What Is Pipe Bursting Technology?


What Is Pipe Bursting?

Pipe bursting is a trenchless sewer repair method that involves breaking and expanding the existing buried sewer line while simultaneously replacing it with new high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes.

Pipe bursting does not require the use of added chemicals or other contaminants. Coupled with the long lifespan of the environmentally-safe HDPE pipe, pipe bursting is considered to be a very sustainable sewer replacement method.

What Equipment Is Used for a Pipe Bursting Sewer Line Replacement?

Pipe bursting is accomplished by pulling an expander head (also known as a “bursting head” or a “bullet”) through the old pipe. The head is small enough to fit through the existing pipe, and it fractures the existing pipe as it is pulled through.

The back of the head is connected to new pipe, which it drags and places behind it.

A pulling machine is used to apply force. Power is supplied by a hydraulic system that is connected to pulling rods, which is in turn attached to the expander head. The pulling machine is lowered into the receiving pit, and the head begins its journey in the launching or insertion pit.

How Much Does Pipe Bursting Cost?


The cost for pipe bursting sewer replacement services will depend on your situation. These are the main cost factors you will have to contend with:

  • The depth of the existing pipe
  • The length of the pipe
  • The amount of damage
  • Where the sewer lateral is located on the property
  • Nearby structures built into the foundation of the property (such as garages, sheds, in-law units)
  • The number of other underground utilities nearby the line
  • The number of branch connections
  • Number of off-set joints or sinkholes
  • The slope of the pipe (and whether it needs to be adjusted)
  • If the neighboring property is connected to your line
  • The type of materials needed for your project
  • Traffic control, parking permits and other factors to do with working in the public right of way
  • The surface restoration factors (such as higher end flagstone, tiles, and plush gardens with complex irrigation systems)

Pipe bursting cost can be roughly estimated by multiplying the number of feet of pipe by the going rate, which can be anywhere from $60 to $200 per foot. The resulting bill could cost between $4,500 to $20,000 depending on your situation.

What Are the Advantages of the Pipe Bursting Method?

Pipe bursting is cleaner and more sanitary than conventional sewer repair methods. Pipe bursting will not disrupt the surface environment.  Concrete, landscaping, or other surface structures will not be disturbed when pipe bursting is taking place below. 

Advantages of pipe bursting technology:

  • Pipe bursting method can be used with wide variety of internal pipe diameters 
  • Pipe bursting can be used at pull lengths of over 300m (1,000ft)
  • Virtually all common pipe materials can be replaced using bursting technology – with the exception of HPDE pipe material
  • Pipe bursting technology can be used regardless of the condition of existing pipe
  • Pipe bursting allows you to increase the diameter of the pipe for improved flow

Pipe Bursting Experts in Oakland and the East Bay

Since 1998, Pipe Spy has been delivering exceptional plumbing solutions tailored to meet your needs. Our specialized knowledge and expertise ensure that you receive the highest quality service and results. Experience the difference with our dedicated team. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you with your plumbing needs.