Category Archives: Engineering

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The World's 5 Most Famous Underground Structures

The World’s 5 Most Famous Underground Structures

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When you think of the great buildings of the world, skyscrapers, bridges, or mansions may come to mind. However, certain problems require complex solutions. From crypts to subway systems, underground infrastructure is vital to the success and convenience of humans. Here are some of the most famous and impressive underground structures in the world.

1. Arsenalna Subway Station

Built 346 feet below the streets of Kyiv, Ukraine, the Asenalna Subway Station is the deepest subway metro station in the world. Opened in 1960, it’s an engineering marvel based on necessity — simply to go comfortably under the Dnieper River.

Just as amazing as the structure itself, the escalator up or down into the subway station takes approximately five minutes, making it one of the longest escalator rides in the world to boot.

2. Paijanne Water Tunnel

Stretching 75 miles at a depth of between 100 and 330 feet below the ground, the Paijanne Water Tunnel is the main supply line of water for the city of Helsinki, Finland. Currently, it’s the second-longest tunnel in the world, trailing only the Delaware Aqueduct in New York City.

However, its relative size — wide enough to fit a truck inside, its depth, and the water flow of 350 cubic feet per second make it perhaps the most impressive underground infrastructure in the world.

3. AngloGold Ashanti Mponeng Gold Mine

Built to mine one of the world’s largest gold reserves, the AngloGold Ashanti Mponeng Gold Mine is also the deepest mine in the world. To get to the gold, a mine shaft extends more than 2.5 miles below the surface of the Earth. It’s so far down, that going from the surface to the bottom on an elevator takes over an hour.

Interestingly, scientists found several organisms at these depths that were previously unknown to mankind.

4. China Jinping Underground Laboratory

Constructed in 2010 under the cliffs and peaks of the Jinping Mountains in Sichuan, China, the China Jinping Underground Laboratory is the deepest facility in the world. Used to explore dark matter due to a lack of cosmic rays, the laboratory is situated more than 7,900 feet below the surface.

5. Wieliczka Salt Mine

Excavated from the late 13th century until 2007, the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland is the oldest continuously mined area in the world. But since its closure, the government wanted to do something extra special. Equipping the area with three floors open to the public, the salt mine features a labyrinth, hundreds of passageways, an underground lake, four chapels, sculptures, art, and more. As a result, it’s one of the world’s only below-ground UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Building Underground on Your Own

While you may not build an impressive underground structure of your own, underground infrastructure is always integral to any current construction project. To successfully build utilities protected from the elements, underground pipes are always the best option. You only need to make sure that you get a reputable company to do the job.

EPS Engineering dba Express Plumbing has been performing heavy construction and underground construction services for multiple decades.  As an underground plumbing contractor and civil engineering company, we can make any project happen, no matter how large or small.

Finding an underground infrastructure company with a solid reputation, experience, knowledgeable staff, and the right equipment ensures that your project goes off without a hitch and becomes a benefit rather than a hindrance.

Team up with us for your next project by contacting nick@expressPlumbing.com


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Why You Should Switch To Underground Service Feeders

Why You Should Switch To Underground Service Feeders

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Whether you’re building a new house, you’re a contractor, or you work for a municipality, you have many choices to bring power to new construction. In the past, overhead service feeders were the industry standard — they still are today in many areas of the country. But it’s not the only option. By switching to underground service feeders for utilities, you can achieve a number of benefits you never thought possible. Here’s why you should consider it.

What Are Underground Service Feeders?

Before making the decision to use underground service feeders, you should probably know what they are. The idea is simple. Instead of having wires and cables for internet, fiber optics, and power above ground suspended by poles, they’re buried in the ground.

Moreover, the wires run along the standard utility poles, down a pipe to a transformer, and then into the ground where they’re fed into the house — typically through some type of PVC pipe.

The Advantages of Switching to Underground Service Feeders

Aside from having no visible wires above ground and a better overall aesthetic, underground service feeders have a more important role: they’re impervious to damage from weather, motorists, thieves, vandals, or any other thing that could cause significant damage. More than anything, you won’t have a disruption of power, internet, or other services that are integral to the comfort and convenience of your daily life.

