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I have a main drain line running from my 1940s era single family residence in Las Vegas, NV to the city sewer. Given the time period I had assumed it would be cast iron, but when I dug down to it, it didn't quite look like cast iron I'd seen before. It has a distinct hammered, shiny finish and has zero corrosion, despite being buried in the ground for (I assume) nearly 80 years. Can anyone verify that cast iron looks like this sometimes? If not, what else could it be?

Thanks in advance!

enter image description here

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  • 2
    Check with a magnet
    – bobflux
    Feb 26 at 23:20
  • @bobflux Excellent idea. Magnet does not stick to pipe.
    – JG307
    Feb 27 at 0:12
  • if the pipe is contemporary with the drink bottle on the left it's not anything like 80 years old.
    – Jasen
    Feb 27 at 12:27
  • @Jasen Haha no, the water bottle definitely fell into the hole while digging.
    – JG307
    Feb 27 at 22:02

1 Answer 1

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It will be hard to definitely identify the material. Given the time frame, my first guess would have to be Orangeburg pipe. The shiny surface could be from the coal tar used to cover the pipe. The only problem is that it looks in amazingly good shape, might be due to the dry Las Vegas climate. A picture of it is shown below. (from web, Paul Duffau)

enter image description here

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  • If the magnet does not stick, this is highly likely.
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 26 at 23:56
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    @Ecnerwal The magnet did not stick. I am not happy. lol
    – JG307
    Feb 27 at 0:14
  • Looks ready for 80 more years - best looking piece of installed Orangeburg I've ever seen. Most look worse than the picture in this answer - often far worse. In most places the first 10 feet from the house will be cast iron, if that helps any.
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 27 at 0:26
  • @ecnerwal Thanks haha. It feels incredibly hard and sturdy. When I was under the impression it was cast iron, I was standing on it as I dug out the hole around it, even after taking out the dirt supporting a 2ft span of it, it supported my weight no problem.
    – JG307
    Feb 27 at 0:35
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    Hmm. I've never seen tar-coated asbestos-cement pipe, but I have to wonder if that's a possibility. Ususally that stuff is gray-white and may even have "Transite®" proudly molded into it every few feet.
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 27 at 0:48

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