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Plumbing in the Home/Exterior pipe repair and replacement


This question is about diagnosing and repairing what seems to be a broken pipe draining from a downspout through a french drain, all outside my house.  To test the drainage efficacy three weeks ago, I ran a hose down the pipe for an hour on a dry day in Pittsburgh, PA.  No water appeared to reach the street, which is where the other three french drain's pipes on the property still empty.

However, in an eroded puddle-prone (when it rains) pit area, a small, about 1 quart of water bubbled to the surface during this test.  This pit area is not directly next to the foundation; rather it is about 4 feet away at the edge closest to the foundation.

An excavating contractor recommended the blue colored SRD (or S&D) pipe, the local township engineer and a plumber recommended non-flexible PVC, and another contractor recommended the black corrugated flexible type pipe for repair.  Currently the black corrugated type is what exists underground and is assumed to be broken and/or clogged.

The plumber thinks it is 99% certainly broken, not clogged.  The area has not been camera inspected.

Please, I would appreciate your opinion on the best way to diagnose this problem, whether you also think it is definitely broken (not clogged),and which pipe type would be best for repair.  There are two 20 year old trees that could fall on the area in the near future.  Lastly, the pipe itself is likely 20 years old.

Thank you in advance for your help with my project.  I am trying to use the best pipe for the dollar as I have limited money to repair this.


Hello Sharon,
Please excuse the late response as I didn't see the  question in the list.
Based on you description, I would have to agree with your plumber. If water is surfacing than it is more than likely  a broken or collapsed pipe. A camera would tell the story  but if it has been a problem for a long time than it's probably plugged as well. If it were my house, I would use schedule 40 rigid PVC pipe for the repair. The same pipe used for sanitary drains. It's thicker walled and very smooth inside. Corrugated pipe will catch debris and S & D is prone to squashing if not install properly and deep enough. Also, the rigid PVC does not deform if driven over if buried only a few feet down and it the best for keeping roots from penetrating in and causing problems in the future.

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Jay Nicholas


Plumbing & Heating (warm air, hot water & steam heat)


40 years in the business, 40 years as a lic. master plumber in NY State. Retired

Graduated Magna cum laude at the School of Hard Knocks

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Commercial, residential and light industrial. You name it ...I have probably worked on it

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