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Trenchless Technology 101


You may have heard about the use of something called trenchless technology in the plumbing world. This technology has changed the way professional plumbers approach working on underground pipes, and it can make a major difference for the next time you need service on your sewer line or water main.

What is trenchless technology?

Trenchless technology is a type of lateral boring technology that was developed in the 1930s, originally as a method of lateral mining. Eventually, it found its way into civic engineering because it allows for the laying of underground pipes and conduits without having to tear open roads and sidewalks. Eventually, the technology developed to the point where residential plumbing contractors had access to the tools and training so they could put the technology to work for homeowners.

Trenchless technology approaches work on underground piping (sewer lines, water mains) from the side. Plumbers can send liners to seal up gaps or even a new pipe to replace older pipes from access points at the end of the pipes, such as the clean-out for a sewer line. A hydraulic system on the other side draws the new pipe or liner into place. This doesn’t require attacking the problem from above, i.e. digging to reach it. This is why the technology is sometimes called “no-dig technology.”

Trenchless technology vs. traditional plumbing

The biggest difference between trenchless technology and traditional plumbing methods to address underground pipe repair and replacement is that traditional plumbing techniques require extensive excavation. Even for a small repair to a sewer line, traditional methods require digging up a hole in the property to access the line. For a full pipeline replacement, traditional plumbing must tear open a full trench across the property, from the edge of the house where the pipeline exits to the end of the property line. This is time-consuming, costly, looks as pleasant as an archeological dig, and will leave the landscaping changed afterward.

Trenchless technology has none of these problems. In the cases when plumbers must dig a hole to access an end of the pipeline, they only dig out a small hole at the edge of the property, something easily landscaped over. This is true even for a full pipe replacement and pipe relining.

What is pipe relining?

This is a particular type of trenchless technology used for underground pipeline restoration and replacement. The hydraulics of the trenchless technology pull a pipe liner into place within the damaged line, and this line adheres to the interior pipe walls with a strong epoxy. This creates a new lining that closes up gaps and other damage. For a complete line replacement, the plumbers pull a device called a “pipe burster” through the line, which expands it outward to shatter the old line and put the new liner in its place. 

Not all local plumbing contractors offer these services, so when you want trenchless technology in Bergen, NY to help make your underground plumbing problems easier, call on Triple-O!

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