Know Your Lingo

What is the main line?
The main line is the sewer line owned and maintained by the city and connects your service line to the city sewage treatment center. It is typically 10 inches in diameter and runs under your street or alley. With the city’s aging sewer line infrastructure, it is not uncommon for the city to run cameras (called scoping) down the sewer main line. The sewer inspection camera will look at each individual tap connection. If they determine that your sewer tap connection is broken, you will receive a notice to repair the connection.

What is a service line?
Your service line is typically 4 inches in diameter and runs from your house to the city’s main sewer line. The homeowner is responsible for the sewer repair or sewer replacement on the service line- even if it is in the street or alley.

What is a tap?
A tap is the connection between your service line and the main city line, which is typically located in the public right-of-way (alley or street). This portion of the sewer line is also the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain.

What is a clay line or clay tile?
Before 1975, many sewer lines were made of clay pipe. Clay pipe sewer lines are susceptible to tree-root penetration and have multiple joints that can become separated or misaligned, causing leaks. Ground settling and erosion also can cause older pipes to move or collapse. Many Denver Metro homes still have the original clay pipes. Current plumbing code requires schedule 40 PVC or SDR 35 piping be used. Depending on the condition of a clay line, it may need sewer line repair or sewer line replacement.

What is an off-set?
An off-set occurs typically in a clay sewer line. Clay sewer lines are in 3-5 foot sections connected by joints. If those joints move out of place, this is called an off-set. Many times, heavy tree root infiltration can cause these off-sets. Depending on how severe the off-set is, you may or may not notice a difference in the function of your line. This can cause restricted water flow or a sewer line back-up. A severe off-set may require a sewer line repair.

What is a collapsed line?
A line can be fully or partially collapsed. A collapsed line is when the structural integrity of the line is compromised allowing dirt and debris into the sewer line. You will most likely notice disruption in your plumbing service. Having a sewer back-up is generally the first indicator that you may have a collapsed line. If the line is collapsed, you will need a sewer line repair.

What is a belly?
A belly is a low spot in the line where water and/or sewage collects. This may or may not disrupt service. Often times, a belly is discovered only when a sewer scope is done on a sewer line. Sewer Lines Only can help you determine if a belly in the line is cause for concern and if it will require a repair.

What is a sewer scope?
A sewer scope is when you use a special sewer inspection camera to visually inspect the interior length of the line. This will aid in locating blockages, bellies, obstructions, etc. This also helps Sewer Lines Only locate exactly where the line needs to be repaired. The camera generally enters the line via a vent stack on your roof, a toilet or a sewer clean-out.

What is a clean-out?
A clean-out is an access point, typically in the yard next to the house or in the basement. They are used to easily access your sewer line in order to inspect or clean it out. When a sewer line is replaced, we generally add a double sweep clean-out. This will make it easier down the road to maintain your sewer line.

What is pipe bursting or trenchless sewer repair?
Pipe bursting or trenchless sewer repair is a process of replacing an existing line by pulling a new line through the existing line. This may or may not be an option depending on the condition of your current line and restrictions in certain municipalities. To learn more, please visit our trenchless sewer repair page. (make this an internal link)

What is orangeburg pipe?
Orangeburg is a fiber sewer line pipe consisting of layers of wood pulp and pitch pressed together. It was commonly installed from the 1860’s – 1970’s. It has been proven to be an inferior sewer pipe product that has severe functional incompetency. If you have an orangeburg sewer line, a sewer repair is most likely not an option. A full sewer line replacement will be necessary.