The Added Cost of Underground Service Feeders

Unfortunately, the major downside of underground service feeders is the additional cost. According to some estimates, the underground infrastructure of this type is three to five times more expensive than traditional overhead service feeders.

This added expense can pose a problem to those on a budget. However, you have to make some major assumptions about the future of these wires. If these feeders or wires have far less of a chance of being damaged, the associated costs of repairs and downtime may actually make cost a non-issue.

A similar concept would be purchasing a brand-new car as opposed to a used one. A used one can certainly get you where you need to go, but after repairs and maintenance, you may find that buying a new car is actually the better option in a cost-benefit model.

Safety Concerns

When live wires come down during a storm or an accident, they pose an imminent threat to everyone around. But with underground service, you don’t have to worry about such issues. The only true safety concern is knowing where you can dig. As long as you plan ahead for digging a water feature or trench, underground infrastructure is almost always the safer solution.

Finding a Reputable Contractor for Underground Infrastructure

Even the best planning, budgeting, and management are all for nothing if you don’t have the proper company to do the work.

EPS Engineering not only specializes in underground infrastructure solutions but we have a variety of options available to residential, commercial, and municipal clients.  With many successful projects completed throughout the Bay Area, we can help.

You should place the utmost priority on finding a reputable contractor for underground infrastructure, or you just might find yourself behind on time and light on cash. Make sure that you choose an experienced company with great resources, the right equipment, and knowledgeable workers. Only then can you truly reap the benefits of a switch to underground service feeders?  The EPS Engineering team is here to assist you on your next underground infrastructure project anywhere in the Bay Area.  Contact us to discuss.


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5 Pipelines Commonly Used in Underground Infrastructure

5 Pipelines Commonly Used in Underground Infrastructure

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The benefits of underground infrastructure are well documented, keeping water, sewer, utility, and power lines free from weather and other damage above ground. Yet over time, technology has allowed pipelines to progress into many different forms suited for particular purposes. Whether you’re deciding what pipelines to use for underground infrastructure or you just want to learn more about your options, here are some pipelines commonly used.

1. Cast Iron Pipes

Although many have disappeared from residential construction due to corrosion issues, cast iron pipes are still popular in certain types of construction and infrastructure due to their heat resistance and durability. Most often, these types of pipes are used for the dispersion of rainwater and water runoff. They also have less vibration than other pipes, meaning that you can’t hear water running in residential or commercial construction.

2. Concrete Pipes

Used mainly in sewers and culverts in commercial construction or municipal infrastructure, concrete pipes are some of the most durable pipelines available. With more durability than almost any other type of pipeline, engineers estimate that most concrete pipes will last somewhere between 100 and 150 years. Despite a higher upfront cost, the longevity of these pipes makes them low-cost in the long run while also offering the ability to transport water over long distances.

3. PVC Pipes

In modern residential and commercial construction, few other materials are better for underground infrastructure than PVC pipes. In fact, many home rehabbers replace old clay and cast-iron pipes with PVC because of their flexibility and longevity.

Interestingly, PVC pipes can cost up to 50% less than cast iron pipes, which is considerable savings that builders can put right in their pockets. Plus, PVC pipes have a number of other benefits, including:

  • More consistent flow rates due to a lack of friction
  • Flexible
  • Durable

4. Oil pipelines

The need to move oil quickly from the point of drilling to refineries is integral to cost control and distribution in countries around the globe. However, oil requires certain types of pipelines to avoid leaks and contamination.

Generally speaking, manufacturers fabricate oil pipelines out of steel and then add cathodic protection and both internal and external coatings to the pipe. Again, this prevents any potential contamination to the area around the pipeline while also offering less friction and an improved flow.

5. Slurry Pipeline

Although you won’t see a slurry pipeline outside of industrial usage, these pipelines are integral to the transportation of ore, coal, and other minerals. As the name implies, these materials are mixed with water to create a “slurry,” which then floats freely through a pipeline. The materials have to be dried at the end of the pipeline, but it’s often less expensive than transporting the materials by train or truck.

