Seattle Public Utilities

Fix, Repair or Replace Your Side Sewer

open-cut-construction

Open cut construction repair method

There are various methods available for repairing, replacing, or rehabilitating an existing side sewer. Work with an experienced sewer contractor and get several quotes from different contractors to determine the appropriate work needed for repair.

Open cut construction

This method of construction is the most common method of repairing side sewers, which consists of digging up the old pipe and replacing it with new pipe.

Pipe bursting

This method is beneficial for sites where there are surface improvements that an owner either chooses not to disturb or that would be expensive to replace. This method of construction consists of inserting a new flexible pipe into the old pipe. The process for inserting the pipe requires digging an installation pit and a receiving pit at each end of the side sewer to allow for the new pipe to be inserted.

Cured in Place Pipe (CIPP) lining

CIPP consists of rehabilitating an existing pipe with a new pipe. A resin-soaked felt tube liner is inserted into the existing pipe, inflated to expand to the shape of the existing pipe, and then cured until the resin hardens to form a pipe within the old pipe. CIPP is also beneficial for sites where there are surface improvements that an owner either chooses not to disturb or that would be expensive to replace. The liner can be inserted through cleanouts in the side sewer and requires no other digging unless a cleanout needs to be installed.

Spot repairs

If the majority of a pipe is in good condition, a spot repair may be the most suitable and cost-effective method for repair. The property owner should consider a full side sewer replacement or rehabilitation if there are multiple defects throughout the pipe.

Home Repair Loans

The Seattle Office of Housing offers Home Repair Loans for owner-occupied, single family homes with low- to moderate-income families

Once it is determined that a repair or replacement is needed, the following steps should be taken:

  1. Hire a contractor.
    There are many companies offering a full range of services including unblocking, repairing and replacing side sewers, but some specialize in certain areas. It is important to select a contractor that has experience and knowledge with the method of repair needed.
  2. Get permits.
    Permits are always required, on both private property and in the right-of-way, when performing repair work on side sewers. Permits are not required for root removal or unclogging services. Permits can be obtained online or in-person at:
    • Department of Planning and Development
      Seattle Municipal Tower
      Floor 21, Permit Counter
      700 5th Avenue
      Seattle, WA 98104
  3. Get final inspection.
    Once all work is completed, a City inspector will inspect the work to ensure it was constructed in accordance with all applicable codes and regulations.