Main Sewer Line Replacement Cost In New York City

Main sewer line replacement cost within the boroughs of NYC can vary greatly. For instance Manhattan and the Bronx pose unique issues that Queens and Brooklyn do not. However the individual factors that comprise the cost are the same in each borough. What follows is an easy to understand guide to help property owners understand main sewer line replacement cost.

Factors that comprise main sewer line replacement cost

There are other factors such as when the public sewer is located under a sidewalk fronting the property. This can greatly reduce the labor cost. But regardless, labor will always be the major component of a main sewer line replacement cost.

Labor cost for a sewer replacement

The labor cost for a main sewer line replacement will comprise a minimum of 50% of the total cost. More typical is 60% of the total cost, but in Manhattan labor is a much higher component of the total cost. While most sewer replacement work in the outer boroughs will take two or three days, Manhattan sewer work will typically take much longer. Obviously crossing Broadway in Manhattan for sewer work is much more difficult than crossing Broadway in Queens, Brooklyn, or the Bronx.

Material cost for a main sewer line replacement

sewer replacement

Domestic sewer pipe

The sewer pipe and other associated materials used to replace a house sewer line will comprise around 20% of the total cost. Depending on the size of the house sewer and length of the sewer run the percent can vary, but not by much. Material cost is around $2,000.00 on a typical sewer line replacement.

Balkan utilizes domestic extra heavy cast iron sewer pipe exclusively. Not only is this a far superior material, but it adds little to the overall cost. A sewer contractor looking to save a few dollars on a job that costs thousands of dollars doesn’t make much sense.

Permit fees

Permit fees always comprise a very small percent of the total cost and are really not a factor. Sewer replacement permits from the DEP are free of charge. Highway permits from the DOT vary from around $250.00 to $500.00 including expeditor fees. There is a variation in the cost because on newly paved roadways the DOT charges an additional $250.00 inspection fee.

Restoring disturbed asphalt and cement area

sidewalk repair

Sidewalk restoration in progress

Restoration of disturbed areas can vary depending on the type and extent of damage to the affected area. Typically a city sewer is about 15′ from the sidewalk curb line and around three flags of sidewalk cement will be broken. In cases like this restoring the disturbed sidewalk and roadway will comprise about 20% of the total cost of a sewer replacement.

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In some cases specialty pavers or cement exist, such as a dyed concrete. In other cases the public sewer may be farther out into the roadway or the roadway may have been recently paved. Recently paved roadways have more stringent restoration requirements imposed by the NYC DOT. While not usually a major factor they can increase this item as a percent of the total job. The actual cost of restoring disturbed areas usually ranges from $1,500.00 to $2,000.00.

Removal of excavated material and providing backfill material

All sewer replacement work will require removal of debris and excess excavated material. However frequently excavated material is not suitable as backfill material because it will not compact properly. Using improper backfill material will result in excavations sinking and collapsing.

In Manhattan and busy areas in the outer boroughs excavated material cannot remain on site when the job site is left unattended. In these cases all excavated material must be removed and that adds to the total cost of the job. Any material removed from a job site must be dumped at an approved transfer station.

Dump fees and the cost of providing clean backfill material usually comprises 10% of the total cost of the job. In terms of total dollar value total trucking costs can range from around $1,000.00 to up to $2,000.00.

The average total main sewer line replacement cost

Main sewer line replacement cost in the outer boroughs typically has a range of from $8,000.00 to $12,000.00. However main sewer line replacement cost can vary based on other factors.

Since 2013, the original date of this article, to 2017 many factors have resulted in price increases for subsurface plumbing work. The generally accepted price range of a typical sewer replacement in the outer Boroughs of NYC in 2017 is now $10,000.00 to $15,000.00.

  • If a tree or trees are present in the sidewalk area a Parks Department Permit. In these cases a licensed Arborist will also be required. An Arborist will have to oversee any excavation or tunneling under the drip line of a tree. In addition to the cost of the Arborist the process of the sewer installation is slowed down by a tree being present.
  • In some areas bed rock or ground water may be present. These are two factors that are not included in a typical sewer estimate. The additional cost will depend on the extent of the particular condition.
  • In Manhattan but other areas as well utility lines are buried underground. Large banks of underground utility lines will slow down a sewer installation greatly. In many cases excavations will have to be made by hand until all utility lines are exposed.
  • In sensitive areas of the city work hours may be limited by the DOT. Restricted work hours can increase the number of days required on the job. This adds to the main sewer line replacement cost.

Manhattan sewer line replacements vary greatly on a case-by-case basis. The location and underground conditions have a great bearing. In addition the length of a sewer run in Manhattan can vary greatly. Some roadways can be very wide, an din other cases a basement may be vaulted all the way to the curb line. Simply put Manhattan sewer replacement work, and almost all sewer work, requires a careful site visit to obtain an accurate estimate.

Sewer repair Vs. sewer replacement

main sewer replacement cost

Labor is the major cost in all sewer work

The sewer repair cost will typically be around 50% of the full replacement cost. As always sewer work can vary greatly and so can the price. Balkan provides free and no-obligation site visits, which is strongly recommended before any hiring decision is made. In many cases a repair can be done and be a long-lasting solution. However sewer problems such as sewer line root infiltration or a back-pitched sewer cannot typically be cured by a spot repair.

Never act in haste when faced with a sewer problem. If a sewer contractor quotes a price they should be able to back it up with a sensible explanation of the cost. Always remember that a sewer contractor must be licensed by the Department of Buildings, insured, and bonded with the NYC DOT.

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This article was written by David Balkan and is the sole property of Joseph L. Balkan Inc.

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Balkan Plumbing is the largest sewer and water main company in NYC. For over 60 years, our family's 10 year guarantee* means we stand by our work long after the job is done. For sewer and water main issues throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx contact Joseph L. Balkan, Inc. today for 24/7/365 service. Paul R. Balkan, NYC Licensed Master Plumber 01281

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