What is Root Intrusion?

When trees are in search of water, their roots will do whatever they can to find it. Unfortunately, the source of water they most frequently find is a sewer line. Sewer lines are full of things trees love to absorb. Water, nutrients, and oxygen all make tree roots move towards sewer pipes. Roots are aggressive in their search for water and nutrients. Once the roots find an opening, there is no stopping them from growing into the sewer system. When the roots reach a sewer line, they’ll gradually break into it through a joint, hole or crack. Once they gain access to the water they seek, the damage they can cause is massive.

How does Root Intrusion Happen?

One of the ways the roots end up there, is through either a cracked or loose joint in the sewer line. In many municipalities, roughly 50 percent of tree roots citywide enter through defective lateral sewer pipes. This is the underground piping that runs from a residence or business to the city’s sewer main. Maintenance of a lateral sewer pipe and keeping it in good condition is usually the responsibility of the home or business owner up to the point where it ties into the main line. At that connection point the city takes responsibility. To reduce overflows and guard against damage, inspecting the lateral pipe is important. If there is an issue found it is important to repair or replace in a timely manner to help avoid major damage.

What Happens When Roots Intrude a Sewer Line?

Once roots have entered the pipe, they continue to grow and expand, applying considerable pressure at the crack or joint. Root intrusion will eventually begin to interfere with the transportation of sewer line materials. As a result, more clogs, and blockages than normal will occur in the home or business. Roots will completely fill the pipe with hair-like root masses. The root masses quickly become clogged with toilet paper, grease and other debris flowing from homes and businesses to the main sewer. A complete blockage may occur if the roots are not removed, and enough waste material accumulates.  If left untreated, root intrusion can cause problems, potentially causing major damage to pipes. This increased pressure can cause the pipe to break or collapse, in which case it will need to be repaired or completely replaced. What could have been a simple sewer line cleaning can turn into a major repair.

What Should You Do If You Suspect Roots in Your Sewer Lines?

You might realize that something is not quite right when you flush your toilet, and it begins to make a gurgling sound. This is often a home or business owner’s first clue that tree roots are becoming a problem. The best thing that you can do if you suspect that tree roots are in your sewer system is to call in the professionals to conduct an inspection. A plumbing contractor will use a specialized camera to get a look inside of your sewer lines. The camera not only allows them to confirm the presence of tree roots, but also to assess the types of roots that are causing the problem. This visual inspection enables contractors to form the best plan of action to tackle the problem.

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Root invasion – Wikipedia