Outdoor fallen tree bark

3 Reasons to Inspect Your Sewer Line for Root Invasions

A tree in or near your yard can bring you a great deal of joy, but they are a hazard for your pipes. Most homes have a sewer line that runs under the yard, and you may think that it’s safe because it’s buried underground. This is not the case. The sewer line can be compromised by the roots of trees and other plants. This could lead to cracks, breaks, and blockages that may cause a sewer backup in your home. In this article, we will look at three reasons why you should schedule an inspection for your sewer line.

  1. The Scale of the Problem

A root system is made up of many smaller and larger roots that provide stability, support, and nutrients to trees and other plants. Most roots grow with the top 18” of soil, but they can stretch down much further in certain circumstances. The typical depth of a root system could extend as far as twice the height of the tree or shrub. So, even if you have a taller tree that’s nowhere near your sewer line, the roots could be growing in the vicinity.

2. Roots Damage Sewer Lines

Root systems are always searching for an easy source of moisture to feed the tree or shrub. If they sense moisture around the sewer line, the roots will grow towards it and attempt to make use of that resource. Most roots enter a sewer line at a joint, but they can also force their way into small cracks that may have formed in the pipe wall over time. The type of material used to manufacture the sewer line will determine how resistant it is to penetration by the roots. Older clay pipes are very susceptible to root damage, and newer PVC pipes are more resistant. But, a PVC pipe can still be penetrated if the joints are not sealed tightly. The roots grow into a pipe. They gradually fill the space and grow further into the pipe to get more nutrients. In extreme cases, the roots grow so large that they burst the sewer line apart, leading to a total collapse.

3. Inspection and Rooting

It’s important to get your sewer line inspected with a video camera to make sure it’s in great shape. This will give the plumber a lot of useful information that will be helpful if you need a sewer line repair or replacement.

Rooting is when the plumber cuts off the pieces of the root in the pipe and clears away any blockages. In many cases, this is effective, but the root system outside the sewer line will remain in place, and they could cause cracks in the future.

Cabling the pipe will make a difference, but if the root intrusion is significant, it’s likely that replacement will be needed. If you’re lucky, it may be possible to carry out a trenchless repair. As the name suggests, this is quicker and less messy than digging down to the sewer line.

If you want to schedule a sewer line camera inspection or you suspect that you have a root intrusion, contact your local certified plumber today.

By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.