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How to Keep Roots Out of Your Sewer Line

Although trees can add beauty to your landscape, their roots could cause thousands of dollars worth of headaches if they infiltrate and break your main sewer line.

Because they contain water, nutrients, and oxygen, roots tend to gravitate toward sewer lines. If you find roots in septic tanks or any waste system in your home, it’s important you treat the problem immediately.

If the root discovers a crack in the pipe or leak, it will grow into the pipe wall, blocking the flow of wastewater into the sewer.

Eventually, the root growth can cause too much pressure on the pipe and cause it to burst, leaving you with thousands in repairs. While there is root killer for sewer lines, you might need a more aggressive approach to avoid costly damages.


Do you want to avoid this situation? We'll help you prevent this scenario and give you tips to remedy any tree growth in your sewer system.

Step 1: Find out if trees are near a sewer line

First, locate the location of your sewer line.

Two places are required for sewer clean-out caps on houses. These caps are usually either black ABS or white PVC pipes that protrude from the ground, or a box in the lawn. The one closest to your foundation wall should be a few feet away, and the other should not be more than 13 feet from the curb. The sewer pipe will usually travel below this line of sight in most cases.

You may not have cleaned out caps if they have been buried in the landscape or not installed at all. To ensure that you don't accidentally damage unmarked utilities, call and get in touch with your local Florida government office to see what permits and safety precautions you’ll need.

Call your local water and sewer department to find out where your sewer connects with the city. They will send you a locator to mark where your underground pipes connect to the city sewer system. This is a free service!

Once you have a good idea of the location of your sewer line, check if there are any trees near it.

If there are no trees nearby, go to step 4.

If there are trees nearby, proceed to step 2.

Step 2: Have your sewer line inspected

Once you have determined that a tree is close to the sewer line you will need to check if roots are present. Contact a waste management company to ensure a proper inspection.

You could delay the inspection until you see the signs that a sewer line is broken. However, it's better to have the inspection done immediately and save thousands.

Step 3: Removing roots and repairing as necessary

It's time for the waste management company to find the root cause of the problem. This is only one part of the equation.

1) A hydrocutter or powered sewer auger can be used to remove the roots from the pipe.

2) Chemicals can temporarily stop the growth of roots by destroying their structure. Root-X is a herbicide that can be used to kill the roots.

  • You can penetrate the roots and kill them immediately.

  • For up to three years, you can stick to the pipe walls to prevent regrowth.

3) As needed, repair the sewer pipe.

Worst-case scenario :Because the pipe is too damaged, it can't be removed. It must be replaced.

Step 4: Prevent future root problems

Do you want to plant more trees on your property? Trees should be kept at least 10 feet from the sewer line. This will make it take longer for roots to reach the sewer pipe.

Also, you should choose a small and slow-growing sewer safe tree. Listed below are some examples of sewer safe trees:

  • Amur Maple

  • Paperbark Maple

  • Serviceberry

  • Fringetree

  • Flowering Dogwood

  • Cypress

These fast-growing trees aren’t recommended near the sewer line:

  • Norway Maple and Silver

  • Sweetgum

  • River Birch

  • Cottonwood

  • Aspen

  • Sycamore

  • Magnolia species

For a professional and safe inspection, it’s always best to defer to a specialist. If you’re looking for a waste management company with years of expertise, get in touch with our team at In-Pipe Technology.


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