If you’re reading this now, you’re probably having a problem with a sewer in your house in and around San Diego. Sewers and the drains they are connected to can be made of all kinds of materials, and can be a combination of old and new and broken or slowly breaking pipes.
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First, remember that sewer problems don’t happen overnight. Your sewers can be made of cast iron or various kinds of plastics, and all these materials, even the ones that are no longer approved for consumer sewer applications, were built to last many years. But a sewer can deteriorate from the inside out, through corrosion, root intrusions (https://www.wavin.com/en-en/News-Cases/News/Wavin-Insights-Sewer-blockages-caused-by-tree-root-growth), and sewer abnormalities such as sewer bellies (https://www.pipespy.com/blog/sewer-line-belly-causes-repair). Sewers can also fail because of the effects of being outdoors in the elements, from floods, fires, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Getting to Know Your Sewer System – An Overview from the City of San Diego
Where Does Sewage go from Your House?
San Diego’s sewage travels through and is collected by nine major and 84 secondary pumping stations. Sewer waste water and its contents are gathered from a 450 square mile area that constitutes the San Diego area. The waste water that is processed and treated then goes into the ocean through an outfall pipe, dumping the treated water 4.5 miles out from the Pacific coast.
More details on the waste water treatment processes, click here to view more information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_Loma_Wastewater_Treatment_Plant
Common Types of Sewer Pipe
The material that makes up the pipes in your home will depend in large part on its age. Older homes often have clay or cast iron pipes, while newer homes are most likely to use plastic such as ABS and PVC. However, as older sewer lines are replaced, it’s becoming more common to find plastic sewer lines.
Clay Sewer Piping
One of the oldest materials used for sewer pipes is clay. It is resistant to decay by chemicals. But on the other hand, the clay material is porous surface, which allows it to attract penetrating roots. It can be more brittle than other piping materials, certainly those made of plastic.
Cast Iron Sewer Pipes
As with clay pipe material, cast-iron sewer pipe was widely used during the 1900’s and is more common appears in older homes. It is still used today in various sewer applications. Cast iron’s long lifespan and durability are its main advantages. One of the main disadvantages of cast iron is its heavy weight.
PVC and ABS – The Plastic Pipe Standards
The standard material used in the manufacture of modern sewer pipe is plastic. Homeowners and businesses would most commonly see PVC, ABS or a combination of these two plastic pipes in a typical structure built in San Diego. The smooth texture inside plastic pipes aid in the pipe’s ability to quickly carry large volumes or waste. The pipes themselves are resistant to tree root intrusions, but roots can still break into plastic pipes at broken joints or cracked segments. It is critical that plastic pipes are well supported by some type of under laying material such as sand or gravel to make sure it doesn’t collapse under pressure.