Sewer Line Replacement Cost
- The traditional dig-up-and-replace method requires excavating a long, deep trench or trenches to remove the old pipes and install new ones. This method can cost $50-$250 or more a foot, depending on the length and depth of the existing pipes, local rates and the ease of access. Replacing an average sewer line from the house to where it connects to the public sewer system typically costs $3,000-$6,000. However, if the project is complex and/or if the connection to the public system is in the middle of the street it can cost $7,000-$25,000 or more. CostHelper readers report paying $4,500-$13,000, or $50-$100 per foot traditional replacement of 50′-100′ of sewer line, for an average cost of $7,493 or $106 per foot.
- Trenchless sewer replacement uses minimal digging with one of several methods — pipe-bursting, in which a machine breaks and pushes out the old pipe while pulling through and installing a new pipe in its place. Expect to pay about $60-$200 per foot, or $3,500-$20,000 for an average household sewer line depending on the type, length and depth of the existing pipe, plus the cost of any required permits or sidewalk repairs. The trenchless slip-lining method (in which a new, smaller-diameter is installed inside the existing sewer line) or relining (both of which reduce the overall interior diameter of the sewer line) typically cost $80-$250 or more a foot, or $4,000-$25,000 or more for a typical household sewer. CostHelper readers report paying $6,000-$12,000 or about $92-$238 per foot for trenchless sewer repair, with an average cost of $8,900($162 per foot).
- Smaller projects generally cost more per foot. To replace sewer lines less than 50′ long, CostHelper readers paid $5,500-$6,800 or $148-$550 per foot for traditional trenching projects, at an average cost of $6,167 or $232 per foot.
Related articles: Septic System. Septic Tank Cleaning. Replacing Copper Pipes. Unclogging a Toilet
What should be included:
- Traditional dig-and-replace sewer work can require a lot of invasive excavation and result in a patched-up yard, but can be a relatively simple project; an excavator digs up the old pipes, new ones are installed and the trench is refilled. A California plumber provides a video of replacing old clay piping using traditional methods [1 ] .
- Trenchless methods are usually faster than the traditional approach, but require at least some digging, usually at each end of the existing pipe and anywhere in-between where it bends or turns. A video by the manufacturer US Trenchless illustrates the pipe-bursting process [2 ] while one by a New Hampshire plumbing company explains sewer pipe relining [3 ] .
- Sewer pipe installation or replacement generally requires a permit; check with the local building department or make sure the contractor is handling all needed government approvals and paperwork.
- Many companies first do a video camera inspection of the pipes at a cost of $100-$800 but with an average price of $250-$550, depending on local rates and the total length of the pipes; often this amount will be deducted from the final bill if the same contractor replaces the sewer line.
- Ask detailed questions about what condition the yard will be in when the project is completed. Replacing (lawn, trees, shrubs, flower beds) displaced or damaged by traditional trench digging can cost $50-$5,000 or more, depending on how much is involved.
Shopping for sewer line replacement:
- Replacing a private sewer line can be done by a plumber, sewer contractor or general contractor; get a variety of quotes because they may differ in both price and available equipment. The City of Portland, OR, provides an overview for installing a private sewer line [4 ] .
- Check with the sewer department to see if it maintains a list of local contractors or, for larger projects, search for local members of the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association [5 ] .
- Ask about training and experience; request (and check) references; confirm that the company is properly bonded, insured and licensed [6 ] ; and see if there are any complaints with the Better Business Bureau [7 ] .
- Request a detailed bid (not just an estimate) in writing, clearly describing all the work to be done and the materials to be used, who is paying for and obtaining required building permits, the total price for the project and the estimated start and finish dates.