The Cost to Repair or Replace a Sewer Line

Candace Nelson
Written by Candace Nelson
Reviewed by Jeff Botelho
Updated February 17, 2022
gloved hands holding pipe cutter against pipe
Photo: NIKCOA / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Sewer line replacement costs between $50 and $250 per foot.

  • Costs will vary depending on pipe material, the distance to your house, and the extent of the damage.

  • Don’t forget to budget yard repair into your final price.

  • Sewer line repair can be complicated and messy to take on by yourself.

  • It’s possible to call 811 and dig the trench yourself to save some money.

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While it’s not exactly the most glamorous home improvement project, repairing or replacing your sewer line is a top-priority fix. Left untreated, sewage can back up in the basement or the yard, and we probably don’t need to tell you why you’d want to avoid that. Thankfully, once a local sewer line repair pro takes care of the problem, it should be set for decades, and you can get back to working on the home projects you love.  If this is your first time taking on a sewer line replacement project, it’s important to know all of the costs involved.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Sewer Line per Foot?

The main factor that determines your sewer line replacement cost is the length of the line needed. Sewer line replacement costs between $50 and $250 per foot, with most people paying between $50 and $125 per foot depending on their location.

The type of pipe you have and the one you want to install will also impact the price. New pipes are usually plastic (PVC or ABS) or cast iron. 

Plastic pipes are the most common type today. They are low-cost and can be replaced in sections, but can break under high pressure from shifting soil, heavy or frequent traffic above, or freezing temperatures. Cast iron pipes are more durable and resist pressure, but they are at least double the price of plastic and it’s difficult to repair small segments.

A plumber near you will be able to help determine the best material for your project.

Sewer Line Replacement Cost Breakdown

Sewer line repair costs will vary based on materials and the extent of damage.

  • Material: Copper pipes cost at least twice as much as plastic.

  • Distance: Pipe and access needs to run from the house to the city hookup.

  • Location of the pipe: Access under a driveway or behind a concrete wall can add up.

  • Yard repair: Include the cost of repairing the driveway or lawn, if needed.

  • Type of fix: Pipe replacement costs much less than a sewer trap replacement.

  • Extent of the damage: Some pipes can be reinforced with a trenchless liner. Some problems can be fixed in small sections, while other problems might require a full replacement.

Typically a sewer line repair or replacement starts with a video inspection, where a camera is sent down the line to look for breaks or clogs. That service and many other factors will help give you an accurate sewer line cost.  

  • Video inspection: $100–$500.

  • Pipe replacement: $50–$450 per linear foot.

  • Sewer trap replacement: $100 for parts plus $45–$200 per hour on average for a professional plumber. This part prevents gases and small critters from getting into your house.

  • Ground excavation: $30–$70 per cubic yard to clear the ground to expose the pipes and replace the dirt.

  • Haul away old pipe: $250 on average.

  • Yard repair: Cost will vary depending on the project, including repairing a driveway or resodding a lawn.

Sewer Line Trench Costs per Foot

Keep in mind, the distance from the house to the connection point is one of the biggest price factors when it comes to sewer line repair or replacement. Sewer line trenching costs between $3,000 and $7,000 on average but can go as high as $25,000. Expect to pay $4 to $12 per foot to dig the trench.

The price goes up if the sewer line is under a driveway or concrete patio that pros will need to tear up to access the line. Trenching under a structure like a concrete patio can cost $150 to $200 per square foot.

Average Cost for Sewer Line Replacement in Your Area

The cost of repairing a sewer line can vary based on location. If you live in a colder climate, the lines have to be buried below the frost line, which can add to the price. Here is a look at the average price of sewer line repair in 10 cities.

  • New York: $1,280–$3,745

  • Houston: $1,370–$5,000

  • Chicago: $1,500–$3,700

  • Boston: $2,000–$4,400

  • Atlanta: $600–$2,300

  • Cincinnati: $2,500–$6,400

  • Los Angeles: $1,400–$6,200

  • Dallas: $1,900–$5,100

  • Pittsburgh: $800–$4,100

  • Minneapolis: $1,800–$6,000

How Much Do Sewer Line Repairs Cost by Type?

The type of repair and the extent of damage will factor into the price of the sewer main repair.

Basement Sewer Line Replacement

Basement sewer line replacement can cost hundreds of dollars in labor if the job requires cutting through concrete to access the pipes. 

