Sewer VS. Nature

Brown roots spreading out from a very large, old tree invading the sewer pipes.Suddenly the toilets, sinks, and tubs will not drain – it is time to call the plumber. The plumber reveals an obstacle triggered by tree roots within the house primary sewage pipe that flows towards the street as the reason for the stoppage. How did this happen?

Root Expansion in Pipes

Oxygen is essential for roots to grow; they flourish in a warm, moist, nutrient rich environment inside sanitary sewers above the water surface; however, pipes filled with water or where there is high ground water environment inhibit the development of roots. Warm water flowing through the sanitary sewer pipes creates a vapor to rise to the cold ground surrounding the pipe. The vapor can come from cracks or loose joints in the sewer pipe, which attracts tree roots to the source of the moisture.

Even in winter, when a tree appears dormant, its root system continues to reach the crack or loose joints of a pipe searching for the rich, moist nutrients and moisture captured inside the sewer pipes.

Problems Triggered by Roots Inside Sewers

Once in a sewer pipe, the root base is constantly developing and when not disrupted, it will totally fill the pipe using several hairlike root balls at each point of access. The root system in the pipe becomes a trap for grease, tissue paper, and other debris discharged from dwellings. The first sign of a slow drainage system, hearing unusually bubbling sounds from toilet bowls with moist areas around the floor drain after using the washing machine. Once these signs emerge it is necessary to take action to remove the roots/debris from the pipe(s) as a complete blockage will most likely occur at some time.

As roots keep growing, they expand and exert significant force in the crack or joint of the pipe where they entered. The pressure applied through the root growth will break the pipe and may lead to total collapse of the pipe. Severe root intrusion in pipes structurally broken will require replacing.

Sewers with Tree Roots

History reflects the most pricey sewer repair incident for the City and County residents are tree roots growing inside sewer pipes. Unfortunately, parks, parkways, and private property tree roots spreading cause most of the sanitary sewer service backups and broken sewer pipes.

It is necessary for property owners to identify the location of their sewer pipes and be knowledgeable in plants and trees to avoid planting near the sewer liners. Sanitary sewer pipes damaged from tree roots can be extremely costly to replace.

Pipes Prone to Root Damage

Various pipe materials are less resistant to tree root invasions than others. Commonly installed throughout until the late 80′s were clay tile pipes, which tree roots easily penetrated creating damage to the clay material.

Materials commonly used now are ABS and PVC that impede root intrusions more than the clay tile pipe. PVC and ABS are widely in use due to the joints that are tight fitting vs. concrete or clay fittings, plus PVC and ABS have fewer joints for vapor leakage.

Spreading of Roots

Throughout drought conditions as well as in winter, tree roots travel lengthy distances looking for moisture. Typically, tree roots will expand as much as 2.5 times the height tree, plus some types of trees might have roots stretching 5 to 7 times the height of the tree.

What must I do to in to manage roots in my Sewer Lateral?

Once roots have been in your lateral, they will potentially result in a blockage. The easiest method to prevent this is scheduling a regular cleaning of the sewer lateral; keeping your sewer lateral structurally sound will save time and money in the future. The most common way to getting rid of roots from sanitary sewer service pipes involves using augers, root saws, and-pressure flushers. A structural weakness provides the opportunity for roots to get into your sewer lateral. An option is to employ a plumber to video your sewer lateral to find out its condition and if any repairs are necessary.

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