Sewer lines are absolutely vital and possibly one of the most important inventions in human society. However, just because they’re critical doesn’t mean they’re immune to problems that tend to plague man-made systems.
One such problem is root intrusion. This fancy term just refers to tree roots growing into sewer lines. This can cause severe damage to your sewer system. In fact, because of the nature of tree roots, you can expect significantly long growth and spread-out system disruption.
The problem starts when a tree root penetrates a small hole within a drainage pipe and from there, stretches out and intermingles with the pipes over long distances, whether under residential or industrial structures.
Here’s what you can do to prevent this from happening – and if it gets too complicated, you can always call in a professional plumber.
Determine Where the Sewer Line Is Located
Before doing anything you need to know exactly where the problems could occur. This means identifying the location of the sewer line – but that doesn’t mean dowsing for sewage.
In fact, the solution is as simple as picking up the phone and contacting your local water and sewer department. Tell them you want to know where your lines are located. From there you can expect them to send out a locator who will be able to mark exactly where your underground pipes are lying as well as where they connect to the larger sewer infrastructure.
Make a Barrier
The easiest way to prevent roots from growing too deep is also one of the most straightforward. Simply put, all you need to do is create some sort of barrier between the trees and the sewer lines. However, this barrier doesn’t have to be an actual physical wall.
One of the many options available for this method is a slow-release chemical solution – specifically designed for residential properties. The chemicals effectively prevent root growth near the sewer line, reducing the possibility of tree roots entering the pipe through gaps and holes. Apply the chemicals and from there you’re good to go. Of course, there is more that can be done to guarantee protection.
Plant Sewer-Friendly Trees
One of these alternate methods goes back to the root, so to speak. When you’re deciding on what trees to plant on your property it’s worth considering how likely they are to grow outwards into pipes.
If you choose a sewer-safe tree that grows slowly with minimal root balls or spread, you can rest easy knowing that you’re protected. If you choose a slow-enough growing option then you can even plant them next to the sewer line. Even if you really want taller and more sweeping trees on your property, that’s not a problem. Just make sure you plant the trees as far away from the sewer lines as possible.
Know the Signs
If all else fails, it pays to know what to look for so you can identify problems before they get too serious. This means knowing the signs of sewer line damage so you can spring into action early instead of waiting until it’s too late. Drain clogs, for instance, can be repaired quite easily but left untreated, they can lead to clogged sewer lines, resulting in overflowing or slow-flowing drains. One tell-tale sign is gurgling sounds from your toilet. If you take notice of these early warning symptoms, you’ll catch the problem early on.
Regular Inspection and Maintenance
A broader strategy you can take is to invest in regular inspection and maintenance. This isn’t something you should do yourself. In fact, it’s best to call in a professional plumber.
While there is an upfront cost, look at this maintenance fee as a future investment that will pay off by preventing much more costly repairs in the long run.
Basically, it’s important to create a routine habit of calling professionals and getting your lines checked and maintained. This is just good practice even if you’re not worried about preventing root growth as it can detect other problems early on if any part of your system needs replacement.
There’s a lot you can do to prevent root growth in your pipes. From the basics of locating the pipes and placing down barriers, to more proactive goals of investing in maintenance and using smaller trees, there’s sure to be something that will help you out. Tree roots can adapt and grow to new environments very fast, so if you suspect that tree root intrusion has altered the flow of your drainage pipes, it is essential to act quickly.