How to Repair a PVC Pipe in the Ground
PVC pipe is one the easiest plumbing pipes to work with, due to its ease of cutting and assembly. Unfortunately, PVC is not known for its durability, especially when buried underground. Digging around a buried pipe or tree root growth can rupture a pipe, causing a leak. Once the leak is located, you can repair the pipe by cutting out the busted section, replacing it with a new section of pipe and cementing it in place.
Turn off the water at the main shut-off valve to the PVC pipe. Locate the area where the PVC pipe is leaking underground. This will be evident by soggy ground or puddling.
Dig a trench along the area where the pipe is located, digging carefully, until you unearth the leaky pipe. Uncover 3 feet of pipe on either side of the leak. Remove the dirt from around and below the pipe so you have ample room to work.
Measure and cut 12 inches on each side of the leak and remove the damaged piece of PVC. Wipe both ends of the remaining pipe with a cloth to dry them. Scrape away any PVC debris from the cuts with a utility knife.
Dry fit both PVC fittings on each cut section of pipe. Measure the distance between the middle of one fitting and the middle of the second to get the length of replacement pipe needed. Remove the fittings.
Cut the new section of PVC pipe. Scrape away any shavings on either end.
Apply cement to each outside end of the new cut section and to one inside of each fitting. Slide the cemented ends of the fittings onto each end of the pipe. Allow the cement to set for five minutes.
Apply cement to the other inside end of each fitting and the outside of the two ends of pipe in the trench. Slide each cemented fitting over one end of the pipe and allow the cement to set.
Turn the water back on to the pipe and run your hand across each joint to check for moisture.
Pour a layer of rocks underneath the new section of pipe to give it support and fill the dirt back in. Use your shovel handle to gently pack the dirt around the pipe and on top of the rock bed.
- Work as quickly as you can with the PVC cement as it can dry quickly, depending on the outside temperature. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for dry times.
Billy Brainard graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Trinity College. As the department chairman he was responsible for creating and writing the curriculum for 7-12 grade students. Currently he writes for eHow and works part time helping employees by creating and writing resumes to help in their job search.