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Common Questions About Underground Pipes

Common Questions About Underground Pipes

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Whether you’re building a new property, find underground piping inadvertently on your lawn, or you need to find the source of the problem, you may have several questions about underground piping. Here are some of the answers to the most commonly asked questions. 

What Are the Different Types of Underground Piping?

Underground piping systems use a variety of materials for effective operations. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride) pipes are two common options. Both are types of welded, plastic polymer pipes used for plumbing in both residential and commercial applications. These pipes are highly resilient and also have resistance to temperature changes, different soil conditions, and corrosion. In most instances, PVC and CPVC pipes have replaced outdated options such as clay or cast iron.

Another underground pipe material is copper. Used since the inception of underground piping, copper pipes are naturally corrosion-resistant and durable, making them an excellent option for all types of underground applications.

PEX piping is yet another type of underground piping, but even some plumbers and companies aren’t aware it’s approved for such usage. Although most often used in interior construction, this flexible plastic tubing can be used under concrete slabs and other similar types of construction.

EPS Inc. is a division of Express Plumbing that focuses on underground construction and engineering.  The two sectors of our company work hand in hand to ensure all your plumbing and engineering issues are handled by one company from start to finish.  This level of organization and expertise ensures your project, no matter how big, small or complicated is handled correctly and quickly.

What Is the Depth of Water Pipes?

The depth of your irrigation or residential piping will vary depending on the area you’re in. No matter the type of piping, it should be trenched or buried 12 inches underneath the frost line that is recorded in your area. This often translates to a distance of 5 to 6 feet. In areas without frost, the depth can be less, but a similar distance is often used for the sake of safety.

While the levels of depth changes on what zoning the area has previously made mandatory, the 12’ inch rule is generally used around much of the United States. Depth level of pipes can be affected by more than frost and weather conditions. If there is heavy traffic over the area where the piping is, the depth levels will go deeper to about 24’ inches below the frost level. Again, this all changes based on the diameter and size of the pipe, as well as the zoning in different areas.

How Deep Do Sewer Pipes Go?

Depths of sewer piping is very similar to water piping, but there are some changes in depth that vary due to weather. Since sewer pipes are carrying a liquid, they must be deep enough into the ground that the pipe itself will not freeze and possibly burst.

Depth levels in warmer climates or on private property are typically around 12 to 30 inches deep. But in some colder climates, the pipes will go as much as 6 feet into the ground. In areas prone to hurricanes or frequent, intense storms, sewage pipes are often buried deeper so they aren’t disturbed if the topsoil is removed.

How Far are Underground Pipes Maintained?

The maintenance of underground piping is just as important as the laying of the pipe. If the maintenance of piping is poor it could lead to bursting pipes, corrosion, and other hazards.

Three main steps can be taken to ensure good maintenance of piping. The first is annual inspections of all types of piping. This can be done by any certified company, as well as local government inspections in certain municipalities. Inspectors will use equipment to test various attributes of the pipes, such as metal corrosion and build-up of restrictions inside the piping

Simple repairs will need to be made on a somewhat regular basis to ensure the continued performance of underground piping. This may include the replacement of a small section of piping or other minor maintenance.

Finally, marking the locations of dig sights and getting approval of future digging to eliminate the chance of breaking a pipe are mandatory. This requires an agreement or cooperation between companies, individuals, and the local government, but is necessary to maintain the integrity and usage of underground piping systems.

All Your Underground Piping Questions Solved

Whether you’re breaking ground on a new property or you’re just interested in underground piping, these answers should quench your curiosity. But don’t forget about the final part of the puzzle: a reputable underground infrastructure crew.

Give our team of experienced civil engineers, plumbers, and technicians a call.  We are here to support the above-ground and underground pipes in the Bay Area with our fleet of equipment and expertise.


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How Municipal Projects Continue During COVID-19

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Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter the personal and professional lives of people around the globe, many individuals continue to work on essential jobs. One of the jobs that continue as scheduled deals with municipal sewer and pipe projects. These particular projects are vital during the COVID-19 pandemic as the strain to existing infrastructure increases and more people are forced to stay at home.

Yet despite this heightened demand, workers continue to tackle projects for the convenience and betterment of citizens. Here is how our professionals brave conditions to bring people the sewer and water services they need.

Basic Safety Protocols and Precautions

Although some contractors and builders have deemed their businesses nonessential, municipal projects are an integral service. That’s why many jurisdictions are continuing their projects as scheduled. Even as these water and sewer projects continue, companies, governments, and contractors are putting specific safety protocols and precautions on work.

EPS Engineering considers safety a top priority for both our employees and the community. We follow all guidelines by the CDC and have protocols in place to continue serving our community safely.

On March 25, 2020, the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC)—a group of 25 trade associations—released safety guidelines to protect employees and workers as they continued to fix or install sewer and water lines. In addition to masks and other personal protective equipment, the protocols also outline other tips, including:

  • Disinfecting and cleaning surfaces.
  • Work practices to ensure cleanliness and minimize the spread of disease.
  • How to handle potential illnesses on the job site.
  • Social distancing

Using these guidelines, municipal job sites can remain secure and free from the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Constant Assessment of Job Sites

To secure the job site, foremen and supervisors should constantly assess job sites. Not only should this include a thorough daily inspection of the site, but also making sure that workers follow the guidelines laid out by the CISC.

Social distancing should also be enforced throughout the workday, and discussions or disciplinary action handed out to workers who disobey these rules.

How COVID-19 Is Affecting Municipal Projects

Despite some companies continuing their projects and efforts during COVID-19, certain aspects of the business continue to suffer. According to one survey of the Associated General Contractors of America, 28% of companies reported that the government or a local agency had prevented them from bidding on or completing work. In addition, 22% discussed the lack of material because of a supplier cancellation, as well as up to 20% of projects cancelled or delayed for at least 30 days.

The long-term effects on municipal projects may not be recognized until after these stay-at-home directives are lifted. But our technicians, engineers, and plumbers continue to follow strict safety guidelines to ensure that our local community has the services they need.

Although “essential” is a loose definition, our workers and company repairs and builds sewer and water infrastructure and we continue to improve the lives of others during this time of uncertainty.

Our essential services are what continue to make this time less difficult, while also ensuring the integrity of infrastructure for the foreseeable future.

From our entire team at EPS Inc. We are here for our Bay Area community and remind everyone to keep hope alive as we navigate through this pandemic.


EPS, Inc. is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for our employees and customers. Read More

Express Plumbing
307 N. Amphlett Blvd San Mateo, CA 94401
Phone: (800) 246-6425 $246 - $6425
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