What is Orangeburg Pipe?
Orangeburg pipe is a kind of bituminized or asphalt pipe made from layers of wood pulp compressed and bound together by adhesives and liquified coal tar pitch. It was first used as early as the 1860’s, with the earliest documented application being a mile and a half long water delivery pipe in Boston that remained in use until 1927. Orangeburg enjoyed widespread use until it was replaced by PVC pipe in the 1970s. It was predominately manufactured by the Orangeburg sewer company, previously the fiber conduit company in Orangeburg, New York. Orangeburg pipe’s use in sewer lines became particularly popular during World War 2 when cast iron and other metals because scares due to the war effort. Many Spokane area homes still have Orangeburg sewer lines today, and the product has been discovered in homes built up to 1986 due to widespread overstock of the product specifically in the Spokane and surrounding areas.
So what’s the problem with Orangeburg pipe?
Under Ideal conditions Orangeburg pipe can last 50 years. In real world applications Orangeburg can fail in as little as 10 years. Towards the end of its life, Orangeburg is much like transferring waste through an oval deteriorating tunnel and across a bumpy blistery road made of wet newspaper. When pressure builds up on an Orangeburg pipe it can easily crumble and break. This is especially problematic when it comes to sewer lines. Thousands of miles of decaying Orangeburg pipe are still in operation in the United States and are slowly being replaced by modern alternatives. It has been removed from the approved list of acceptable building materials
How do I Know If My Spokane Home has Orangeburg pipe?
If you’re buying a Spokane home, it’s important to have a professional do a sewer line inspection to see if the home has Orangeburg pipe. If it does, you can negotiate and potentially subtract replacement costs from your offer. If you’re thinking of selling your home, make sure you know what you’re working with in case you have Orangeburg and the buyer will want to negotiate the price or the full replacement of the sewer line. If you suspect that your home has Orangeburg, you can call Shaw Trenchless to schedule a free sewer inspection and estimate. If your sewer line is salvageable, trenchless sewer repair may be a viable option before you have a major sewer problem. Remember that being proactive and taking care of your sewer lines before you have a backup is always less expensive.