Sewer pipes are part of the sewage system that is used to transport wastewater from homes and industries. To know more about the sewer pipes, we must understand their functionality and the role they are playing in the whole sewerage system.
The Differences between Drainage and Sewer Pipe
Drainage and sewerage system are vital to our plumbing system. The key difference between the drains and sewers is the position of these water pipes. Drainage pipes refer to the pipes that run within one building, it can be your house or commercial buildings. They are responsible for conveying the wastewater away from the building to the sewer system. Generally, the maintenance and repair of drainage pipes from the property to the main sewer line will be fall under the property owner’s responsibility. On the other hand, a sewerage system is constituted by groups of pipes that are underneath the ground for carrying the wastewater from properties to disposal locations or treatment facilities. The main sewer pipe runs through the neighborhood and takes a large volume of water from different properties. The installation and maintenance of the sewer piping system will be handled by the local water authority.
There are three types of sewer systems which are sanitary sewers, storm sewers, and combined sewers. Combined sewers combine the function of sanitary sewer and storm sewer. They use a single pipe to carry both the storm runoff water and wastewater from the buildings together to the treatment plant. Because they need to transport both sources of water, they are easy to overflow when during the heavy raining period, so this kind of system is seldom being used now. Sanitary sewers transit wastewater from households or industries to the water treatment plants. The wastewater is carried through those small pipes within the property to the main sewer in the street. The water will then be treated in order to remove pollutants before it can return to the environment. Storm sewers are also known as surface sewers, they are used to carry rainwater from the roads or roof and then channel them back to rivers, streams, or other natural sources of water. When it rains, the water will go into storm sewer via manholes, open ditches, drain inlets, etc and then channel directly to rivers and streams without having been treated.
Sewer pipes come in a wide variety of sizes and can be made of various materials. Old sewer pipes are mostly made of clay or cast iron, latest sewer pipes are often using PVC or ABS.
Orangeburg Sewer Pipes
Orangeburg sewer pipes were popular in the past due to their lightweight and easy to cut. They are made of wood fibers and special adhesive with a water-resistant feature. Unfortunately, Orangeburg sewer pipe is not an ideal choice anymore as it is not durable with a shorter life span.
Clay Sewer Pipes
Clay sewer pipe is also called Vitrified Clay Pipe (VCP), which is commonly used in older houses. They are made of clay-shale blend and can last for around 30 years. Clay pipes are environmentally friendly and resistant to chemicals. However, they are not widely used in today’s market due to their disadvantages. They are heavy, hard to cut, and prone to cracking or snapping due to the pressure from underground roots.
Cast Iron Sewer Pipes
Cast iron sewer pipes can still be commonly found in today's sewerage system but not as often as modern plastic pipes. They are usually installed with vertical drain and can last for 30 years as well. The key advantage of the cast iron sewer pipe is that it is very strong. A cast iron sewer pipe with a four-inch diameter is able to handle two tons of pressure per linear foot, in which PVC and ABS are easy to break under this pressure. The downsides of a cast iron sewer pipe are its high cost and heavyweight. It is also difficult to cut as it requires the use of a specialty tool which is the soil pipe cutter for the cutting process. Additionally, cast iron sewer pipes are prone to rust and the waste tends to build up inside the pipe due to their uneven interior surface. They are more susceptible to clogs, crack, and collapse over a long period of time.
PVC and ABS
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) are the latest generations of piping, they are made of plastic and are widely used for underground sewer pipeline systems. Both PVC and ABS are quite similar, but they are different in colors and adhesives. PVC is in white color, whereas ABS is black color. ABS tends to be stronger than PVC, while PVC is more flexible. They possess high popularity in the current market due to their inexpensive price, lightweight, long-lasting, high durability, and corrosion resistance. Because their interior and exterior surfaces are smooth which can help to prevent roofs caused by a blockage. There are some limitations on the PVC and ABS pipes that we should know. They are not heat-tolerant due to the nature of the material and are also susceptible to cracking if the walls of pipes are thinner.
How To Tell If Your Sewer Pipe Requires the Maintenance
When the sewer lines are having problems, they will show some warning signals to us and we may need to arrange an inspection on the sewerage system with professionals. When the issues occur, we can notice some odd plumbing occurrences such as hearing some bubbling sound coming from the toilet or experiencing a slow water flow in a few drains. We need to take action as soon as possible when we found any abnormalities is on the pipelines to avoid severe damages.
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