Always Trust the Professionals

Now that you have a basic idea of pipelines commonly used in underground infrastructure, you can create a budget and timeline to complete your project — at least to some degree. But if you’re still at a loss, put your trust in the professionals.

EPS Engineering in the Bay Area is an experienced underground infrastructure company.  Our team can always provide the insight, talent, and expertise that you need, including the correct choice of pipelines. So put your trust in the best and leave your worries behind. Talk to us when you need an experienced Bay Area underground infrastructure contractor.


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4 Ways to Cut Costs on New Construction

4 Ways to Cut Costs on New Construction

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Whether you’re an individual building a new home, a business breaking ground on a development, or a municipality looking to save, cutting costs on new construction is essential. The good news is that you have several ways to achieve cost savings with just a modicum of effort. To get the project done on or under budget, here are ways to cut costs on new construction.

1. Consider Underground Infrastructure

Overhead infrastructure — such as utility lines, water pipes, and power cables — have historically been built both above and below ground, depending on existing infrastructure, local codes, and building costs.

However, underground infrastructure is the best option if your aim is to save money. While the initial cost is often higher, the total long-term cost is far less than above-ground options. New technology has cut costs significantly and even replacement costs in the future have dropped. Moreover, underground infrastructure is protected from the elements and extreme weather, which can lead to lower repair and maintenance costs over time.

2. Hiring the Right Crew

Another way to cut costs on new construction is by hiring the right company or contractor. However, this doesn’t mean you should accept the lowest bid for new construction. You have to dig a bit deeper than that. Consider the following characteristics and attributes of quality contractors and companies:

  • Making sure the company owns the equipment necessary to get the job done vs. renting it, which can often cost more.
  • Experience in the field. Companies with more experience may charge higher rates, but they can often get the job done in a fraction of the time.
  • Past jobs and reviews. Gathering intel from former customers and reviewing work can give you insight into whether the contractor or crew is the ideal choice for the job.
  • Getting everything in writing. An estimate enables you to see all the work that the company plans to complete, a breakdown of all costs, and a timetable for project completion.

EPS Inc. in San Mateo has been helping residents and businesses for multiple decades.  Whether it’s repairs on an existing structure or new construction, our crew is experienced and we own the largest fleet of underground construction equipment to get the job successfully completed.

3. Off-Season Construction

Although new construction costs have increased drastically since the onset of the global COVID pandemic, construction hasn’t really slowed as a result. But if you can find a lull in the schedule, it’s the perfect time to schedule your new construction.

When new construction hits a lull, most contractors lower their rates as a result. This is an amazing way to find extra savings on a project, even when the costs of labor and materials continue to rise.

4. Reducing Material Costs

The cost of nearly every building material has risen in the past few years. And while cutting costs in this regard may seem fruitless, doing a bit of extra research can cut costs immensely. Precast concrete is always a smart choice for custom sizes and buying materials in bulk or from a wholesaler can save money compared to retail options.

Cutting Costs Isn’t the Same as Going Cheap

While some homeowners and municipalities may cut costs by going with the cheapest available options, weighing the cost of experience vs. low-cost options is important. So, if you want to cut costs on new construction, going in-depth on your research, asking for reviews or recommendations, and letting your contractor get down to business without interference can put your construction on cruise control. What you do with the extra savings is entirely up to you. Our entire team of engineers, technicians, plumbers, and support staff are here to help you on your next project.  Contact us to discuss your plans, we’ll turn them into a reality.


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3 Ways Technology Is Propelling Underground Infrastructure

3 Ways Technology Is Propelling Underground Infrastructure

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Technological advancements are changing the world in almost every industry and even in people’s daily lives. In the construction industry, this is no different, especially with respect to underground infrastructure. Not only is underground infrastructure more sustainable than above-ground options, but it also is becoming less expensive due to technology. If you were considering underground infrastructure for your next building project, here are some ways that technology is making the choice easier than ever.

