Homeowner on the phone with plumber after experiencing slow-moving drainage

Your sewer line rests beneath your home. For most homeowners, it is out of sight and out of mind —until a problem occurs. Issues with your sewer line can develop for many reasons. In some cases, problems arise due to poor construction or improper use, such as flushing the wrong items down the drain.

In other cases, issues can stem from the materials used. One sewer line material homeowners should be concerned about is Orangeburg pipes. The Arrow Sewer & Drain team includes specialists in drain and sewer repairs throughout north and central New Jersey, including Edison, Middlesex, and Somerset Counties. Here, we offer insight into what homeowners should know about Orangeburg pipes and the potential issues they can create for your plumbing.

What Is Orangeburg Pipe?

Getting its name from the town in New York where it was manufactured, the Orangeburg pipe was manufactured by the Fiber Conduit Company (which later changed its name to the Orangeburg Manufacturing Company). These pipes are a bituminous fiber pipe that’s made from wood fibers bound with a water-resistant adhesive and filled with liquefied coal tar pitch.

After World War II, many military personnel came back interested in purchasing homes, creating a giant housing surge. Homebuilders scrambled to meet these demands. As a result of this demand for housing, inexpensive building materials were chosen over traditional, reliable materials. One of those inexpensive materials was Orangeburg pipes.

Because they were lightweight and easy to cut, Orangeburg pipes were highly regarded. At the time, many looked at them as an example of genius-level engineering. For those reasons, they were commonly used in home construction in NJ between the 1940s and 1970s. Unfortunately, homeowners and construction companies are seeing today that Orangeburg pipes fail to meet the original expectations that they could last 50 years or longer.

Common Problems With Orangeburg Piping

Given their construction, Orangeburg pipes are susceptible to several issues homeowners should recognize. One of the most common problems is pipes becoming deformed as they age. The combination of moisture running through the pipes and pressure from the surrounding soil cause Orangeburg pipes to lose their shape and, in some extreme cases, close off completely. This means Orangeburg pipes are much more likely to experience blockages and clogs.

Another problem homeowners should look out for is the possibility of tree roots in pipes. During the aging process, Orangeburg pipes lose their circular cross-section. This allows tree roots easy access inside sewer piping. Upon making their way into the pipes, roots can continue to grow, causing major obstructions and sewage backup.

When these scenarios occur, homeowners are left dealing with several unpleasant consequences, such as slow-moving drains and sewer smell in the home. When a home’s sewer system is backed up, foul-smelling sewer odors usually are present throughout the house. These odors often resemble rotten eggs, spoiled milk, and other unpleasant sulfuric stenches.

Homeowners should deal with unpleasant odors quickly, as long-term exposure to hydrogen sulfide, or sewer gas, can cause nausea, dizziness, and other severe health concerns.

Sewer Solutions From the Professionals at Arrow Sewer & Drain

Orangeburg pipes are still featured in many homes in NJ today. These homes may already be experiencing issues with their sewer piping, but even if they are not, they may be on the verge of complications. Homeowners who fail to address the warning signs may be faced with expensive consequences.

If you believe your home may have been constructed with Orangeburg pipes, or if you are unsatisfied with the current condition of your sewer system, turn to the professionals at Arrow Sewer & Drain. Specializing in sewer and drain services as well as residential plumbing and commercial plumbing, our team performs a variety of services to meet the needs of clients across north and central NJ. For more information about Orangeburg pipes and their dangers, contact us today at Arrow Sewer & Drain.


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