The sewer line is a vital part of your property’s plumbing system. It is responsible for carrying waste from your property to the city’s sewer main.  Any dysfunction that causes clogging could mean the destruction of your property accompanied by a costly repair bill. In most cases, clogs are caused by impeding tree roots. In this blog, we will discuss the causes of root infestation, how you can prevent it, diagnose it, and control future problems caused by tree roots.

What causes tree root intrusion in your sewer line?

Search for water and nutrients is a lead cause of root intrusion. Roots are aggressive in their nature to search for water and nutrients. Sewer lines carry water making them a great source of nutrients for the tree. They can grow in tight spaces and easily break the pipes apart to access the water.

Loose soil around the sewer lines after they are installed make it easier for the roots to penetrate through. Any small break or leak in your sewer lines will allow roots to enter the walls of your pipe. Eventually, the roots will rapidly grow, blocking your pipes and eventually causing a clog in your system.

Diagnosing tree intrusion

Do you live in a heavily wooded area? Are you constantly experiencing plumbing stoppages? If your sewer line is surrounded by a large number of trees and you are repeatedly experiencing plumbing stoppages, chances are your sewer line might have root intrusion. Hiring a licensed plumber is the sure way of correctly diagnosing the exact reason of your blockage. Through a video camera inspection, the plumber will be able to get an inside view of your sewer lines.

Does the type of pipe you have to make you vulnerable to tree roots?

  • Clay pipes: Its fragility and the vulnerability of its joints make them susceptible to root intrusion. Most older homes were fitted with sewer lines made of clay.

  • Cast Iron Sewer Lines: Although they are really strong, corrosion over time in this type of sewer lines can cause weak points that ease root intrusion.

  • ABS or PVC Sewer Lines: ABS or PVC sewer lines are common in newer homes. These type of pipes are the least prone to root intrusion although, any broken joints or cracks on the pipes will increase your chances for roots to enter.

Preventing root intrusion in your Sewer Lines

    1. Before planting a tree, know where your sewer line is located. Make sure the roots will have enough room to grow without coming into contact with your pipes.

    2. Trees should not be planted near a sewer line, but some trees have fewer reports of damaging pipes. I would suggest you do some research before planting any tree that will be close to your sewer pipe.

    3. Know the type of tree you are planting! Trees that grow fast above ground also do so below. As a rule of thumb, avoid planting fast-growing trees near a sewer line. To name a few, trees found to be common in sewer line damage include Cottonwood, Aspen, Sweetgum, Norway Maple and Sycamore.

For any sewer line related problems, please contact us at (314) 487-4564


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