What is Orangeburg Pipe and Why Does it Matter? 

The words “Orangeburg pipe” may sound strange to many home and property owners. But if you live in an older home or have looked into the plumbing system of your home, you may have heard of these pipes. 

Orangeburg pipe is a type of sewer and drain pipe that is made from layers of wood pulp and tar paper that have been pressed together. People used this kind of pipe a lot in the middle of the 20th century, and you can still find them in many older homes today. 

There are a lot of important things about Orangeburg pipe, from its history and legacy to its structure and possible maintenance problems. In this article, we’ll talk about why this type of pipe is still used in some buildings and why that’s important. 

Problems with Orangeburg Pipe  

One of the worst things about Orangeburg Pipe is that it doesn’t work very well. The material used to make the pipe can become brittle over time, which can cause it to break or leak. Additionally, the material can easily be damaged by temperature fluctuations, meaning the pipe is more likely to crack or break in cold weather. 

This can be a big problem if the pipe is used outside because it wasn’t made to withstand high temperatures. Because of this, Orangeburg Pipe is not a good choice for applications that need to work well. 

Health and Safety Risks 

According to Simpson Plumbing there are some health and safety risks that come with the Orangeburg Pipe. Since the material can wear down over time, it can become brittle and break or leak. If this happens, the material from the pipe can become airborne, resulting in a potential inhalation hazard to those in the vicinity. Additionally, the material can also leach chemicals into water, and since it is not food-grade, it should not be used for drinking water applications. 

How to Identify Orangeburg Pipe 

Identifying Orangeburg pipe can be a tricky process, but there are some simple methods you can use to help determine if you have Orangeburg pipe in your plumbing. 

1. Visual Identification 

The first and easiest way to figure out what kind of pipe it is is to look at it. If you can get to the pipes, look for something black and stiff with seams that you can see. These seams show that the pipe is made in Orangeburg. The pipes will also be easy to find because they smell different. 

Also, Orangeburg pipe will have a unique texture that you can feel when you touch it. The outside of the pipe will feel like a hard, waxy, and grainy material. 

2. Testing Methods 

You can tell if you have Orangeburg pipe in your plumbing by looking at it, but there are also some other ways to tell. 

A pH test is one way to do this. A pH test kit can be bought at any store that sells plumbing parts. To use the test kit, take a sample of the water running through the pipes and then check the pH level. If the level is higher than 7.5, you probably have Orangeburg pipe. 

A dye test is another way to find out. For this test, you need to put a small amount of dye in the water going through the pipes. If the dye changes color to orange, you probably have Orangeburg pipe. 

Lastly, a pressure test can be used. For this test, the pipes need to be put under a certain amount of pressure. If the pressure is higher than what the pipe is rated for, you probably have an Orangeburg pipe. 

Solutions for Orangeburg Pipe 


If you want to fix a sewer line, the best way to do it is to replace an Orangeburg pipe. It is also the most expensive option. How much it costs to replace a pipe depends on its size, where it is, and what kind of material is used to replace it. 

If you want to replace your Orangeburg pipe, you will need to hire a professional plumber to do the job. They will be able to figure out how bad the damage is and what the best replacement material is. The most common material is PVC, which is both strong and cost-effective. 


Fixing an Orangeburg pipe is less expensive than replacing it, but it doesn’t always work. It is best used to repair minor damage and prevent further wear and tear. 

According to Simpson Plumbing, to fix an Orangeburg pipe, you will need to hire a plumber to look at the damage and figure out the best way to fix it. This could be done by putting a patch on the pipe with a resin or by replacing parts of the pipe. The plumber will also be able to seal any cracks or holes in the pipe with a special epoxy. 


Orangeburg pipe is an old type of sewer pipe that is made of layers of wood pulp and tar paper that are pressed together. It was used a lot in the United States until the 1970s, when PVC and other materials began to replace it. 

Even though it may not be the best choice for modern sewer systems, it is important to remember that Orangeburg pipe was the standard for many years. Because of this, its effects on the environment and people’s health should not be ignored. It is important to know the history of Orangeburg pipe, from its widespread use to its eventual replacement, so that the same mistakes don’t happen again.

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