Trenchless Sewer Repairs

9 Risks Factors To Consider While Going For Trenchless Sewer Repairs

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Trenchless sewer repair is a method where the damaged pipe is replaced without digging up the ground. This method is known as Pipe Bursting or Pipe Replacement. The main advantage of trenchless sewer repair is that it saves money and time. Before beginning this job, it is important to consider several risks.

Trenchless sewer repair involves digging trenches in the ground to access the pipes that carry sewage away from the property. Traditionally, sewers have been repaired using this method, but it has become increasingly popular as well.

Trenchless sewer repairs are becoming very popular because they are less expensive than conventional methods. They also provide better service and quality. However, trenchless sewer repair is not without its risks. 

Before you start trenchless sewer repair, you should consider these nine risks factors:

1. Property Damage

Trenchless sewer repair involves digging trenches around the pipes to allow for the replacement of the entire pipe. It requires excavation. Underground utilities may be damaged if improperly handled.

Before starting the project, you should check whether the existing pipes are safe to replace. In addition, you should consult a professional who has experience in trenchless sewer repair. 

The homeowner will face huge expenses if the pipes are damaged due to faulty installation or maintenance. In addition, the homeowner might also lose their home insurance coverage.

Trenchless sewer repair requires excavation under roads, sidewalks, parking lots, and other areas where pipes run underground. This creates potential hazards for nearby buildings and structures. 

2. Damage Underground Water line

When performing trenchless sewer repairs, checking the area around the pipe before starting the job is essential. Digging too close to the main water line could result in severe consequences.

Most utilities can be found before digging begins, but digging without proper precautions can cause serious injury. Pipe breaks may damage them if they are too close to each other. 

Trenchless sewer repair has its limitations. Burstings or lining requires excavation, and careless digging could damage buried utility lines. Slopes with steep gradients or water tables with high water levels cannot be used for this method.  

Trenchless pipe repair has come a long way, especially when using CIPP relining techniques for same day repairs. This allows you to repair sewer lines without digging up the yard.

3. Workers can get Injuries

One of the most significant risks associated with trenchless sewer repair is the potential for injuries to workers. It is very easy for the workers to slip and fall into the trenches while digging up the old pipes. Moreover, there is an increased chance of getting injured when workers use heavy equipment.

Workers involved in trenchless sewer repair often get hurt due to their lack of experience. They might also get injured when they are working around heavy machinery. Therefore, employers should take precautions to ensure the safety of employees.

4. Risk of Flood

Another major risk factor is the possibility of damaging the surrounding areas. The water will seriously damage the soil and plants if it gets into the ground. This will lead to the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi.

If the ground is saturated, water can seep into the trenches and cause damage to nearby structures. In addition, the excavation process can create large amounts of debris that can clog storm drains and flood basements.

Flooding during trenchless sewer repair can cause significant damage to property and infrastructure. If you live near a trenchless sewer repair project, you should contact your local authority to determine whether they plan to perform repairs before the rainy season begins.

5. Risk of Gas Leaks

Gas leaks are one of the biggest threats to trenchless sewer repair. A severe injury can result from it, which makes it very dangerous. In addition, it can also cause property damage. 

You should always check for gas leaks before digging trenches when repairing sewers. Gas leaks can occur anytime, especially when cutting through old pipes. Gas leaks can happen when soil collapses around the pipe. You should consult a professional immediately if you suspect there is a problem.

6. Unexpected Costs

One of the biggest risks associated with trenchless sewer repair is unexpected costs. If there are unforeseen issues during the excavation process, such as damaged pipes or other underground infrastructure, the cost of fixing them will likely be much higher than expected.

This method has some advantages, including lower costs than traditional methods like digging trenches and replacing old pipes. However, the amount of risk involved is concerning. Therefore, before heading to repair the trenchless sewer, you should always keep those in mind.

7. Needs special equipment and skills

To perform trenchless sewer repairs, an expert must first identify the problem. To accomplish this, the area where the work is to be performed must be very well understood. It also requires specialized equipment, such as cameras, sensors, and cutting tools.

Trenchless sewer repair is done using a camera and other tools to detect problems in the sewer line. Computer screens display images from the camera, revealing the location of the problem. 

Once the problem has been located, the camera takes pictures of the damaged area. These pictures are sent to a machine that cuts out the damaged section of the pipe. 

Then, the cutout piece is removed from the pipe and replaced with new material. Finally, the repaired section of the pipe is inspected to ensure that the job was successful.

Investing in the right equipment is necessary to perform trenchless sewer repair. Before attempting trenchless sewer replacement, you should also have experience working with sewer lines. Hiring someone with these skills is the only solution if you don't have them.

8. The condition of the soil

For trenchless sewer repairs to be successful, soil conditions must be favorable. If the soil is too soft or compacted, it will cause problems during the lining installation. This can result in costly repairs.

Soil conditions should be considered carefully before starting a trenchless sewer repair project. A soil's quality can be determined in several ways. Various pits can be dug around the site to determine how well the site performs. A core sample analysis is conducted.

Trenchless sewer repairs involve digging trenches into the ground and using a pipe cutter to cut out the damaged section of the pipe. This method can cause damage to the soil around the pipes. If the soil is weak, it can collapse under the weight of the equipment being used.

Before starting the project, you should test the condition of the soil around the damaged area. Otherwise, you might damage the surrounding areas during excavation.

The soil should be dry enough to dig trenches without waterlogging. If the soil is wet or saturated, the trenchless sewer repair method cannot be applied.

A problem with existing utility lines may occur in some cases. There is a risk that workers or property will be damaged. It is also possible that the trenchless sewer repair will cause damage to the existing utility lines.

9. Special Codes and Permits

Trenchless sewer repairs require special permits and codes. Contractors often face challenges when dealing with local authorities. These include obtaining permits, complying with codes, and ensuring safety.

If the trenchless sewer repair requires digging up the road, then special permits and codes must be followed. Also, the trenchless sewer repair should not be done during heavy rain as it could lead to flooding.

Although pipe lining and bursting require less excavation, construction permits and building requirements must still be obeyed. The majority of towns have particular rules for contractors and need permits for any work being done beneath sidewalks and roadways. 

Like any sewage project, the work must pass inspection and adhere to regulations. Additionally, because pipe lining cannot solve every issue and typically has a shorter lifespan than new pipes, some sanitary district authorities do not permit it.


Sewer systems are vital parts of our infrastructure. They collect wastewater from homes and businesses, then transport it away from buildings. The pipes are buried underground to prevent them from being damaged or destroyed by heavy rain or snowfall.

However, these sewers can become blocked due to tree roots, debris, or other obstructions. This can cause sewage backup into basements, crawl spaces, and the home. When this happened, you need to know how to get rid of the sewer bad smell from your house.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.

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