Getting Rid of Tree Roots in a Sewer Line

Image of roots being removed from a sewer line. Getting rid of tree roots in a sewer line can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. This post will offer the homeowner some insight into the treatment options available for removing roots in a sewer drain line.

Trees provide us with shade on a hot day and create oxygen so that we may breath. Trees and their root system are made up of the larger perennial roots and smaller feeder root often referred to as spider roots.

Until the early 1900’s the only way to deal with roots was to cut down the tree and replace the sewage pipe. With sewer pipe depth reaching 20 feet plus, the need for another option was inevitable.

In 1920, thanks to Samuel Oscar Blanc and his invention of the sewer pipe auger device, the way we remove tree roots from sewer lines has greatly improved. The devise was designed with a long metal cable and a cutting router head at the end. The device was powered by a motor that provided the power to spin the cable cutting head chopping roots removing them from the system. Samuel Oscar Blanc device is still used to this day.

When trees are planted in the vicinity of a sewer line you can expect serious problems at some point. On average a tree that is 15 years old will begin to cause homeowner problems if it was planted in the vicinity of a sewer system. Trees have the ability to find water and nutrients no matter what the obstacle. Aggressive tree roots will penetrate any pipe joint, crack or crease in the system. Tree roots will push their way through any system until they have completely filled the pipe with roots.

Removing roots from a septic system is usually preformed with the similar auger cutting tool that Samuel Oscar Blanc invented back in the 1920’s. The cutting tool is feed into the pipe from a remote location. The toilet is typically removed from the floor so not to damage the porcelain and the steel cable is feed into the uncovered pipe. The steel cable can also be fed through a clean out usually located in the basement of your home.

After the roots have been routed out the system is then flushed with a copper sulfate or a foaming root killer such as “Root-X”. The chemicals are flushed into the system killing the exposed roots. As a preventive method, the root chemical treatment should be applied every 6 to 12 months depending on the system and how aggressive the tree roots are.

Maintaining a watchful eye on you system will save you thousands in the long run. Getting rid of tree roots in a sewer system is much easier when the system is inspected on a regular basis allowing you the homeowner to catch roots before they get out hand.

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