Trenchless Sewer Line Repair or Replacement

Not all repairs lend themselves to a trenchless sewer line repair, but if yours does, you can save a lot of your yard. Trenchless sewer line replacement typically costs $60 to $250 per foot.

Cured-In-Place Sewer Line Replacement

The plumber pulls a liner through the pipes, essentially creating a newer, slightly smaller one inside the cracked pipe. The resin cures in place, and the reinforcement to the existing pipe can last 50 years. This form of trenchless sewer line repair costs $80 to $250 per foot.

Pipe Bursting Trenchless Sewer Line Replacement

This technique sends a device down the line to burst the brittle old pipe into little pieces in the ground. Meanwhile, a new pipe is attached and gets pulled through as the device clears the way. This costs $60 to $200 per foot.

Cost to Repair Sewer Main Line

The sewer main line is the wastewater line from your house to the city connection. The cost of a sewer main averages $2,600. The opposite is a water main that brings fresh water to your home.

Cost to Remove Tree Roots in Sewer Line

If your camera diagnosis shows that tree roots are the problem, expect to pay $100 to $600 to remove tree roots from the sewer line. If the roots damaged the pipe itself, though, the pipes will have to be repaired or replaced. You might be able to remove tree roots from the sewer line without digging a trench—at least temporarily.

Cost to Replace Cracked Pipes

The average price of repairing just a section of cracked sewer main pipe is $1,050. This will vary by the type of pipe, where it is, and the extent of repairs.

Cost to Fix a Collapsed Sewer Line

Ground settling, frequent traffic over the pipe, or heavy construction vehicles can cause a pipe to collapse. The cost to repair is between $50 and $250 per foot

an arm holds opening a square sewer opening for a home
Photo: Piman Khrutmuang / Adobe Stock

What Will It Cost Me to Repair My Own Sewer Line?

Sewer line repair can be complicated and messy to take on by yourself. You’ll also have to work with the city to hook up to the shared line that takes waste to the treatment plant. With all that in mind, this complex job is best left to a professional. You might be able to dig the trench yourself to save some money, though. 

Before you grab a shovel: 

  • Call 811 or your relevant local number to get someone to mark any utility lines on your property. It might take a couple of days for someone to come, so plan ahead.

  • Be sure you know exactly where the line or the section is that you need to replace.

  • Check with your city for any connection requirements and a permit (Price will vary, but expect to pay about $200).

The sewer line is buried up to 8 feet deep, so digging the trench can be taxing, but once you know where to dig and have the necessary permission, the only thing you need is a $30 shovel and some time. 

"Most importantly, you must make sure the drain is pitched properly and in the right direction. And before you cut the sewer line, make sure you are using the proper tools to do so,” says Jeff Botelho, Angi Expert Review Board member and Massachusetts-licensed journeyman plumber. “Some older lines are made from fragile materials like clay or lead and can be damaged further by cutting them incorrectly. And if you're replacing a section with a different material than the existing pipe, make sure you use the appropriate couplings to join unlike materials.” 

FAQs About Sewer Main Repair Costs

How much does it cost to install a new sewer line?

Sewer line installation costs an average of $3,080. Most jobs range between $1,250 and $4,900.

How much does a sewer line clog cost?

Ideally, you might find that you only need to clean the sewer line or remove a clog from the main line. That costs $200 to $300. However, “sewer main clogs can cost upwards of $1,000 to clear, depending on what is causing the clog, distance from accessible cleanouts to the clog, and whether there is occupied space below the clogged line (apartment buildings, condos, etc),” says Botelho. 

How long do sewer lines last?

The good news: You don’t have to think about this very often. Plastic, lead, and cast iron sewer lines last 50 to 100 years, depending on soil conditions and tree roots. The part you can control is keeping them clear by watching what goes down the drain. Use compost pails for food scraps, cooking grease, and paper towels.

How do I know if I have a sewer line problem?

Your home has a few telltale signs of a sewer line problem. If you notice these, call a plumber as soon as possible:

  • Multiple plumbing fixtures (toilet, sink, or shower drains) appear to be clogged

  • Water appears in the tub or shower when you flush the toilet

  • A sulfur (rotten eggs) smell

  • Bubbling or gurgling noises at the drain

  • Changes to the yard, such as a new indentation or mysteriously soggy grass

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