ORANGEBURG SEWERS IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Northern Virginia homes have all sorts of different types of pipes that were used to help dispose of their daily waste in a sanitary manner. Various pipes are actually an indicator of sort of what decade your home was built in. For example, if your home is older than 10 years old and has all PVC pipe, that usually is an indicator that your home was built in some cases in the late 80’s, mostly 90’s. If your home has all cast-iron underground and is older than 10 years old, which is usually an indicator that the home was built mid to late 60’s, mostly 70’s to the mid 80’s.
When it comes to homes that have their main waste line made of Orangeburg Pipe, that is usually an indicator that the home was built most likely between 1945 and 1965. This particular type of pipe was typically installed from the front of the house up to the street curb. However that is not the case for all homes built in those years. It has been seen in certain areas of Northern Virginia where the Orangeburg may start under the house near the main vent stack and continue all the way to the middle of the strait.
To keep things simple, Orangeburg was typically installed from the house to the curb by the street. Orangeburg should not be repaired. Once you find out you have it, you get rid of all of it.
Typical signs of an Orangeburg pipe gone bad are:
- Frequent and repetitive clogs of the main sanitary sewer line.
- Indentations in the front yard that line up with where the sanitary sewer should be.
- You notice your neighbors excavating their front yards. If your neighbor has Orangeburg, most likely so do you.
The best way to find out if you have Orangeburg pipe is to conduct a pipe video inspection of your sanitary sewer. This inspection will inform you whether you do have Orangeburg pipe, where it is located and what kind of condition the pipe is in.
Here are some more fun facts about Orangeburg Pipes:
The first known use of fiber pipe was in an experimental water delivery pipe in the Boston area. The pipeline, finished in 1867, measured 1.5 miles in length and was in use through 1927. Bituminized pipe was not in widespread commercial use until the late 19th century when it was utilized exclusively as electrical conduit.
In 1893, Stephen Bradley, Sr. founded the Fiber Conduit Company in Orangeburg, New York. Bradley’s neighboring Union Electric Company electric power plants used exhaust steam from their steam generators to dry the fiber conduit before they were sealed with pitch. In turn, the Fiber Conduit Company’s conduits were used to run electrical wiring throughout numerous newly-constructed buildings across the country for the next forty years. Bradley, along with several competitors, laid miles of the fiber electrical conduit in sky-scrapers, such as the Empire State Building.
The early 1900s brought massive expansion of the telephone, telegraph and electrical industries along with subway construction along the eastern seaboard. This expansion in the usage of electrical and telecommunications wiring brought with it a rising demand for fiber conduit, which was being used to contain this wiring within buildings, as well as in subway tunnels. In addition, fiber conduit was increasingly being used to create underground ducting for distributing wires under streets and roads, as well as along railroads.
Fiber was next adopted by the booming oil industry to pump salt waste-water from drilling sites to treatment and disposal areas. This industrial use quickly yielded the insight that while long-lived and incredibly durable in normal draining operations, bituminized fiber easily ruptured under pressure. During this trial usage by the oil industry, the fiber conduit pipe tested was called “Alkacid” by the Fiber Conduit Co. of Orangeburg, New York. Owing to the aforementioned issues with pressurized usage, the oil industry soon stopped using the fiber “Alkacid” pipe and started using cement – asbestos pipe.
While a variety of companies competed with Fiber Conduit Company, it was by far and away the largest producer of bituminized fiber conduit piping throughout the early 20th century and demand for fiber conduit only increased during World War II with the need for electrical conduit for use in new airfields and military bases. In 1948, the name of the Fiber Conduit Company was changed to the Orangeburg Manufacturing Company. As World War II ended and gave rise to the post-war housing boom, the demand for cheap housing materials was at an all-time high and available drainage materials were scarce. Orangeburg Manufacturing produced a thicker-walled, sturdier, round version of fiber conduit, selling it as “Orangeburg pipe” for sewer and drain uses.