Pipe Bursting For Replacement Of Sanitary Sewer Laterals

7th In A Series From The IPBA
By Matt Timberlake, President, Ted Berry, Trenchless Technologies Team LLC, International Pipe Bursting Association Marketing Committee | November 2011, Vol. 66 No. 11

Typical lateral pipe bursting units pull with a static force of 30 to 40-plus tons. These small, portable pipe bursting systems can be run on portable hydraulic excavation units and portable hydraulic power packs. They are easily set-up by hand in small easements and areas that are not easily accessible with excavation equipment, thus limiting the disruption to property.

Most private sewer residential laterals are between 4 – 6-inch inner diameter and commercial private laterals are between four – 8-inch ID. Pipe bursting gives the unique advantage of being able to increase the ID of the pipe allowing additional hydraulic capacity for homes that are looking to add additional facilities or expansions to existing commercial facilities.


It is important to properly identify all public and private utilities in the area including all electrical, water, gas and other pipes that could intersect with the sewer lateral. Following the utility mark-out and one-call system consistent with your community’s guidelines is the minimum requirement for pipe bursting whether on public or private property.

The most common types of pipes installed with lateral or small diameter pipe bursting are HDPE that is fused in a continuous length prior to being installed, and PVC that is installed in sections. HDPE pipe is not a common material for plumbers to work with so there is often some education that needs to be done up-front so there are no surprises in the field.

For a private property owners, pipe bursting is a method that should be considered as a long-term solution to your underground infrastructure replacement. As a utility system owner, it is important to be educated on how pipe bursting works and be able to properly inspect the work performed in your community. As a contractor, pipe bursting is another option you can offer your customers that leaves them with a quality installation, limited disruption and sets you aside from your competitors.

Do your homework, select a quality project team and go pipe bursting! New pipe, more capacity: for pipe bursting the time is now.

Coming in December: Pipe bursting for replacement of large diameter pipeline.

IPBA (NASSCO), (410) 486-3500, www.nassco.org

BJM pump

BJM pump
BJM Pump

The J-Series electric submersible pumps offer top performance and high quality for a very modest investment. The pumps are designed for long life and trouble free performance. The J-Series electric submersible pumps offer top performance and high quality for a very modest investment.