What to Do if Tree Roots Plug Up Sewer Lines

February 28, 2018 Published by Leave your thoughts

As trees grow and their roots expand, they can occasionally interfere with underground utilities, such as sewer lines. If you are having problems in your area with tree roots plugging up sewer lines, there are several steps you can take, most of which should be left up to a professional plumber.
Here are some tips from a plumber in Fremont, NE about the steps you can take if you have issues with tree roots in your sewer lines.

Addressing the issue

This is an issue most commonly experienced by people who live in rural areas with heavily wooded lots. As trees grow, it can be impossible to determine if they will interfere with sewer lines until it’s too late.

While cutting the trees down can solve the problem, this also isn’t necessarily the first solution you should jump to. Tree roots tend to work their way through joints or cracks in older sewer lines that were made of cast iron, clay tile or a type of asphalt composite material. Clay and cast iron typically are not used any more in plumbing applications because of these loose-fitting joints that are susceptible to damage caused by tree roots. But the materials are also overly heavy, expensive, brittle, difficult to work with and prone to breaking. Instead, just about all sewer lines these days are made out of PVC piping, as it is cheap, light and durable, with joints that are nearly impervious to tree roots.

So, when you have tree root problems with your sewer lines, you have three main options, none of which are exactly ideal. You can continue reaming lines every now and then to move them around tree roots, you can cut down the trees, or you can call in professionals to recommend the best course of action.

Many plumbing companies will start by sending a small video camera down inside the pipe to figure out what the problem is and where it’s located. This video will help them determine if there’s a place where the line is either crushed or cracked, or if it’s moving along at an improper slope. You can also use the camera to tell if tree roots are finding ways through cracks or loose pipe fittings.

At this point, the plumber will recommend the next steps forward, which will typically be one of the following:

  • Dig up the old line to replace it with plastic piping
  • Treat the line with a type of poison designed specifically to kill off nearby tree roots (not the entire tree), making it take longer for new roots to grow and cause problems in the future
  • Sealing the line with a plastic fabric and cement

You also have the option to purchase your own power auger and clear out your lines when needed.

For more information about the steps a professional plumber and trenching company will take when tree roots interfere with sewer lines, call Wiese Plumbing & Excavating, Inc. to speak to a plumber in Fremont, NE today.

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