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The Issues with Orangeburg Pipe: Why it's No Longer Used for Sewer Lines



Quick Facts about Orangeburg Sewer Pipe:

  • Orangeburg pipe was invented by the Fiber Conduit Company in the 1940s as a cheaper alternative to traditional sewer pipe materials such as clay and concrete.

  • It was made from layers of wood pulp and tar that were rolled together and then cured to form a pipe shape.

  • Orangeburg pipe was popular for underground sewer lines and other drainage systems due to its low cost and ease of installation. It was also used for other purposes such as agricultural drainage and stormwater management.

  • However, orangeburg pipe has a number of disadvantages compared to other materials used for sewer lines. It is prone to premature deterioration and collapse, and it is not as durable or long-lasting as materials such as PVC or concrete.

  • Orangeburg pipe is also more prone to root infiltration, which can cause blockages and damage to the pipe.

  • Many cities and municipalities have replaced their orangeburg pipe sewer lines with more durable and long-lasting materials due to the issues with orangeburg pipe. If you have an orangeburg pipe sewer line, it may be worth considering replacing it to avoid potential problems in the future.


The History of Orangburg Pipe.


Orangeburg pipe was developed in the 1940s as an inexpensive alternative to traditional sewer pipe materials such as clay and concrete. It was made from layers of wood pulp and tar that were rolled together to form a pipe shape, and it was relatively easy to manufacture and install.

At the time, orangeburg pipe was seen as a cost-effective solution for installing sewer lines in residential and commercial areas, and it quickly became popular for this purpose. Its lightweight and flexible nature made it easy to transport and install, and it was able to withstand the pressure and load of a sewer system.


What is Orangburg Pipe?


Orangeburg pipe is a type of corrugated, non-reinforced, bituminous fiber pipe that was commonly used for underground sewer lines and other drainage systems in the mid-20th century. It was made from layers of wood pulp and tar that were rolled together to form a pipe shape, and it was relatively inexpensive and easy to install.


This video shows a sewer scope inspection performed by Vantage Point Inspections in Idaho Falls, Idaho.




Why is Orangeburg Pipe so Problematic?


Orangeburg pipe has a number of drawbacks that have led to its widespread replacement in modern sewer systems. One of the main issues with orangeburg pipe is that it is prone to premature deterioration and collapse. The wood pulp and tar used to make the pipe are susceptible to rot, corrosion, and cracking over time, which can cause the pipe to fail and lead to costly repairs.

In addition, orangeburg pipe is not as durable or long-lasting as other materials used for sewer lines, such as PVC or concrete. It is also not as resistant to root infiltration, which can cause blockages and damage to the pipe.


For these reasons, orangeburg pipe is no longer widely used in modern sewer systems, and it has largely been replaced by more durable and long-lasting materials. If you have an orangeburg pipe sewer line, it may be worth considering replacing it with a more reliable material to avoid potential problems in the future.


This is a screenshot of an orangeburg sewer pipe I inspected in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The pipe is nearly crushed. Due to exterior conditions, the plumber quoted $30,000 for the repair!



Does my Home have Orangeburg Pipe Installed?


To know whether or not your home has Orangeburg pipe installed, you need to know how old it is. If your home was built between the 1940s to the 1970s, there is a good chance this pipe was installed. However, the only way to know is by getting a sewer inspection!



Vantage Point Inspections - Sewer Scope Inspections


We have inspected many sewer lines with Orangeburg Pipe installed. In some cases the pipe is in really good condition, and in others the pipe is about to fall apart. The condition of the pipe comes down to the soil around it, how it was made, and if there are any trees growing around it.


Want to know more? Don't hesitate to reach out to one of our inspectors through the chat bubble!






Written by Kevin Fogg - Certified Home Inspector & Owner of Vantage Point Inspections
 


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