1. Upgraded Piping Materials

One of the biggest issues plaguing existing underground infrastructure is age. Cement, cast iron, and clay pipes laid decades ago are starting to reach the end of their useful life due to corrosion, cracking, and other issues. And with over half of water mains across the country built from these materials, upgrades are necessary.

Thankfully, the prevalence of PVC pipe has changed the game. This type of pipe is impervious to corrosion while also offering a life span of 100 to 125 years. Once installed, you never have to worry about replacing this part of underground infrastructure for the remainder of your life.

2. Improved Tunneling Techniques

Tunneling techniques have also propelled underground infrastructure to new levels, reducing costs and allowing pipes to fit into areas that were once thought impossible. Perhaps even more interesting is that these techniques limit damage to the surrounding area or above ground. Where old technology might have caused sinkholes or structural issues, modern tunneling techniques provide a low-risk option for laying water and utility pipes beneath the surface of the soil.

3. AI and Sensors Create Underground Maps

Another major issue that has proved an issue in the past is creating tunnels and pathways to properly accommodate underground pipes and utilities. Improper digging or digging unnecessarily caused over $30 billion in damages in 2021 alone. Moreover, another issue isn’t exactly a lack of places to put pipes, but rather, how to do it without interrupting traffic or damaging plant life or other above-ground infrastructure.

Fortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors have made this process that much easier. Israeli-based company Exodigo is at the forefront of this technology. Using a system based on AI and sensors that can reach up to 10 meters below ground, Exodigo can create a map of the underground infrastructure. The map is then superimposed over a satellite image of the above-ground infrastructure to determine the feasibility of a particular project.

These sensors also bring non-invasive technology, using drones to map the area while also “seeing” below the surface. While the technology is still in its relative infancy, it could become a game-changer in the future of the industry.

EPS Engineering in the Bay Area is relied upon by residents, businesses, and municipalities to complete the most complex underground infrastructure projects.  For multiple decades, we’ve served our community, our references speak for themselves.

While underground infrastructure may still remain a bit more expensive than outdated alternatives, the gap in costs continues to close. So, whether you’re a prospective homeowner, a project manager, or part of local government, considering underground infrastructure is a step in the right direction. Just make sure you contact us and schedule a consultation to discuss your upcoming project.

With EPS Engineering, you’ll have infrastructure that’s longer-lasting and with fewer complications than other alternatives.


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How Underground Infrastructure Is Leading to Sustainability

How Underground Infrastructure Is Leading to Sustainability

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If you’ve ever been to an underdeveloped country, you may have seen the horrors of above-ground infrastructure. Wires hang haphazardly above crowded city streets, seemingly ready to start a catastrophe should they fall or be hit by bad weather.

But in the U.S., rules and regulations provide a basis for safety and how to do jobs correctly. The major difference here isn’t with safety; it has to do with space and sustainability. As urban and suburban areas continue to grow, issues with sustainability continuously mount. And that’s what underground infrastructure aims to solve. By putting pipes, wires, and utilities underground, municipalities, business owners, and even homeowners are lending a hand in responsible planning and sustainability.

Why Is Sustainable Infrastructure Important?

At the onset of rapid industrialization around the beginning of the 20th century, not much was known about the effects of urban planning or pollution. Factories were built next to housing and little was done to ensure that the factory wasn’t polluting water or poisoning the local populace.

Fast-forward over a century later, and everything humanity has discovered about air pollution, noise pollution, overcrowding, and even green areas has created a desire for sustainability. As the population continues to grow and people continue to build, sustainable infrastructure, and in particular underground infrastructure becomes vital.

Why Many Municipalities Are Turning to Underground Infrastructure

Despite major advancements in underground infrastructure and construction, many municipalities have widely ignored it. Why? Simply due to budgetary constraints and the urge to save money.

But over time, above-ground infrastructure starts to create problems. It fails due to severe weather, creates traffic disruptions, and leads to noise and possibly air pollution problems.

Yet as public opinion changes, so do cities’ desire to weigh the cost vs. benefit of underground infrastructure. By putting wires and pipes underground, the “out of sight, out of mind” idea couples with more effective ways to improve quality of living.

