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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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Pipe Bursting

Pipe Bursting is a trenchless method of sewer construction. It is an alternative to the Open Trench Excavation method that allows for replacing or upsizing an existing pipe without the need for a traditional construction trench. Crews dig a sending pit and a receiving pit to install a new sewer pipe. Crews insert a bursting tool into the existing sewer line. The bursting tool breaks the old pipe apart and pulls the new pipe into place behind it.

The work involves the following steps:

  • Dig small trenches to expose existing lateral connections where adjacent properties are connected to the mainline public sewer
  • Disconnect existing laterals from the mainline public sewer pipe to be repaired and provide a temporary connection to maintain sewer service
  • Cover the trenches with steel plates and proceed with the pipe bursting process
  • Dig a sending and a receiving pit to the required depth
  • Insert a bursting tool into the sending pit and connect the new sewer pipe to the bursting tool
  • Pull or push the bursting tool through the existing mainline sewer pipe, breaking it apart, while simultaneously pulling the new sewer pipe in place
  • Connect existing laterals to the new mainline sewer pipe
  • Cover open pits with steel plates—or secure the pits with fencing—at the end of each day as needed while work is in progress
  • Backfill pits with sand or gravel and apply temporary asphalt patches
  • Conduct quality control inspections
  • Complete permanent pavement restoration of patched pits after work passes inspection