What is Orangeburg Pipe and Why Does it Matter?

May 4, 2020

Did a plumber come to your house and conduct a camera inspection only to tell you that you have Orangeburg pipe? If your answer is “Yes,” there’s a good chance the plumber had a discussion about how Orangeburg pipe was all the rage or the “cat’s meow” when it first came out, but now it’s failing and needing to be replaced in cities, particularly older neighborhoods, across the United States.

If your home was built between 1945 and 1972 or if a side sewer was laid by your house during that time, you could have a sewer line pipe made of a material called Orangeburg. Since these sewer pipes are coming to the end of their lifespan and the sewer line is the responsibility of the homeowner, this is a topic that comes up with older homes.

 The lifespan of Orangeburg Pipe

The lifespan of Orangeburg pipe is roughly about 50 years. But after around 30 years, it’s not uncommon for deformities to occur. If your home was built before 1972, you could be at risk of major plumbing problems; it’s not a matter of “if” it will happen, it’s only a matter of “when.” Once Orangeburg starts to break down, all kinds of bad things can happen, namely tree root invasion, frequent clogs, and even a total pipe collapse.

“How do I know if my house has Orangeburg?” Was your home built between 1940 and 1972? If so, you may have Orangeburg. Do you see indentations in your front yard that line up with the sewer line? Do you have frequent mainline clogs? Do your neighbors have Orangeburg? If your answer is YES to any of these questions, there’s a good chance you have it.

Do You Suspect Orangeburg?

Perhaps you suspect you have Orangeburg, but you have a professional plumber take a look. In that case, contact us and one of our licensed plumbers will perform a side sewer camera inspection. If you have Orangeburg, the solution is to replace it with PVC. It is inevitable that the material will deteriorate because of moisture and pressure. If you ignore it, your sewer line will fail eventually, costing thousands in repairs that could have been prevented.