What once was thought unbuildable due to money is now being replaced with the thought of city beautification and a more aesthetically pleasing place to live. And with fewer repairs necessary as underground infrastructure ages, it’s more sustainable in the long run in terms of feasibility and cost.

And in many communities, perhaps the final hurdle has been cleared. Many politicians and planners have started to create sustainable development goals, or SDGs, that include underground infrastructure. Due to this level of planning, underground infrastructure becomes part of a greater plan to sustainability, which in turn, leads to more opportunities to apply it.

Underground Infrastructure Is Only as Good as the Contractor You Hire

Underground infrastructure undeniably is leading to sustainability, but as a business owner, homeowner, or project manager, infrastructure is only as good as the company you hire. And that’s why you should contact EPS Engineering as your professional firm.  With on-the-job experience, the equipment necessary to get the job done, and a professional staff, our underground infrastructure team is the best way to get the work done on time and under budget.

Do you have a project planned? or want to discuss future plans?  Give Nick Bechwati a call to discuss our firm’s portfolio and learn more about what’s possible.


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New Construction Engineering

New Construction Engineering

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As the housing market continues to boom, new construction engineering becomes essential to both developers and homeowners. Both residential and commercial projects can benefit from excellent planning and implementation of such engineering, especially with respect to underground infrastructure and utilities. Whether you’re building a new home, are a business owner expanding to new locations, or a municipality in charge with regulating construction, underground engineering is vital to the success of the project and continued functionality for years to come.

Why Underground Infrastructure Is Integral to Success

Subterranean infrastructure provides a number of benefits that can’t be achieved through above-ground options. However, choosing to use underground infrastructure is a decision that developers and local governments must make prior to breaking ground. As such, all involved parties should understand the advantages of underground infrastructure to make an educated decision on why it’s the better option.

Less Expensive Over Time

Though the initial cost is often more expensive, the results provide cost savings over a period of time. The construction of above-ground utilities and infrastructure can often cause disruption to local roads and commerce. Moreover, the risk of damage to existing utilities can also pose a threat that increases expenses.

Less Maintenance

With the latest trenchless technology tools and equipment, building underground infrastructure is less invasive than ever. Not only is it a less time-consuming option, but the chance of extraneous costs and future maintenance is diminished.

EPS dba Express Plumbing specializes in underground construction engineering and plumbing.  We have worked with municipalities, developers, homeowners and business owners to ensure their projects are meticulously completed to their satisfaction.

Working With the Right Company

Experienced engineering firms with dozens of underground infrastructure projects know exactly what needs to be done to achieve success. That’s why developers and municipalities rely on our crew’s expertise to get the job done right the first time around.  No project is too big or too small for us to handle in the Bay Area.

We work closely with architectural engineers, contractors, and local government to lay the groundwork for a successful project. This means that detailed plans are drawn up far before the project gets started.

Through this planning, our engineering team can identify any potential pitfalls while also streamlining the project. This not only ensures on-time delivery of the new construction, but also eliminates the incidence of issues that can put the project over budget.

The Hallmarks of a Great Engineering Company

Reputation and experience should always play roles in selecting an underground engineering company for new construction. Yet the selection of a quality company goes beyond this. Not only should the company have experience, but also the workers, ranging from project managers all the way to laborers.

In addition, the company should also have the fleet of advanced equipment necessary to complete the project.  Add all of these attributes together, and you’ll have both a company you trust and a partner that’s as interested in completing the project on time as you are.

Why You Should Choose an Experienced Civil Engineering Firm

While the construction market is often inundated with cheap labor and contractors providing low-ball bids, developers, homeowners, and municipalities should be wary of such companies for complex underground engineering projects.

Before you choose a company to complete the work, weigh experience, equipment, and personnel against price. With a reputable, licensed, and experienced underground contractor, the higher initial cost will actually lead to a lower overall cost in terms of upkeep and maintenance. That’s a trade-off that’s well worth the price. If you have a project in the horizon you’d like to discuss, give us a call or contact Nick Bechwati to discuss the details.


