Fixing a broken drain pipe underground might seem like a daunting task, but with the right guidance, it’s a manageable project. Whether you’re a homeowner looking to tackle the issue yourself or seeking knowledge on the subject, this guide is here to help. Drawing from expert advice and practical experience, we’ll walk you through the process step by step. 

Importance of Fixing Broken Drain Pipes 

Fixing Broken Drain Pipes 

Many people underestimate the severity of a broken drain pipe. However, if left untreated, it can lead to severe damage to your drainage system and property. Addressing the issue promptly can save you from costly repairs and potential property damage in the future. 

Potential Consequences of Ignoring the Issue 

Ignoring a broken underground drain pipe can lead to: 

  • Mould growth on property walls
  • Infestations of rats and insects
  • Sewage blockages and backups
  • Foundation cracks
  • Sinkholes in gardens
  • Slow draining plugholes and bad odours

Brief Overview of the Step-by-Step Process

 Before diving deep, it’s essential to understand the general process. This involves identifying the problem, preparing the site, gathering necessary tools and materials, and executing the repair. 

Broken Pipe repair

Identifying the Problem 

Signs of a Broken Drain Pipe

A broken drain pipe underground can manifest in various ways. Some common signs include:

Unusual Odors

Bad smells, especially sewage-like odors, can indicate a broken pipe.

Pooling Water

Water gathering in unusual places can be a sign of leakage.

Slow Drainage

If water drains slower than usual, there might be a blockage or breakage.

Lush Vegetation Patches

Extra green and lush patches of grass can indicate water leakage nourishing the area. 

Tools for Detection 

broken pipe test and repair tool

Camera Inspection

A CCTV inspection can help determine the exact location of the broken and damaged areas.

 Drainage Water Tests

This can help identify where water might be leaking or where blockages might be.

 Soil Moisture Meters

These devices can detect unusual moisture levels in the soil, pointing to potential leaks. 


Safety Precautions 

Wearing Appropriate Gear

Ensure you’re wearing gloves and safety goggles to protect against dirt and debris

Turning Off Water Supply

Before starting, turn off the main water supply to prevent any unexpected water flow. 

Marking the Affected Area

Once you’ve identified where the breakage is, mark the area to ensure you’re working in the right spot.

Gathering Necessary Tools and Materials 

Replacement Pipes

Choose a durable material like PVC pipe for longevity. 


For digging and excavating the affected area. 

Pipe Cutters

To cut out the broken section of the pipe. 


To ensure a watertight seal when joining pipes. 

Repair Process 

Excavating the Affected Area 

Determining the Depth

Before digging, determine how deep the broken pipe is to avoid unnecessary excavation

Digging Carefully to Avoid Further Damage

Once you’ve started digging, proceed with caution to prevent any additional damage to the pipe or surrounding utilities. 

Removing the Broken Pipe Section

Removing the Broken Pipe Section

Before you can replace the damaged section, you need to remove it. This step is crucial to ensure that the new pipe fits seamlessly. 

Cutting the Damaged Section 

Using a metal cutting blade, measure two inches on either side of the broken section and mark the pipe. This will ensure you remove the entire damaged area. Carefully cut through the pipe, ensuring you don’t cause further damage to the surrounding sections.

Cleaning the Surrounding Area 

Once the damaged section is removed, clean the surrounding area. Remove any debris, tree roots, or obstructions that might interfere with the new pipe installation.

Installing the New Pipe Section 

With the damaged section removed, it’s time to install the new pipe. 

Measuring and Cutting the New Pipe 

Measure the length of the removed pipe area. This will determine the length of the new PVC pipe piece you need to install. Ensure the new pipe has the same diameter as the old to prevent leakage issues. Cut the new pipe to the required length using appropriate tools. 

Sealing and Joining the Pipe

Fit flexible rubber couplings to the existing pipe ends. Place the new PVC pipe piece in position and slide the flexible couplings over to cover the new section. Ensure a tight fit to prevent any leaks. 

Testing the Repair 

Testing the pipe Repair 

After installing the new pipe, it’s essential to test the repair to ensure there are no leaks. 

Running Water Through the Pipe 

Run water through the pipe, either using a garden hose or by allowing rainwater to flow. This will help identify if there are any leaks in the newly installed section. 

Checking for Leaks 

Inspect the area around the new pipe installation. If there’s no pooling water or signs of leakage, the repair is successful. 


After ensuring the repair is successful, it’s time to restore the excavated area. 

Filling the Excavated Area 

Begin by pouring fine gravel around the pipe to provide additional support. Then, fill the hole with the excavated soil. 

Compacting the Soil 

Compact the soil to ensure it’s level with the surrounding ground. This prevents any water from pooling in the area. 

Restoring the Landscape 

If you had to remove any grass or plants during the excavation, replant them. Ensure the landscape is restored to its original state. 

Maintenance Tips 

To prevent future issues and prolong the life of your drain pipes, follow these maintenance tips: 

Regular Inspections 

Conduct regular CCTV inspections to check for any signs of damage or blockages. 

Avoiding Chemical Drain Cleaners 

Chemical drain cleaners can corrode pipes over time. Instead, opt for natural solutions or seek professional assistance. 

Proper Waste Disposal 

Avoid disposing of grease, oils, and non-biodegradable items down the drain. These can cause blockages and damage over time. 


Importance of Timely Repairs 

Addressing broken drain pipes promptly can save you from costly repairs in the future. It also ensures the safety and health of your property and its inhabitants. 

Benefits of Professional Assistance 

While DIY solutions can be tempting, seeking help from professional plumbers or drainage companies ensures the job is done right. They have the tools, expertise, and experience to address the issue effectively. 

Long-Term Care for Drain Pipes 

Regular maintenance and care can prolong the life of your drain pipes. By following the tips mentioned above, you can ensure your drainage system remains in top condition for years to come.