Legacy Post: Replacing the Sewer Pipe


Here's a seemingly uninteresting post, a post about replacing the sewer pipe at 173.  I say seemingly because there actually are a few interesting things about this project that took place 'round about 1999.  Here in my city, the sewer system is antiquated and is becoming a serious problem for the famed Hudson River.  Most of the sewer system here was built in the 19th century, when horses were common in cities, meaning that horse dung was a public health problem. The sewers allowed for dung to be pushed into any nearby storm drains, which would carry it to sewage treatment plants.  And of course, 173's sewer line was put in way back in 1927, not too far into the automobile age (fewer horses - less sewage).  Here's the story...

Not long after purchasing 173, I was mowing the front yard and noticed a little divet in the yard next to the sidewalk coming from the front door.  I didn't think much of it at the time, but it did register.  Maybe a year later, I noticed the divet had become a depression, and still later a bit of a hole.  Then, somewhere around '99 I noticed that the hole really had become something of note.  So I called the City and they sent a crew out to scope the city sewer line.  What they found was the sewer line that comes from 173 to the city's line had dropped off the sewer main, right at the dotted line that says "Sewer Responsibility":

Picture from Kenmore Community Club
That meant, replacing the pipe was my responsibility, and at a time when finds were limited, this was no small undertaking.  And, as you can see by the picture above, the city's line is significantly deep underground, so it was certainly not something I could do myself.  So I hired a company that does this stuff and they took care of it over the next three days.  Here's the first picture:


At this point, they had removed the sidewalks that go from the house to the city sidewalk.  It looks like they are digging gingerly, although as we will see - there was no need for caution yet.


And there's the new pipe that went in.  A far difference from the original clay pipes!  Oh, and look - there's the old birch trees when I first put them in.  They were here until 2013 when I cut them down after learning that their roots had a tendency to grow right through pipes!  Remember how I commented about how deep these things went. this picture is when they were maybe half way there:


The hole was so deep, they had to put supports in to protect against cave-ins:


They eventually had quite an interesting setup to get the pipe changed:


It was like an archaeological dig site!


But after a few days the job was done.  Interestingly, since this was done here at 173, I've seen maybe a dozen of my neighbors have the same issue over the years.  The one upside is...this gave us an absolutely clean slate for the front yard!

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