municipal Plumbing