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Why Your Dream Home Needs Proper Underground Infrastructure

Why Your Dream Home Needs Proper Underground Infrastructure

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Cookie-cutter homes have been popular throughout the United States for over 70 years. For developers, creating the same home over and over again was a cost-cutting measure, especially for consumers that were more worried about leaving the city than residential architecture.

But tastes and times have changed. While a generic home used to be popular among homebuyers, the desire for something that’s unique and custom-built often trumps the idea of merely buying a home. So if you’ve ever dreamed of building your dream home, you aren’t alone. And while picking the right spot and choosing the right plans are integral, don’t forget about one often overlooked aspect: underground infrastructure.

Why Underground Infrastructure Matters

You probably don’t think about underground infrastructure when you flick a light switch, flush your toilet, or turn on the sink. But all of this revolves around your underground infrastructure. By building these subterranean lines, you avoid the unsightly wires that plague above-ground infrastructure.

So unless you want a jungle of wires connected to your house, underground infrastructure is essential. Plus, there’s nothing worse about building your dream home than having it draped in wires and ruining the ambiance and aesthetic of the property you’ve worked so hard to create.

How to Assess a Lot for Proper Underground Infrastructure

One you’ve found a lot that appeals to you, assessing it for proper underground infrastructure installation is ideal. Soil and the water table are two crucial aspects of the inspection. If the water table is too high, you risk constant flooding, as well as possible damage to your underground pipes.

The type and hardness of the soil are also of the utmost concern. The ground has to be sturdy enough to support the home, but it also must be soft enough that digging out the soil for the foundation and underground infrastructure is attainable. As a result, make sure to hire a contractor with the ability to assess the soil before you buy.

Choosing the Right Contractor for Your Underground Infrastructure

Now that you have the lot, the blueprints, and the permits, the next step is to find the right contractor for the job. Unfortunately, not all contractors are created equal. You need to find one that has:

  • The right equipment for the job, whether they own it or can reasonably rent it
  • The most experience possible
  • A staff or team with a proven track record and expertise in the field

EPS Engineering a division of Express Plumbing is your underground infrastructure contractor in the Bay Area.  Equipped and staffed to handle any size project from blueprint to reality. 

In many cases, the lot you choose will have easy hookups to water, electric, and waste. But if you decide to build in a rural area or something further away from neighborhoods and people, underground infrastructure becomes an essential part of your plans for a dream home.

So, before you buy or build, make sure you partner with us in order to assess the feasibility and costs of the project. The success, budget, and your love of the home all depends on it.

To discuss future or upcoming projects, or to learn more, contact our owner Nick Bechwati directly.  We are a hands-on company, he is involved in every aspect of project planning to long after the project is done.

We will support you as you turn your dream into a reality, consider us your civil engineering partner in the Bay Area.


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Signs You May Need to Replace Your Water Main

Signs You May Need to Replace Your Water Main

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Your water main and plumbing system are the hidden lifeblood of your home. Without them, you’re in for a debacle of epic proportions. However, many people ignore some of the issues with a faulty water main based almost solely on the cost involved. However, catching some of the early signs that you may need maintenance can actually save you money. So if you’re wondering whether your water main or water line needs replacement, look out for these telltale signs.

Constant Running Water

One of the biggest signs that you may need to replace or fix your water main is when you constantly hear the sound of running water in your home. If you live in a purchased condo, townhome, or apartment, this may not affect you. But if you own a single-family home, keep an ear out for constant running water. Additionally, any banging or whistling sounds can also be the result of a faulty water main.

Low Water Pressure

From time to time, your home may have low water pressure. This can be due to a number of reasons, but if it persists, it could be a sign of a broken water main. In particular, if the water pressure gets worse over time, your water main could be the culprit.

Damp Spots

Some damp spots in a house are inevitable. Perhaps you live in an area with high humidity. However, persistent damp spots in the same area could mean that your water main isn’t draining out to the main sewer or water line. Unless you spilled water or you have a leak in the roof, you may want to consider an inspection regarding your constantly damp or wet areas.

