What Is Orangeburg?

Castle Home Inspections St. Louis MO Orangeburg (1)

What is Orangeburg?  

Orangeburg Sewer Drain Pipe, or Orangeburg, refers to the materials used in a sewer line. It is installed below grade from your home to where it taps into the sewer main. This sewer pipe gets its name from Orangeburg, New York, where it was originally mass-produced during WWII due to the shortage of metal. 

Orangeburg is a type of bituminous fiber pipe made from wood pulp which is sealed with a liquified coal tar pitch.  It’s basically tar paper which is lightweight and becomes brittle.  Orangeburg was commonly used in homes built between 1945 and 1972.  This material has a life expectancy of 50 years but could begin deteriorating as early as 30 years.  Clearly any Orangeburg pipe has surpassed its life expectancy.

Can it be Repaired?

Orangeburg is a very thin pipe, so it tends to flatten out due to moisture and the weight of the dirt over time, making it more oval than round.  It is also susceptible to roots and can be difficult to clear with a sewer machine without damaging the pipe.  Because of the shape and flimsiness, making a repair to a bad section can be tricky.  Most of the time if Orangeburg is having a problem, it’s time to look at replacing the entire line with schedule 40 PVC.

Do I have Orangeburg?

If you have a home built in 1972 or earlier, you could have Orangeburg pipe. You can contact a plumber or an inspector that has the capability to run a sewer camera through the pipe to perform a visual inspection and determine the type of materials used.  We can help you get that service set up.  Eventually the pipe will fail. Plan to replace the pipe before you begin having problems due to failure to help avoid added headaches. 

If you are concerned about the possibility of Orangeburg sewer drain pipe in your home, contact Castle Home Inspections today for a thorough home inspection, sewer lateral scope, or septic inspection, just to name a few!


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