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Sewer line repair and replacement

When you need sewer line repair, it is best to call a specialist.  At Starr, our master plumbers have proprietary knowledge uniquely associated with wastewater repair.

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Scheduling an Evaluation

Our commitment to you is to quickly answer or return your call, arrive as scheduled, and treat your time and home with respect.  We will evaluate your lines with cameras and testing.  During the evaluation, you will have an opportunity to watch the camera video in real-time. 

When evaluating your wastewater lines, our master lumber will consider several important factors.  These include the pipe condition, configuration, and depth, the length of the pipe to be replaced, existing pipes types, and pipe location as it relates to the property topography.  If the replacement runs to the street, the depth of the city tap or “tie-in” will also be a consideration.

As part of our commitment, within 24 hours of your evaluation, we provide you with a clear and detailed report. The report will include the hydro test results, a video of the lines, a diagram, and a repair proposal if needed. It will also cover scope of work details, planned steps, and up-front pricing. Following the report, we will meet with you to discuss the options, recommended corrective measures, and discuss each phase of the replacement process.

What is Sewer Line Repair?

The term sewer line repair refers to the wastewater repairs performed outside your home in your yard. The sewer line connects the lines beneath your home to the city sewer system typically found on the street.

Warning Signs of Sewer Failure

Sewer line repair becomes necessary when specific lines or specific areas are compromised and fail to flow properly. Pipes that need repair show warning signs such as blockages, backups, foul odor, slow drainage, overflowing, and gurgling sounds.

Causes of Sewer Failure

The need for sewer line repair is often due to blockages caused by grease, the buildup of solids, lodged foreign objects, tree roots, and scaling on pipe walls. More serious causes are cast-iron deterioration, shifting soil, improper installation, and pipe settlement. These issues may result in bellies, back-fall, breaks, and joint separations.

Cast-Iron Deterioration

Strong chemicals (for clogs) and continuous exposure to water will inevitably cause corrosion. Cast–iron pipes are strong with thick walls but are worn away over time by wastewater. The base of the pipe becomes thin and easily cracked.

Shifting Soil & Pipe Settlement

Central Texas is known for its cycle of seasonal rains and drought, this cycle causes soil expansion and contraction. As a result, soil around the pipe shifts causing pipe settlement, bellies, backfall (back-pitch), breaks, and separation.

Improper Installation

Pipe installation in its simplest form requires a primer, glue, bedding, and proper ¼-inch “fall” per foot. Poor application of primer and glue can result in line separation. The lack of sufficient bedding (sand or crushed stone) can contribute to the line shifting creating bellies and backfall. The movement of waste in your line requires gravity, improper fall on the line will slow the movement of waste causing debris buildup, and as a result clogs and backups may occur.

Tree Roots

Roots are naturally attracted to wastewater lines. Once roots have found a wastewater pipe, they will seek seams and fittings to access the water within the line. Over time, the roots will grow and expand causing the pipe to crack.

Types of Sewer Line Repairs Performed

The need for sewer line repair is common, often requiring an immediate solution such as spot repair, hydro jetting, and auguring.

Spot Repair

If cleaning your lines is not an option due to damaged or old pipes, you may need spot repair.  It is the process of digging up and replacing the line.

A spot repair is relatively less expensive compared to replacing an entire line or the entire sewer and drain system. The repairs are performed by digging around the specific location of the damaged line and performing repairs.

Our goal is to get your utilities up and running again. Starr is committed to more than fixing your plumbing needs!

Hydro Jetting

Very similar to power washing but designed for drain lines, a hydro jetter machine uses pressurized water to clear pipes. This process will remove debris and clogs from the interior of the pipes. Hydro jetting is considerably very efficient in clearing the build-up and reducing the chance of recurring clogs. It will break up the sludge and debris, pulverize roots, cut through and flush hardened scales, and emulsify grease.

At Starr, our preferred sewer line cleaning method is hydro jetting. We consider hydro jetting to be highly effective and the best value for the cost. The cost of a hydro jetting service will depend on the location and nature of your clogged line. We will discuss pricing over the phone to give you a range of the costs. Hydro is also considered a safer and lower-risk alternative to auguring and snaking lines.


A plumbing auger machine is used to clear clogs and debris from pipes. The auger has a flexible tubular line that is inserted into your drains. The auger motor spins the blades at the end of the auger, making a cutting motion without causing damage. As it snakes through the pipes, it clears clogs and debris.

In some cases, a plumbing auger machine is the best option. Auguring is used to clear clogs and debris from pipes and is sometimes used in conjunction with or prior to hydro jetting.


As a quick and easy solution to clogs, we may snake lines to clear clogs. A plumbing snake is a less sophisticated tool but operates on the same principle. A flexible tube with a soft blade is inserted into your drain lines and typically spun by hand. As it spins, it can be pushed forward and retracted through drains without causing damage.

Sewer Line Replacement

Your project will be supervised by our responsible master plumber, Matthew Martinez. Matthew and our plumbing staff have the skills and training specific to wastewater replacement.  Throughout the process, you will be provided with clear communication and any concerns and questions you have will be answered.

The first step in sewer line replacement starts with excavation, in our case that means hand digging. As compared to heavy equipment that would cause extensive damage, hand digging will limit the damage to your yard by containing the work site to a limited area. Following excavation, your new line will be installed in accordance with national and local plumbing codes and regulations. 

Starr will work diligently to provide you with a cost-effective quality wastewater system designed for efficiency and longevity.

Excavation and Backfill

We always strive to make excavation as contained as possible to limit dust, mud, and damage to landscaping.  To maintain a clean worksite, we will place soil as close to the excavation area as possible and by placing tarps under and over the soil excavated.  Following excavation, your old line will be removed, hauled off, and recycled.

Once the line replacement has been completed, the excavation will be backfilled. The techniques associated with the backfill process are very important. Backfilling should be performed carefully to not disrupt the fall of the new line.

Engineer Verification

Once the line repair has been completed, if required, an independent certified Engineer will review the project. The engineer will ensure that your home’s foundation has not been compromised.  The engineer will produce a report to be shared with both the city inspectors and the homeowner. After passing the Engineer and city inspections, we will backfill the excavation and patch all concrete access holes

Warning Signs and causes of Sewer Failure

Sewer line replacement becomes necessary when the line is compromised and fails to flow properly.  Pipes that need repair show warning signs such as blockages, backups, foul odor, slow drainage, overflowing, and gurgling sounds.  The causes of sewer failure include aging and deteriorating cast-iron lines, shifting soil causing breaks, bellies and backfall, improper installation, and tree root intrusion.

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