Post Lining Cleaning of CIPP Lined Laterals

“I told my customer that her new sewer lining process took some special care and that they couldn’t use

Ultra High Speed Drain Cleaning Cable Machine

caustic drain cleaners or any cable machines to clean the line in the future. After I left, I questioned myself and now am wondering if I told her the right thing?” 

In order to give you the best possible answer to address this, I decided to go online to see what was posted there. WOW! I read so many “expert” opinions that it was hard at times not to laugh out loud. If you’ve been in the drain cleaning industry, you’ve learned that when a new cast iron pipe gets plugged, you can use pretty much any method, regardless of how aggressive it is, to remove the clog. Give that same pipe 40 years of service and seeing the pipe heavily corroded and thinned out, your aggressive methods used 40 years previously can’t be used today. While you may have used an toothed cutter to remove the debris earlier, that toothed cutter may now do more harm than good.

Root Saw

Conversely, you most likely would have never used an aggressive toothed cutter in a new PVC or ABS drain pipe. You could still use a drain cleaning cable machine, but you’d most likely choose something less intrusive than a toothed cutter. You may also employ a jetter to remove the clog. One of the sites I looked at stated that a jetter could cut the plastic pipe. Yes, a jetter can cut plastic pipe, but the unit would need to produce pressures for PVC, ABS and CIPP in the neighborhood of 35,000 to 40,000 psi pressure to cut the material. Most jetter units used for typical drain cleaning maintenance operate in the ranges of 2,000 to 4,000 psi.

So how aggressive can you get in plastic pipe? I’ve used chain knockers with care taken to limit the diameter that the chain knocker can extend to as well as a centering device to keep the chain knocker centered in the pipe. I’ve also seen toothed cutters used, again smaller than the actual pipe diameter and centered with a centering device. Standard hooks on a cable machine are fine to use. Any sewer jetter with most tools can be used. Root saws not so much, but you shouldn’t be seeing roots in lined pipe.

What about caustics? Draino, among other caustics can be used in plastic pipes. If you use these products most are composed of various forms of Sodium Hydroxide. We’ve tested 10%, 20% and 50% solutions of sodium hydroxide and in 12 months of testing, no degradation of the CIPP liner was affected. One of the articles I read said that the Draino product would eat through or soften metal or plastic over time. I wondered how they can even bottle the stuff if it eats through everything. Hmm! If your customer wants to try that type of product because it makes them feel better, they are good to go even though most of the time it doesn’t exactly work as they expect and still call for repair.

Hopefully this will alleviate any concerns you have about future cleaning. Worry about something else, but this is one of those that should keep you up at night.

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