Tree Root Infiltration: A Common Sewer Repair Issue | Coral Springs, FL

Although it may be surprising, the sewer system is actually the most complex aspect of plumbing networks. It’s also one of the most important. Sanitation is a vital component of a healthy home and society. Sewer systems remove waste and transfer potentially hazardous substances to municipal treatment plants in Coral Springs, FL, or septic systems that process waste and make sure it can’t contaminate clean water supplies. If the sewer system in our homes stops working properly, sewer repair services are needed as soon as possible.

Sewer Lines and Safety

It isn’t safe to live in a home with a blocked or dysfunctional sewer system. It doesn’t take long for waste to build up and cause problems ranging from foul odors to dangerous contamination on various surfaces throughout the home. Professional sewer repair and maintenance services, including routine inspections, are the best option for homeowners to make sure waste is removed safely and the clean water supply in our homes is safe. Tree root infiltration is a very common cause of blocked sewer lines.

Why Are Tree Roots a Problem?

Tree roots invade sewer lines because roots are constantly seeking water and nutrients. The wastewater inside sewer lines is full of nutrients for trees, so roots that come into contact with pipes find an abundant source of water and plenty of other goodies. Even a very tiny crack or pinhole leak in a pipe is enough to let wastewater seep out into the surrounding soil. Roots find the water that leaked out and actually grow towards the pipe itself. A tiny root tendril can make its way inside the pipe and enter through a crack. Roots can even force their way inside through weak areas in the pipe. Once the root makes it into the pipe, it can grow and spread out very quickly.

How Can I Protect Sewer Lines?

Protecting sewer lines does not involve cutting down every tree and shrub in the vicinity. It’s unnecessary and may do more harm than good. Trees have a lot of benefits, and homeowners only need to avoid planting trees too close to sewer lines. Another reason that cutting down all the trees is ineffective is that roots don’t always stop growing when the tree is cut down, especially for large trees with extensive root systems. Roots don’t respect property lines either. The roots in your yard may be connected to large trees on your neighbor’s property or on public land, so cutting those trees down isn’t even an option.

How Do Repair Professionals Help?

Contact your local plumber before planting trees or shrubs. Sewer repair professionals also provide services that help prevent damage in the first place. Your plumber can help you map underground pipes that carry sewage as well as pipes that carry fresh water. Once you have an accurate map, you’ll have a much better idea of safe locations for planting. Keep most trees at least 10 feet away from underground sewer lines. Some tree species are more aggressive than others when it comes to tree root infiltration. Some species of elm, willow, walnut, poplar, cottonwood, and aspen trees are known to be aggressive, so avoid those varieties when you choose trees for your yard. Homeowners with limited space may need to choose small trees with limited root systems to avoid sewer repair issues.

Professional plumbers can also treat underground pipes with a root growth inhibitor to reduce the need for sewer repair in the future. There is a wide range of products available for this purpose in Coral Springs, FL. Most inhibitors kill roots that are in contact with pipes or growing too close to pipes, without killing the trees. You can also choose to create barriers between tree roots and sewer lines. Sometimes slow-release copper sulfate or potassium hydroxide are effective at discouraging growth towards pipes. Physical metal or wood barriers should be buried between 6 to 12 inches below the pipe to block root infiltration.

Prevention Tactics

Provide nourishment and fertile ground for your trees and shrubs to discourage root infiltration. Try establishing a composting project to provide a continuous source of nourishment for your yard. You can also buy fertilizers and other products that provide nutrients so your trees and plants don’t have to send roots in all directions to find nutrients. This isn’t foolproof. Plants still grow roots even if they have plenty of nutrients, but making sure your trees are well-supplied can cut down on aggressive root growth because the tree isn’t struggling to survive.

Early Warning Signs

Sometimes homeowners can minimize root damage by recognizing the signs of a problem early. Frequent drain clogs are one sign. Root infiltration is a major contributor to clogs, slow drains, and overflowing plumbing fixtures. You may notice gurgling noises from the toilet as well. Call a sewer repair professional at the first sign of a problem.

Plumbers have a variety of tools, including tiny cameras that actually travel through underground pipes, to identify the cause of a problem quickly. As a bonus, they can also conduct inspections without tearing up the yard or disrupting the household. Sometimes root infiltration can be handled with a cable threaded through affected pipes. The cable cuts roots inside the pipe and clears existing clogs. However, more serious infiltration may not be fixable. Replacing the pipes may be the only option if roots have caused extensive damage. Fortunately, sewer repair has come a long way and no longer requires digging up the entire yard. Trenchless sewer repair is a very attractive option for many homeowners.

The experienced professionals at Mainline Plumbing provide sewer repair and many other services for homes and businesses throughout Coral Springs, FL. They conduct inspections and maintenance to catch problems early and help homeowners create blueprints or maps that show the location of underground pipes. Call Mainline Plumbing right away if you’re concerned about the function of your home’s sewage system. The plumbers at Mainline are also happy to answer questions and install physical or chemical barriers to prevent root infiltration.

Photo By Stephen Farhall at Shutterstock
*90-day clog-free guarantee! If your main line sewer clogs again within 90 days, we will provide one additional visit from a drain expert to attempt to unclog it at no additional cost. Drain must be accessible from an exterior cleanout. Homeowner must be present at time of service and agree to a camera inspection of the line in order to qualify. Does not apply to branch lines (Tub/ shower drains, sink drains, laundry drains etc). This offer is not open to landlords, apartments, condos or commercial spaces (single family residential homes only). This offer only applies to the first 75 feet of the main sewer line or less; clogs beyond the 75-foot mark cannot be cleared by the standard methods at this special price. Reminder: Not all main sewer lines can be cleared using the standard methods offered with this deal. It is possible that unusual factors will make it unlikely to clear your main sewer line in this way. Unusual factors can include tree roots grown into the pipes; drain lines compromised through various defects and damage; drain lines shifted due to terrain changes; pipework comprised of the wrong materials; and more. We reserve the right to decide not to service a main sewer line hindered by recurring or extreme issues such as unsanitary, or unsafe conditions. This special cannot be combined with any other discounts, coupons or offers. Cannot be applied on prior service or existing balances. This offer applies to main sewer line drain clearing service conducted during regular business hours; emergency service is not applicable. Additional restrictions may apply. Ask our plumbing technicians about all the details.