Average Cost of Sewer Lateral
A sewer lateral is the part of the sewer system that connects your home to the public sewer main. It runs from below your house, under your yard or driveway, usually to the center of the road, where it connects to the city main. If something goes wrong with your sewer lateral, it is imperative to act quickly for obvious reasons.
Ideally, if you do regular maintenance and inspections, you can catch issues before they get to the stage of a sewage backup or a major leak.
This guide will walk you through the various costs involved when something does go wrong with your sewer lateral.
THE OVERALL COST
Overall, if you have a problem with your sewer lateral, the final bill will come in at $3,818 on average. Within this figure, however, there is a great deal of variation. Prices can go from $50 per linear foot to repair or replace a small section of the lateral, all the way up to a $30,000 full system replacement.
Below is a breakdown of the specific costs involved depending on your unique circumstances.
The first step to determining repair costs is to have a diagnostic test. This will be run by a professional plumber – if they do not use any specialist equipment, you can expect an hourly rate of $45-$150.
Sewer Camera Inspection
One of the tactics a plumber may use to find blockages or tree roots in your sewer lateral is with a camera inspection.
This involves pushing a camera through the length of the sewer lateral and using a monitor to check for blockages. This will, overall, help to lower costs because you’ll be able to focus on the specific area in need of repair.
SEWER DAMAGE CLEANUP
If your sewer has already leaked or backed up, then you will need to pay for the cleanup. The cost for this is $2,000 to $10,000. Because sewage is a biohazard, you need to physically remove items that have become contaminated.
Once this has taken place, you’ll need to thoroughly clean and disinfect the entire area. This will need to be done by a professional team.
If the diagnostic tests determine that you can’t patch up part of the sewer line, you will need to pay for either a full sewer system or sewer line replacement.
Because of the prices involved in this, you should get a few quotes before proceeding with any work, as well as speak to your insurance company; they may be able to cover some or all of the costs.
To get a full sewer system replacement, you will pay between $8,000-$30,000. If you need to get part of the lateral replaced, you will pay between $50 and $200 per linear foot.
If you need to get a small piece of the sewer lateral replaced, that will be between $3,000 and $6,000. For sections longer than 50 feet, the cost will be between $5,000 and $13,000.
SEWER LINE IN BASEMENT
If you need to replace the lateral where it goes under your basement, the costs are higher because it can require excavation of your foundation. Your basement is also home to the wastewater backup, which means that there is added reason to treat this area with great care.
The cost for this is $3,000 to $5,000. To fully replace the lateral under your basement, the average cost is $7,000 to $20,000. Given this, it is best to try and replace only a small section of the sewer under your basement – highlighting the importance of good diagnostics before you start digging.
If you have multiple leaks under your basement or foundation, then you will need to replace the entirety of the sewer system. This will bring your overall cost to $30,000. In some cases, you can use alternative methods to lower costs; these will be described in the section below on repairing your sewer lateral.
In some cases, it may be possible to repair a section of the sewer lateral, rather than fully replace it. If this is the case, it will often be cheaper than digging up a section of your yard or basement or replacing the entire system.
Again, a diagnostic test will be able to tell whether this is the best option for you.
If part of your pipe is cracked, it will cost between $50 and $450 per linear foot to repair. If the pipe has cracked at a joint, then this will require excavation and replacement. In that case, you will need to pay $33 to $68 per cubic yard to dig up the ground in order to access the pipe that has cracked.
On average, the cost of excavation of a cracked pipe is $255. More than likely, your cracked pipe will require full replacement in order to solve the problem.
If you have tree roots in your lateral you can address the problem without the need for excavation. A camera test will determine the extent of the problem. If you decide to use an auger (a machine with a spinning blade on the end, which cuts up the tree roots) it will cost between $100 and $600.
You can also use a hydrojetter to spray high-pressure water at the roots. You then flush chemicals down the pipe to dissolve any of the remaining roots. This costs between $225 and $525.
SEWER LINE COLLAPSE
If you have a sewer line collapse, it will cost between $50 and $200 per linear foot to fix using pipe bursting (see the section on pipe bursting, below).
If you have older pipes, made of a material like clay, then you can’t use pipe bursting if your sewer line collapses, and you will need to pay for a full sewer system replacement, costing between $6,000 and $30,000.
SEWER LINE CLOG
Sewer line clogs are fairly straightforward to fix. Most often, the blockage is caused by debris that becomes lodged, causing further debris to attach to it – this shows that acting sooner is better, while the blockage is smaller.
If you use a plumbing snake, you can expect to pay between $170 and $400 – up to $850 if the blockage is more troublesome. If you use a hydrojet, then the cost will be somewhere between $225 and $575.
A big part of the cost of sewer line repair or replacement is the cost of excavation. Because sewer lines run under yards and basements, they can be difficult to access. This is why it is usually preferable (and cheaper) to act without excavation.
There are more options for trenchless pipe repair that you can discuss with your plumber.
Excavation and Backfill Cost
If you have to dig up your yard, you will not only have to pay for the cost of removing the dirt (excavation), but also for the cost of filling the dirt back in (backfill). If you need to dig a trench, it will cost between $6 and $15 per linear foot. The cost of removing the dirt will be $33 to $67.50 per cubic yard.
As mentioned above, it is preferable in terms of price and convenience to use trenchless options. This does require one excavation point where materials can be inserted into the sewer lateral, although this is far less invasive than digging up an entire section of yard or foundation.
The costs involved in the trenchless installation preclude the need for excavation and backfill, often making them extremely financially viable.The two main trenchless options are:
CURED-IN-PLACE PIPE LINING
Cured-in-Place pipe lining (sometimes known as Cured-in-Place Pipe) is where a new lining is placed through the pipe, releasing an epoxy. This epoxy then solidifies, which provides a strong seal around the interior of the pipe.
The cost of a cured-in-place pipe lining is $75 to $250 per linear foot, meaning that the final cost will be between $3,000 and $4,000 on average. This price includes the full cost of materials, inspection, sewer cleaning, and shutting off the sewer throughout the process.
Pipe bursting effectively uses the old sewer lateral to create a brand new pipe system. A guide head is sent down with a new pipe attached behind. This head travels the length of the old pipe and bursts it, using the space to install a new pipe.
The cost for this is $60 to $200 per linear foot, resulting in an average cost somewhere between $1,000 and $4,000.
QUICK PRICE REVIEW
Here’s a quick breakdown of the services and their costs discussed in full detail above.
|Sewer Damage |
|Sewer Line in |
|Sewer Line Collapse||$50-$200|
|Sewer Line Clog||$170-$850|
|Excavation||$6-$15 per ft.|
The sewer is not a glamorous part of your home, but it certainly is in your financial interest to stay on top of things. If you make regular inspections and act quickly if you suspect things are going wrong, then you can end up saving tens of thousands of dollars. And that is something that should be of great interest for any homeowner.