Water/sewer line inspection


Looking for advice on how to have an older parks sewer and water lines inspected for issues as part of due diligence for a park in Ohio. Thanks

Rick Bergman



The easiest way to determine water leakage issues is to review the past water bills. I usually try to look at 24 months. Big spikes in the bills are signs of leakage. If you are worried about old pipes putting iron into the water, the Department of Health will run a test for you.

With sewer lines, you can have someone “scope” out the pipes or you can buy the piece of equipment yourself. It’s about $600 at Harbor Freight Tool Company. Most of the time, I just look at the makeup of the pipe and ask a lot of questions to the tenants about sewer issues. They will let you know if there is a problem.



whats a key word, Steve, or the name of the tool?



I believe it’s made by ProVision and is called a fiber optic scope. They have two or three different models; from a small lens with 3 feet of line to a small TV set with up to 50 feet of line.

The prices vary from a couple of hundred up to about six hundred.



Just bought a park in Ohio so I’m going to stick in my 2 cents worth.

This is no job for an amateur. Hire professionals and have them make a videotape of what they see. Get them to review it and give you a written report of any problems. Show it to the city sewer people if need be. Did this on my park and got a nice reduction in price plus I know what I’m dealing with for future reference. I had several hundred feet of pipe scoped and it was worth every penny.

Re-read the first sentence of the previous paragraph.

Memorize the following: Clay/metal pipe bad, schedule 40 PVC or ABS good. The only exception to this is when you have the option of installing a polyethylene (PE) liner. Have done this before and saved a ton of money.

Re-read the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph.




Great point! What kind of costs did you incur on the scope work?




I paid $1,620 to have all the lines jet cleaned and then scoped. The community is 8.25 acres and 42 spaces. Don’t know how many feet of sewer but it sure took a long time to review the video. Got some problems at the top end of the line but it’s working fine for now and I’m just going to keep my fingers crossed.



What type of material do you have for the sewer lines?

I sure hope it isn’t terra cotta pipe. Many years ago, I called roto-router to remove a heavy clog on one of my terra cotta main pipes and they decided to use the jet. Next thng I know they created an “old faithful” geyser in the park…LOL…the pressure blew the pipe completely apart.




The pipe material is nothing anyone had ever seen before. Something from the 70’s when the place was built. At each manhole, the pipe is encased in concrete and then the top is cut for access. It is some sort of black plastic (a form of ABS?) but is honeycombed between the inner and outer layer. Anyone ever heard of this?

Nothing like good old clay sewer pipe to ruin one’s day.




That’s the same type of pipe that we saw in the room at Riverbend during the bootcamp. I believe it’s called “Bloomberg” or “Orangeberg” and was only used for a short period of time.