This sewer library describes pipe from a sewer scope technician’s perspective—we’re not trying to define all aspects of the pipe, but we do define what is relevant to your sewer scope.
Please feel free to use these definitions for your reference, but know that the information presented on this page is subject to Sewercam’s No Warranty Clause.
ABS is the black plastic pipe that you commonly see inside a home's drain-waste-vent system. ABS pipe may appear at the beginning of your Sewercam sewer scope if the side sewer was accessed from inside (or under) your home.
Generally speaking, the inspection camera hardly ever reveals any problems within the interior ABS pipe, much like the other pipe types generally only found in the interior portion of a home’s side-sewer line— copper and lead.Return to Top
- Backflow Valve
A backflow valve is an inline device designed to prevent anything from flowing back up your side sewer. Not common to all side sewers, it’s usually found in areas where the side sewer is more susceptible to pressure from the city main—usually when a house is close to the city main and there isn’t a large difference in height between the two.
Your Sewercam sewer scope may be able to partially inspect the backflow valve, but the inspection camera cannot push past the backflow valve, as it will become trapped on the far side of the valve.Return to Top
- Cast Iron
Cast iron pipe is commonly seen in older homes, mostly in the interior plumbing (a short stub usually passes through the home’s foundation into the soil outside of the home). Cast iron is solid pipe, but it is susceptible to corrosion over long periods of time.
Generally speaking, most Sewercam sewer scopes that involve cast iron reveal a healthy cast-iron pipe.Return to Top
The cleanout—a screw-on cap that can be removed and replaced—is the preferred means of access to a side-sewer line. Most homes have a cleanout installed, but the location can be in any number of places. If you’re looking for your cleanout, check in the following places:
- outside of your home, near the base of your foundation’s wall
- in your basement or crawlspace
- behind your washer and dryer
- in closets
If your Sewercam sewer scope technician cannot find a cleanout, he can usually access the line by removing a toilet, scoping the line, and replacing the toilet with a fresh seal. Alternatively, he can sometime access the line through a roof vent. Pulling and replacing a toilet requires extra labor and cost, so a small charge is applied.Return to Top
- Vitrified Clay
Vitrified clay pipe is a durable, eco-friendly pipe material that sometimes gets more bad press than it deserves. Along with concrete pipe, it is susceptible to shifting or fracturing if surrounding soil moves. Vitrified clay pipe, however, is far more durable than concrete and doesn't erode over time like concrete.
If trees or shrubs are planted over a clay tile pipe, roots will likely find their way in the pipe section’s joints. Root intrusion is a fairly common and easily treatable condition on which your Sewercam sewer scope technician can advise you.Return to Top
Concrete pipe is a fairly common material that was generally used in side sewers built before the mid 1980’s. It is durable, with a lifespan between 70—90 years. The collective experience of Sewercam technicians show that concrete pipe laid in the 1930’s may require replacing in certain sections where the erosion is more severe. Though not as susceptible as vitrified clay, concrete is somewhat subject to shifting or fracturing if surrounding soil moves.
If trees or shrubs are planted over a concrete pipe, roots will likely find their way in the pipe section’s joints. Root intrusion is a fairly common and easily treatable condition on which your Sewercam sewer scope technician can advise you.Return to Top
Copper pipe is not commonly seen in drain-waste-vent systems, but it can sometimes be found in the interior portion of the side-sewer of older homes. As with other pipes that are mostly “interior only” (like ABS and lead pipe), Sewercam’s inspection camera very rarely finds anything other than healthy copper pipes.Return to Top
Lead pipe is not commonly seen in drain-waste-vent systems, but it can sometimes be found in the interior portion of the side-sewer of older homes. As with other pipes that are mostly “interior only” (like ABS and copper pipe), Sewercam’s inspection camera very rarely finds anything other than healthy lead pipes.Return to Top
Orangeburg pipe (bituminous fiber pipe) is basically a pressed-fiber pipe impregnated with pitch. You might think of it as cardboard roll (like the interior cardboard roll in paper towels) soaked in tar. Generally speaking, Orangeburg is problematic because of its tendency to “choke” its interior diameter as the layers of pressed fiber off-gas and bubble up.
The presence of Orangeburg pipe doesn’t mean that the side-sewer line needs to be replaced! Orangeburg pipe just generally has a shorter lifespan than other pipe types. Your Sewercam sewer scope technician can accurately advise you about the health of your Orangeburg pipe.Return to Top
PVC (SDR 40) is very durable and long-lasting white poly(vinyl chloride) plastic pipe. Aside from the occasional low areas or constriction, Sewercam’s inspection camera very rarely reveals problems with PVC pipe.Return to Top
SDR (SDR 35) is a very durable and long-lasting poly(vinyl chloride) plastic pipe, but it is slightly thinner than the white SDR 40 PVC pipe. It’s usually fairly easy to identify by its light green color. Although it is slightly more susceptible to low areas and constriction than its thicker cousin, PVC, Sewercam sewer scopes show very few problems with SDR pipes.Return to Top
Transite is an asbestos-fiber and cement pipe that is fairly durable and long-lasting. It’s not a very common pipe material, but can sometimes be found in side-sewers laid before 1980. When Transite is found, the vast majority of Sewercam sewer scopes have revealed that it is a fairly trouble-free material.Return to Top