My house was built in 1954, the waste pipes under the house are cast iron and galvanized steel, as are the fresh water pipes. I have a clog in the main sewer line running out to the street, as well as a leak that I need to address.

I dug up the line outside of the house in order to install a "sanitary tee" as there was no cleanout, and the plumber couldn't get his camera past a nasty clog in the pipe and suggested I install one. After digging up the pipe and cutting a section out of it in order to install a flexible tee, I discovered that the pipe isn't 4" but more like 4.5".

It's a plastic pipe, but it has a weird dimpled pattern on the outside of it, almost like fiberglass mat, but it's just dimpled into the pipe. It's about the same thickness as schedule 80 ABS, but when broken it almost has a flaky layered type of appearance. A family friend who's a plumber said that it's some kind of obsolete pipe they used during WW2 when they couldn't get cast iron pipe, but I cannot find any information on it. I hate to have to dig up the entire line and replace it, but I can't seem to get any fittings or adapters that will work with this pipe, and I do need to replace at least a couple of sections of it.

Only thing I can think of is possibly if I heated it up to soften it, I may be able to fit a section of 4" ABS pipe inside of it, but I'd rather not go the half-ass route. If I have to replace the whole line, so be it, but wondered if anyone had any input. :-)


1 Answer 1


It could be Orangeburg (bituminized) pipe, which was used for decades up to the 70s. I'd remove as much as you can, and then use a shielded Fernco adapter (clamping steel and rubber), sized to the outside diameter. Be careful not to crush the old stuff.

Disclaimer: I have no idea if this meets code.

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    That really sounds like what I have! Looks like I'm going to be digging up my yard, as it's collapsed and has root intrusion in several spots. Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 19:08
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    ...Which is exactly what Orangeburg does, and why it's such a terrible thing to have. My sympathy on your upcoming pain. I'd suggest you just commit to replacing all of it.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 19:30
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    Thankfully it's not a very long run and since I'm in Washington State the pipe isn't terribly deep (~2-3 feet)... It's severely clogged/collapsed by the house, the people who my homeowner's insurance company sent out to inspect the pipe, were pretty convinced that pipe's been clogged a long time and that there's no way the people we bought the house from didn't know about it, and they failed to disclose it... Currently advising with an attorney.. Hopefully I can force them to pay for replacing it plus inconvenience of not being able to live in my house! Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 15:35
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    Just wanted to thank everyone for their help :-) Ended up replacing all 100 feet of line with all new ABS pipe, works like a champ! Once we dug up the Orangeburg pipe we discovered most of it was collapsed and/or clogged, in several spot the lining had come loose and clogged the pipe further down, and several sections had been cut out and replaced with PVC with questionable workmanship (One part was spliced in with Fernco couplers, which were leaking, other section they used the wrong type of PVC and used a SHINGLE to seal the connection! Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 20:15

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