What to Know About Trees and Your Sewer Line

Why Are Tree Roots 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. 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, you can expect the roots are also at least that long. The length of those roots puts them close to your plumbing. Unfortunately, it’s not just a coincidence that tree roots grow into sewer pipes. The roots are drawn to the pipes for the water they can provide, even if they contain the cleanest water.

Older Systems Are More Susceptible Than Newer Ones

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

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

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

Look for sinkholes if you suspect you have problems with your sewer pipes. Sinkholes can develop when a tree root breaks a line, causing lots of water to leak. You may also see spots of fresh green grass from leaking sewage and an unpleasant odor. Last, water may drain slowly inside the house, such as when flushing the toilet.

You’ll Likely Need Professional Help.

In some cases, you can fix the problem yourself. For example, you can pour chemicals 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.

You may need more advanced treatment if the issue is more significant than just a few small roots. In severe cases, you will most likely need to replace parts of the sewer system.

While trees can add beauty to your yard, they can cause significant 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.

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