Sky-High Water Bills

When you own a home for a while, you get a basic idea of how much you should pay for water. While certain times of the year may necessitate a higher water bill, such as when you’re watering your lawn or having the kids run through the sprinkler, higher water bills aren’t necessarily something you should just accept.

When your water bill continually rises or goes to new heights, chances are that something is wrong with your water main. The only sensible thing to do is to hire a professional to inspect everything and find out what’s wrong with your plumbing system.

Water on the Street

One of the biggest problems with identifying a water main problem is that the issue may not exist within your home. Sometimes, the telltale sign is outside of the home. Ruptured water main pipes may actually push water to the surface either through your lawn or out onto the nearby street. If you notice excessive amounts of water and you’re not sure where they’re from, your water main may need an inspection.

A water main or water line replacement, while expensive, isn’t something you should put to the side. If you wait too long, you could end up paying hundreds or thousands of extra dollars. So, if you see any of the signs of a faulty line, don’t wait. Call our professionals at EPS-Engineering today to take care of the issue and leave your plumbing situation in good hands.

EPS-Engineering a division of Express Plumbing serves the Bay Area by providing civil engineering, plumbing and underground construction.  We serve commercial, municipal and residential clients throughout the Bay.  We are experienced and equipped to handle any size job above or below ground.  Give us a call today.


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Who Is Responsible for the Main Sewer Line?

Who Is Responsible for the Main Sewer Line?

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Buried underground, your sewer line plays a vital role in your home. However, few notice the inconspicuous sewer line until it comes under duress or fails entirely. And that’s when homeowners hit the panic button. If a sewer line bursts or backs up, it’s certainly a cause for concern. But before you decide to call the insurance company or gather estimates, you should know when the repairs are your responsibility or the city’s responsibility. Here’s what you should know.

What Are Sewer Lines?

An upper lateral sewer line is an underground pipe that carries waste and wastewater from your home to the edge of your property line. Here it meets the lower lateral sewer line which feeds the wastewater to the public sewer.

When Are Homeowners Responsible for the Main Sewer Line?

Almost every type of damage to a sewer lateral is the responsibility of the homeowner. This includes both the upper and lower lateral, even if it goes beyond your property. In some cases, the lower lateral may be the responsibility of the city, but this is rare. More times than not, the homeowner is on the hook.

Sewer laterals most often fail or burst due to age, tree roots, or the material they’re constructed from. In particular, old clay pipes are especially perceptible to damage, as they’re far more brittle than modern PVC pipes. In other cases, a blockage or a pipe handling both sewer and storm drainage can, also known as a combined sewer, can cause the sewer lateral to become overloaded, backing up into your home.

Fortunately, most homeowners’ insurance policies cover damage to the sewer lateral. However, these policies can be costly and you may have to pay a hefty deductible before the contractor breaks ground.

At EPS Engineering we specialize in underground sewer.  Our team of San Mateo Plumbers and engineers can help you assess the situation in order to move forward with the most affordable and feasible solution.

When Is the City Responsible for the Main Sewer Line?

While some cities may fix the lower lateral sewer line, a majority of municipalities only repair the main sewer line. To determine who’s responsible, the city may have to send out workers to assess the damage. Once they dig, they can find out who has to pay for the repairs and they may even provide you with a formal letter notifying you that you must fix the sewer main.

No Matter Who Is Responsible, an Experience Contractor Is a Necessity

Regardless of who has to repair the damaged sewer line, hiring the right contractor is tantamount to success and preventing backups or other damage from happening in the future. A company that has the right equipment, expertise, and staff is integral to the success of the project.

Moreover, completing the repairs with minimal interruption to traffic or the ground above is essential. If you can find a reputable company that uses trenchless technology, both municipalities and homeowners can mitigate the amount of money and time needed to repair roads, lawns, or landscape above ground. So rather than pay a high deductible or let the insurance company sort out your contractor, do your due diligence and give us a call.  Your home and your wallet will thank you with our team of San Mateo sewer experts.


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