Did you know there are over 500,000 miles of private sewer laterals (PSL) in the United States? These pipes, which are privately owned, connect to 800,000+ miles of public sewer lines. They carry wastewater from buildings and into wastewater treatment plants.
If not for them, sanitation wouldn’t be possible. However, their failure can also cause problems like clogged drains and backups.
Sounds familiar? Then, you likely already need a sewer line replacement.
That last sentence may have gotten you wondering, “Do I need a permit to replace my sewer line?”
It depends on where you are. If it’s St. Petersburg, FL, then you’ve come to the right page. This guide answers that question and other FAQs about sewer line replacements, so read on.
Do I Need a Permit to Replace My Sewer Line?
Yes, you do. And it’s not only in St. Petersburg; it’s a requirement for homes throughout Pinellas County.
In Pinellas County, permits are mandatory for remodeling or work worth over $500. Likewise, permits are requirements for home projects that must undergo an inspection. These include sewer line repair and replacement projects.
Who Can Get Sewer Line Replacement Permits?
Only licensed plumbing contractors can apply for these documents. They must also have prior registration with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.
Licensed contractors can apply for permits online. However, the PCCLB requires them to have a Pinellas County Access Portal account. The PCCLB verifies their identity and license status before approving their accounts.
Licensed and registered plumbers must also perform any plumbing work that requires permits. So, you must hire a reputable plumbing contractor to replace your sewer line. Fortunately, this also means they’ll apply for the necessary documents on your behalf.
Besides, you wouldn’t want to DIY a sewer line replacement as it can be messy, even dangerous.
Why Are Permits Necessary?
Plumbing permits exist to ensure that the completed work adheres to plumbing codes. Complying with these codes is necessary for everyone’s health and safety.
That’s particularly crucial for sewer lines, considering they carry wastewater. Wastewater may contain hundreds of different microorganisms, many of which are pathogens. Pathogens are disease-causing microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
An improperly installed sewer line can release those germs into the soil. It can also contaminate drinking water sources. All that can happen if it has poor connections that leak or cause sewer overflows.
Sewer overflows can also result in wastewater backing up your home’s floor or sink drains. Wastewater exposure can cause diseases like diarrhea, cholera, and dysentery. It can also lead to skin and respiratory infections and illnesses.
Such disasters are more likely if anyone, even non-pros, can replace a sewer line. So, not requiring sewer line replacement permits may give rise to subpar work.
By contrast, requiring permits can help prevent the root cause of such problems.
This requirement also assures homeowners they’re working with a qualified professional. For one, licensure means a plumber has proved their education and training background. They’ve also passed the Florida State Construction exam.
A valid license also means a plumbing contractor satisfies the state’s insurance requirements. This includes general liability and property damage coverage.
Do I Even Need a Sewer Line Replacement?
Minor sewer line problems, such as tiny or narrow cracks, may still be repairable. A licensed plumber in St. Petersburg can verify this through a camera inspection. This allows the expert to see the damages affecting your main sewer line.
If the damages are too severe, a replacement could be more cost-effective in the long run.
Your sewer line may be beyond repair if the following is true.
There’s Considerable Tree Root Intrusion
Tree root intrusion usually starts with a leaking sewer line. Water leaks, after all, are a source of moisture for plants. However, wastewater also provides flora with nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus.
Those nutrients are attractive to trees, so they can make their roots grow toward the source. Given enough time, their roots can penetrate the pipe at the seepage point.
Tree roots can keep growing once inside the pipe. From there, they can cause severe main sewer line clogs.
Also, note that as tree roots grow, they widen the hole in which they entered in the first place. This can translate to massive cavities affecting your sewer line. These can have a significant effect on the pipe’s overall integrity.
So, in that case, it would make more sense to invest in a sewer line replacement.
Your Sewer Line Has Collapsed
If not addressed promptly, tree root penetration can lead to a collapsed sewer line. However, the same can happen to an improperly installed pipe.
An example is a sewer line without enough downward slope. This diminishes the system’s ability to channel wastewater efficiently. Instead, the liquid and solid wastes can back up and collect in other areas of the pipe.
That can lead to pressure building up within the system. The more and the longer this happens, the likelier the pipe can break or collapse.
A lack of maintenance and cleaning can also result in sewer line failure. This can happen as blockages consisting of waste debris and gunk get bigger and heavier. Once they get massive enough, they can collapse the sewer pipe under their weight.
Heavy rainfall events, which St. Petersburg is prone to, can also collapse your sewer line. They saturate the soil, causing it to shift and settle. This exerts extra pressure on underground pipes, raising their risk of collapse.
Have Your Sewer Line Inspected Today
Now you know the answer to your question, “Do I need a permit to replace my sewer line in St. Petersburg,” is yes. So, the next thing you must do is to find a licensed, PCCLB-registered plumbing contractor. They’ll get you the necessary permit and promptly replace your sewer line.
That’s what Home Team Plumbing can do for you. You can also rely on us to investigate your problems first. This lets us determine if you need repairs or a total replacement.
Contact us now to schedule your plumbing inspection and repairs/replacement!