What to Know About Trees and Your Sewer Line


Tree Roots Are Drawn to Your Sewage Pipes

The biggest threat from trees to your SEWER LATERAL is tree roots. The roots sit deep in the ground, and they search for water. As the tree continues to grow, so will the roots. In fact, you can usually estimate how big the roots are by looking at the crown. On average, the roots spread further than the diameter of the crown.

Therefore, if you have tree branches hanging over your home, for example, you can expect the roots are also at least that long, which puts them close to your plumbing. Unfortunately, it’s not just random coincidence that tree roots grow into SEWER pipes. The roots are drawn to the pipes for the water they can provide, even if they don’t contain the cleanest water.

Older Systems Are More Susceptible

If you have a newer sewage system, you probably don’t have much to worry about right now because plumbing pipes are durable. In fact, if they work well, and no sewage or water leaks, the tree roots may not ever find your pipes.

However, if your SEWER LINE is old, it may have cracks or leaks, which attract roots. Less durable materials or older materials are also more likely to be penetrated by the roots. In many cases, clay tile pipes and PVC pipes are commonly impacted.

There Are Signs for Which to Look

You can watch out for some warning signs (and risk factors) to determine if you have tree roots in your sewer LINE system.

First, depending on your type of soil and yard, tree roots may be more prone to grow outward instead of down. This is common in dry, compacted soil with minimal plants, but you may also get it if you have trees far apart from each other or if the tree roots can’t grow downward because of bedrock or similar obstruction.

If you do suspect you have problems with your SEWER pipes, look for sinkholes. Sinkholes can develop when a tree root breaks a pipe, causing it to leak lots of water. You may also see spots of fresh green grass from leaking sewage; there may also be an unpleasant odor. Last, inside the house, water may drain slowly, such as when flushing the toilet.

You’ll Likely Need Professional Help

In some cases, you can fix the problem yourself. For example, chemicals can be poured down your drains to kill and prevent small roots from coming back. The problem, however, is that you may not fully know the extent of the damage, which is why it’s best to contact a professional. Not only do they have the expertise, but they have the equipment too, which can be inserted into your sewer lines to spot problems.

If the issue is bigger than just a few small roots, you may need a more advanced treatment. In severe cases, you will most likely need to have parts of the SEWER system replaced.

While trees can add beauty to your yard, they can cause a lot of underlying damage, especially when the roots find your sewage system. Roots aren’t just attracted to the water, they will destroy your sewer lines to get it. For more information about tree roots and sewer line repair or replacement, contact us at Streamline Plumbing today.