Tree Root in Sewage Line


Old 03-05-03, 07:25 AM
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Tree Root in Sewage Line

The sewage pipe between my house and street sewer has tree root intrusion. This was discovered about 3 years ago and since then we have 2 stoppage that I declogged using electric cable drum takes me about 30 min each time. I also use the root killer chemical once a year.

My question is:
How long can I live without replacing the pipe? Keep in mind I can borrow the machine from a friend for free.

If I have to replace the pipe...about 50 ft, what kind of cost are we talking about, anyone have an idea?

And, is this a project for DIY?

Thanks for reply,
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Old 03-05-03, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
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It depends on how bad the intrusion is. If you can get the machine for free I would clear it at least once a year before you get clogs.
Cost of repair depends on where you live. How deep is the pipe? In my town most people have basements and the pipes are 8-10 feet down. If you are on a slab in warm climate then the pipe might be 2 feet down. You could dig that by hand.
Old 03-05-03, 08:25 AM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northeastern NC On The Albemarle Sound
Posts: 10,952

Not a normal DIY project.
Replacing a main drainpipe to a public sewer line normally is a problem because it can be buried so deep that it takes a backhoe to dig it out, and that can also be a trench-collapse hazard.
You will have root problems about every year or two until you replace it.
Check with your Sewer Department and Building Inspection Department for code, permit and inspection requirements.
If allowed where you're at, go with black plastic ABS or white plastic PVC. Glued plastic is not sectional once it it glued together, like cast iron.
Cost varies too much from place to place. You need to get three quotes.
Good Luck!
Old 03-05-03, 09:13 AM
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I do live in a warm climate where is is only buried 2 feet (or less?) Would this still be to much for a typically DIYer?
Old 03-05-03, 09:56 AM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northeastern NC On The Albemarle Sound
Posts: 10,952

Nope. Shallow drain pipe is relatively easy to replace.
Just make sure that it has the 1/4" per linear foot of drain slope, and that you get all necessary permits and inspections.
Good luck!
Old 03-05-03, 10:27 AM
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You may want to consider having a plumbing or drain service company televise the sewer first, in many cases the root intrusion only affects a short run of the sewer, the usual cases I see only require removing and replacing 10 feet or less. Could save a lot of digging. Good advice on checking on local requirements, the town I work for requires this type of work be done by a licensed plumber and sewer must be 6" SDR 26 PVC with rubber mission band connections, also they require an escrow for digging in the right of way. Good luck
Old 03-06-03, 03:22 PM
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It's not a permanent solution, but it will allow you time to investigate the best way to go about handling the issue. I too used to live in a home where the sewer lines were inflitrated by tree roots and we had to call in a plumber a couple times a year to snake the line.

The very last time we called a plumber, an older man showed up and offered this easy and relatively inexpensive solution to our problem ...

Once a month we flushed 2 cups of water softner salt down the toliet closest to the outlet point of the sewer line. In our case, it was the basement toliet. The salt would cause the tree roots to pull back out of the sewer line, ending our need to snake the line.

Good luck!
Old 03-06-03, 04:48 PM
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Thanks for all the helpful inputs. My sewage pipe is relatively more than 1-2'..I guess that's way it is here in central NC.
kc_w: very interesting! using salt.. how is it compared to "Root-Killer ( the label indicated it is "Dichlorobenil" whatever this is). Have you tried that or other chemical?
I wonder if salt works why do we use these harsh chemicals?
Any comments?
Old 03-07-03, 03:42 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
The guys have covered all of the bases regarding the sewer line and how to maintain, repair, or replace it.

In response to your last question -- "I wonder if salt works why do we use these harsh chemicals? " -- For the same reason the soccer mom needs a 3 ton, 4 wheel drive, diesel SUV to drive her kid(s) 4 blocks to the soccer field!!

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