Sewer Pipeline

Sewer pipeline plays an important role in construction. Understanding how sewer pipelines generally work is vital for any new construction project. Schools, businesses and hospitals, must have good, reliable sewer pipe systems in place that last.

Several types of sewer pipeline materials are used for pipe line construction depending on soil and nature of the construction project. Sewer is usually one of the deepest wet site utility pipelines that are installed compared to potable water pipelines. Sewer pipeline installations usually begin "offsite," in the street, on public property, and connect to an existing sewer main or manhole in the middle of the street.

Municipal work typically calls for vitrified clay pipe (VCP) for offsite sewer installation. Vitrified, means vitreous, or glasslike in brittleness and hardness. That is because clay material is minimally impacted by corrosives from liquid sources thus maintaining its form with little or no decay. Clay withstands the test of time and has even been found in excavated ruins thousands of years aged. For example, the National Clay Pipe Institute referenced a photo of VCP pipe which was over 2,500 years old that was reused for onsite drainage, and is still in service today.

Today, clay pipe, which is largely intended to carry sewage flows, comes in increments of from 1' to 6' lengths depending on the size of pipe, and ranges from 4" to 42" inside diameter. Sewer is sometimes referred to as "sanitary drainage" according to the Uniform Plumbing Code.

Once sewer pipelines cross over into private-owned property, owners of that property usually have the option to change pipe material to a plastic pipe made of polyvinyl chloride, more commonly referred to as "PVC" if soil conditions permit. PVC pipe has several advantages over clay pipe. It is generally less expensive, made up of other chemical resistant properties and lighter in weight. PVC pipe generally comes in 20' lengths.

PVC pipe is also used in storm drainage and water pipeline applications whereas clay pipe is most commonly used for sewer purposes. Unlike water pipelines which are pressurized, both sewer and storm drainage systems rely on gravity flow. These are designed with an engineered slope to accommodate each individual project.

When designing any new construction project, it is critical to understand how pipelines will be routed-especially sewer pipelines, for servicing the many residential, commercial and industrial sites coming up under new developments. Sanitary sewer systems will always be necessary. Carefully constructing the right one is fundamental in maintaining functional, long-lasting sewer pipeline infrastructures.