Septic, sewerage

Published on January 13th, 2013 | by Henri

0

Tree roots block sewer pipe

Q.   Last summer I had a sewer back-up into my downstairs toilet and bathroom. The plumber said it was due to roots from a tree on the side of the house. The tree is a beautiful red maple and I don’t want to remove it.

Is there something I can periodically flush in the downstairs toilet to discourage roots from invading the sewer pipe?

A.   You certainly don’t want to cut down a beautiful tree to keep its roots from clogging your sewer but if the plumber is right you have a problem with the sewer pipe. That pipe should be cast iron or PVC and — if properly installed and not rusted through, crushed or otherwise damaged — roots should not get into it.

How old is your house? It is also possible that an old type Orangeburg pipe was used and that it is failing, as they do over time. Or your sewer line may be made of clay pipe sections, and the tree roots get inside at their joints. In any of these cases, the sewer pipe should be replaced before you have more serious problems.

I assume that your plumber has run an auger through the sewer line to unclog it and it is now free of roots. Your local hardware or home store may carry Roebic Root Killer, or RD Root Destroyer. Both products claim to kill roots to clear sewer lines.

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