Plumbing infrastructure - Life Span

What is the “Life Span” of when it is time to replace plumbing infrastructure altogether?

The subject park has been leaking YoY for three years and the infrastructure is 50+ years old and reaching 200+ sites. The leaks are significant and definitely need to be addressed.

Sewer lines cast iron & Water Lines are pvc

Bid to replace the entire system is between $225,000 - $300,000

What would you do / Recommend?

So many variables. Most important variable is the quality of the workmanship during original installation.

For example PVC water mainline should be 100 year pipe in theory. But if it was installed too shallow, with dead ends, with glue joints (on pipe larger than 2"), with no bedding or cover over the pipe, cast saddles in clay… then all theroritical predictions are of no value. The pipe will talk to you. When you get lots of failures of a certain type (glue joints pulling apart, saddles corroding and falling off…) the pipe is saying there is a system wide problem. Then you have to decide what is better from a bottom line perspective, deal with 1 to 3 leaks a year no big deal, 2 to 5 leaks a month for 3 to 5 months in a row that’s another story. Even with the best due diligence you really have limited knowledge until you operate the park for year or two. That’s why you need a safety factor in your valuation but finding that safety factor in this market is a challenge.

The cast iron sewer probably at or near end of life depending on soil type. Video will tell.

How bad are the water leaks?

Hope that helps


@Phillipmerrill you are so right about this. The reason for due diligence is to minimize these surprises, but some things you just have to find out by the hard knocks of life experience.

1 Like

Hey did you know that the ground moves over the course of years? The pipes know.

1 Like

I really like Phillip’s comment.

Having done over 50 video inspections and seen a lot of Frankenstein systems, the key is to look at all runs. IE all the main runs. Most parks are 50+ years old and where built in different phases. One section of the park could be newer PVC and the other half could be completely shot - 100% retaining sewer water with bellies and separations. I have seen several large lately that were 4-6 materials - PVC/Clay/Concrete/CastIron/ABS/etc. When this happens, you are likely to have a limited life span (2-5 years left) unless the system is already breaking apart. I have seen the exception where everything was very professionally built, no bellies, thicker/larger lines used but that is the exception. Typically, unless the owner was spending big bucks over the decades to properly replace once section at a time, it will all be done by local NON-certified handymen that did NOT properly lay and connect the lines much less connect them properly. Depending on the size of the park, properly looking at different sections of each line can take a half day to a full day. Avg cost is $500-$2000. Make sure you have the plumber quote job by flat fee/hourly. The oldest trick in the book is when the plumbers shows up and say “oh, that was the amount quoted PER line”. There are several items to verify with the plumber before they come out - 200+ ft run, that they can save video quickly or on the spot, that they have a PVC sheath for deep runs/man holes, have a locate, a hook for manhole covers, and that they can start to video immediately when they arrive. If you don’t verify these items before hand, 9 out 10 ten times they will show up not ready or not able to do the job. We also have someone scheduled and a backup plumber ready if needed. Hope that helps. ~ Steve.


Great advice, thanks @SteveEdel

1 Like

@PhillipMerrill Appreciate the input and help.

1 Like

@SteveEdel - Thanks for the input as well. I just checked out your website!! What do you charge if a buyer wanted to hire for an hour of consulting?


Give me a ring @ 512 426 6869 and I’ll see if I can help.

If you haven’t been to an MHU boot camp, highly recommended! Those guys will also take time to answer specific questions and are amazing.

Due Diligence Partners service is for looking at every detail of a particular property, both offsite and onsite.

1 Like