While trees add elegance to your landscape, their roots can give you a $4,000 headache if they invade and break your main sewer line.
Roots grow towards sewer pipes because they hold water, nutrients and oxygen—things roots crave.
And if the root finds a crack or leak in the pipe, they’ll creep in the pipe wall and grow into the pipe, blocking off the flow of waste into the sewer.
Want to prevent this scenario? Then read on; we’ll show you how.
First, determine where your sewer line is located.
Houses are required to have sewer clean out caps in 2 places. These are typically either white PVC or Black ABS pipes sticking out of the ground or sometimes in a recessed box in the lawn. One should be within a few feet of your foundation wall and the other should be within 13 feet of the curb. In most cases the pipe will travel underground this general line of sight.
If you do not have clean out caps they may have been buried by landscape or never installed to begin with. Before you start digging around remember to call Georgia 811 (call before you dig) to ensure you do not unknowingly damage any other unmarked utilities.
The easiest way to locate where your sewer connects to the city is to call your local Water and Sewer department. Tell them you want to know where your sewer lines are located and they will send a locator to mark the approximate location of your underground pipes where they connect to the city sewer system. This service is free!
Once you know your sewer line’s location, see if any trees are near the marks.
If trees aren’t nearby go to step 4.
If trees are nearby, go to step 2.
Now that you know a tree is near the sewer line, you need to see if roots have invaded.
The best way to do this: Get a professional plumber to inspect the sewer line using a camera probe.
While you could wait to get the inspection until you notice the signs of a sewer line break, getting the inspection now will nip problems in the bud and possibly save you thousands of dollars.
If the plumber has found a root problem, it’s time to look for solutions. There are 3 parts to this:
Worst case scenario: The pipe can’t be cleared because it’s too damaged and needs replacing.
Want to add more trees to your property? Keep the trees at least 10 feet away from the sewer line. That way it takes longer for the roots to reach the sewer line.
You should also pick a small, slow-growing ‘sewer safe’ tree. A few sewer safe trees include:
According to Clemson University, you shouldn’t plant any of these fast growing trees near the sewer line:
If you’ve found that there are trees around your sewer line, or you’re noticing the signs of a sewer line break, contact Mr. Plumber for a sewer line video inspection. We can find the problem, fix it, and—hopefully—save you thousands in sewer line damage.
Mr. Plumber is an Atlanta area plumbing contractor that can handle all of your sewer line service needs. Contact us online to ask us a plumbing question or set up an appointment.