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How to Fix a Plastic Waste Pipe to a Lead Pipe

Updated February 21, 2017

Plastic waste pipe, or sewer pipe, is made of either polyvinyl chloride or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene plastic. The pipes come in a range of 1.5- to 4-inch diameters, usually available in 8-foot sections. Prior to code change, older houses used to have sewer pipes made from cast iron, clay and lead. Connecting an new plastic pipe to a lead pipe requires first cutting the plastic pipe to the correct length and then using a flexible rubber coupling to join the two different types of pipe together.

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  1. Measure the plastic sewer pipe at the point where it needs to be cut, and mark it with a felt-tip pen. Make a straight cut through the pipe at the mark using a handsaw or hacksaw. If available, use a mitre saw to produce a cleaner and straighter cut. Scrape away any burrs from the cut with a utility knife.

  2. Apply soapy water around the end of both the plastic pipe and lead pipe. Push a flexible rubber coupling fully onto the end of the plastic pipe.

  3. Position the plastic pipe end with coupling against the end of the lead pipe. Slip the coupling halfway onto the end of the lead pipe, so that half the coupling is on the end of each pipe. Use a screwdriver to tighten the metal clamps surrounding each end of the coupling and secure both pipe ends together.

  4. Tip

    If the lead pipe has to be cut to length prior to the plastic sewer pipe being attached, cut it with a hacksaw and place newspaper on the floor to catch any lead burrs.


    Wear a face mask when handling lead pipe. Also wear work gloves at all times. Shower after working with lead pipe. Clean all clothes after working with lead pipe in a separate wash.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Felt-tip pen
  • Utility knife
  • Handsaw
  • Soapy water
  • Flexible rubber coupling
  • Screwdriver

About the Author

Steve Sloane

Steve Sloane started working as a freelance writer in 2007. He has written articles for various websites, using more than a decade of DIY experience to cover mostly construction-related topics. He also writes movie reviews for Inland SoCal. Sloane holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and film theory from the University of California, Riverside.

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