Last August, Phoenix saw three sinkholes open up in the city's streets in just three weeks. On the site of the last one, a bus was stuck in the sinkhole while water was gushing from it and flooding the street. While no one was hurt when the road beneath the bus gave way, the residents of the city were reminded of an unpleasant fact: Phoenix has a problem with sewage and water infrastructure.
Much of it has to do with age; sewer and water mains last between 75 years and a full century, and the city's aging infrastructure is nearing the age when it should be replaced. And there are many other towns across Arizona that are facing the same problem.
Doug Ducey, the Governor of Arizona, is keenly aware of this and has asked for a nice piece of the $1 trillion infrastructure program proposed by President Trump. How much money does Ducey think Arizona's infrastructure needs? $600 million.
Problems with aging sewer lines are best treated before the lines bust open and create sinkholes that can seriously injure or kill people. But cities are reluctant to do it for one simple reason: it costs a lot. And even though owners of residential and commercial property don't have to spend millions of dollars to replace aging sewer lines, the cost can still amount to a lot; especially when using the traditional sewer line replacement method.
The good ol’ way of replacing sewer lines is surely old, but we can discuss how good it is. Sewage pipes are placed under the ground and if someone would like to replace the pipes, they would have to excavate all the land along the full length of the line that needs to be replaced and clear some space around the line once they reach it. Once the old pipe is removed and the new one placed, the hole needs to be filled up again.
At first glance, the expenses of using the traditional method of sewer line replacement are significant. The procedure involves multiple contractors, use of machinery, as well as buying a new pipe, and disposing of the old one, but that's not all: if the line runs under a walkway or the driveway, it will have to be dug through and restored later. Grass will need to be replanted and landscaping will need to be redone.
And that's without mentioning the fact that a home or business doesn't have sewage while the line is being replaced. Some people decide to live in hotels or motels during the replacement procedure. At the very least, they will not be able to cook in their home and will have to eat out.
The alternative method of sewer line replacement doesn't have that many expenses. Contractors place an inflatable device into the sewer line using the access from the interior structure. When the device is in place it's inflated and it creates an epoxy lining on the inside of the pipe. It’s effectively a new pipe within the old one.
At Mr. Rooter Plumbing, we've done countless interventions using this method. It's faster, less disruptive, and it doesn't have nearly as many additional expenses as the traditional method. People don't have to live somewhere else while the pipe is being renewed. And most importantly, their property doesn't suffer the damage caused by excavation.