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Roots Could be the Root of Sewage Problems

Published: March 8, 2019
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Large Tree with large roots

According to the US Department of Agriculture, tree roots cause more than 50% of all sewer blockages, costing money for both the root removal and pipe repair. Continue reading to learn more about this issue, what to do about it, and how to prevent it.

Why Does it Happen?

Most of what goes down a drain contains nutrients, air and water, all of which a tree needs. Because of this, trees seek out sewage pipes and grow towards them. 

So How do You Prevent Roots in Your Pipes?

You can’t completely prevent tree roots from finding your sewage pipes but there are some conditions that are more favorable to a root invasion. 

Trees near pipes have a greater chance of causing problems. Quick growing trees with fibrous roots pose a greater risk.

Small, shallow pipes with multiple joints are more susceptible to becoming blocked by roots due to their location at the depth where many roots spread. The joints may allow air to escape, attracting roots to them.

Yes, it actually can get as bad as this picture

Old pipes with cracks that leak contents into the surrounding soil will also allow for roots to enter the piping and eventually block the flow.

Pipe material affects the formation of cracks on the pipe as soil shifts. Clay and concrete pipes are more likely to crack.

What do You do if Roots are Blocking Your Pipes

Figure out if you have the problem in the first place. If you have frequent blocked fixtures regardless of how many times you attempt to clear them, you might have a root issue. Gurgling noises and slow drainage are also signs you should look out for. Call in a professional to get visual confirmation with a camera.

pouring salt down the drain
Rock salt can be a temporary fix for a small problem

Once you’ve determined that roots are causing you problems, you’ll need to have it cleared. One way to do that is to flush rock salt into the affected pipe. Rock salt dries and kills roots, clearing the pipe. This is not a long-term solution and you still have to remove the root and repair the pipe.

The best solution is to maintain unfavorable conditions:

  1. Maximize the distance between your pipes and trees.
  2. Make sure your soil is well fertilized so trees don’t need to seek out more nutrients from the waste in your pipes.
  3. Replace old pipes to prevent deterioration and cracking.
  4. When replacing pipes, use a sturdier material like PVC that is less likely to have cracks. Use long sections of pipe with few joints.

If you have any other drain issues, check out our OTHER blog posts or the information on our WEBSITE for more information.

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Most importantly, work with a professional to ensure you implement the most effective solution to prevent reoccurring root problems. If you think you have roots invading your sewage pipes, we can diagnose and help fix the problem. Give us a call at
(877) 552-2326
or go to our  
Schedule A Service page!

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