Your Guide To Concrete Drainage Pipe Installation

Posted on June 13, 2022

Concrete drainage pipe installation is standard for sanitation systems, sewer systems, and storm sewers. Reinforced concrete pipe (RCP) is famous for its strength and durability, and it is usually the first alternative to high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or plastic pipe applications.

There are five general steps for installing RCPs:

  1. Material handling
  2. Excavation
  3. Joint preparation
  4. Reinforced concrete pipe installation
  5. Backfilling

Let’s discuss these steps in detail below.

Material Handling

Transport RCPs and unload them to the site with the proper equipment (like a crane and backhoe) and care. Ideally, it would help to unload the pipes with certified material for support. Balance and secure the RCP in the sling. The bell (the wide end) and the spigot (the narrow end) are the two parts of the RCP that need special care.


The trench you dig should be wide enough to accommodate the size of at least two pipes. This width ensures enough room for slope verification and facilitates worker safety. Once you excavate the trench, the next step is to grade the pipe and put down a bedding layer.

Joint Preparation

The bell and spigot ends of the pipes, especially the joining surfaces, should be free of dirt. When they’re clean, lubricate the bell jointing and the spigot with an approved lubricant, using a brush, cloth, or sponge.

Lubricate the gasket recess too. Before placing the o-ring gasket on the spigot, grease it well. Then fit the gasket carefully. Equalize the rubber gasket stretch. Insert a smooth, round object between the spigot and the gasket, and run it around the RCP circumference several times.

Reinforced Concrete Pipe Installation

Depending on the pipe’s size, you may need two people during the installation process.

Small pipe: For small pipes, you can put a wedge bar against a wood block positioned horizontally across the bell end of the RCP. The pressure on the bar will push the pipe into place.

Medium pipe: You’ll usually need two people to install a medium RCP. Use a mechanical pipe puller anchored several sections back to an installed pipe and connected by a cross beam to the RCP you’re installing. Put the pipe into place using a mechanical force.

Large pipe: You will usually join large pipes by a dead man blocking inside the pipes anchored several sections back. Connect the dead man blocking to a wooden cross beam mounted horizontally at the bell end of the pipe by a chain and mechanical pipe puller.

Using excavating equipment to push the joints together is not recommended unless you make provisions to prevent stress on the pipe joints.


Backfilling is the final step of the installation, and the inherent strength of RCP makes this simple. The backfill material should be placed evenly on both sides of the pipe until it’s about one foot above the pipe top. Do not bulldoze or drop the materials on the pipe. The backfill material should also:

  • Be free from large boulders because they can damage the pipe during compression
  • Be free from organic material (like plant roots)

Once you’ve backfilled and compacted the pipe, you can cover the trench as per the project specification.

Need help getting started?

The steps outlined above are a helpful reference if you’re working on an RCP installation project. If you need RCPs and are looking for a reliable supplier of concrete pipes, we are ready to answer any questions you have. Contact AmeriTex today.