One of the most common causes of sewer line clogs is tree roots. After all, trees need moisture, and their roots are designed to seek it out. Once roots infiltrate a sewer pipe, they will grow, causing the pipe to gradually become blocked; they can also break apart the pipe from within. So how can you prevent the headache of tree roots in your sewer line?
The clearest way to avoid tree roots growing into a sewer line is to remove the tree. However, removing a tree from your yard is a big step. Unless you have some other reason for getting rid of trees – such as disease – most people choose to clear and protect the sewer line itself rather than change their landscaping. If you do decide to remove trees near your sewer line, it's important to note that you should have the stumps removed as well; even after cutting down a tree, the roots may continue to grow if the stump is left in the ground.
Copper sulfate is a biocide that is commonly used to clear tree roots from inside pipes. It will break up and kill the roots that it comes in contact with when it is flushed through the pipes, but it is not carried up into the rest of the tree, so you don't have to worry about killing your trees with it. If you suspect that you may have serious leaks in your sewer line, however, don't use this product; it may leak into the soil and kill the plants in your yard.
As a biocide, this chemical is hazardous, and you need to be very careful when using it. Follow the directions on the packaging closely. They will likely have you flush copper sulfate down your toilet a few times a year as maintenance against tree roots or daily for a few days if you already have a partial clog that you are clearing. In addition, the directions may tell you not to use any plumbing for a few hours after applying the chemical or even to evacuate your house for a few hours to avoid inhaling fumes.
Fix Sewer Line Seams
Tree roots are attracted to sewer lines because of the moisture in them, but they can only find this moisture if the line is leaking. These leaks are usually very slight leaks around seams – they are not serious enough to cause problems with the sewage running through the pipe, but they moisten the soil and attract tree roots.
For a long-term solution, it's possible to get seamless sewer piping installed in existing pipes through pipe lining or pipe bursting. In lining, a new PVC pipe is installed within your current pipe, expanding to fit right inside it and eliminating seams. Pipe bursting means breaking apart the old pipe as you run the new pipe through. Both of these methods are trenchless and done without digging up your yard, leaving your trees intact while protecting your sewer line from future problems. If you have any questions regarding your sewer line and tree roots, contact local sewer services, such as All Clear Pumping & Sewer.