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Remember Your Roots and Sewer Pipe

Remember Your Roots and Sewer Pipe

advice from a tree

The well-known poem by Ilan Shamir entitled, “Advice from a Tree®” lists wisdom for life and for your underground pipes, namely the sewer pipeline — In this shortened version, let’s take a deeper look at #3: Remember Your Roots…

Several factors can cause a pipe to develop a crack or small leak, but at Pipe Spies, Inc.® we find the most common reason is the natural shifting and movement of soil as it shrinks during droughts and swells when re-hydrated. Once a pipe develops a leak, the roots seek out the source and grow into the pipe.

One of the major misconceptions currently widespread to the general public is that the most common cause of breakage (specifically clay pipe material) is by tree root infiltration. We have 1,000’s of hours of video footage showing just the opposite.

Let’s be honest, if root infiltration were the main cause of sewer pipe leaks, cracks or breaks, then all sewers would need to be replaced today. Not so. This kind of message and dishonesty is perpetuated as a scare tactic by some who also perform repairs and excavations. There is, however, still a chance that roots can cause damage if the roots, once entering the line are left for decades to grow.

With periodic and proper maintenance roots can be maintained. As most residential homes have a 4″ diameter sewer line, a reputable drain cleaning company will use a 3″ to 4″ cutting blade (not a 2″ cheaper blade) to properly clean the sewer line.

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Also, proper drain cleaning should be completed by pulling a toilet or preferably accessing a MAIN CLEAN OUT. A secondary line, such as a kitchen line or floor drain SHOULD NOT be accessed in order to properly perform this cleaning.

When considering what type of trees to plant in your yard this spring, choose slow-growing trees which generally have less destructive roots than those that grow quickly.

According to these 4 trees are the worst offenders when it comes to root invasion:

  • Hybrid Poplars
  • Willows
  • American Elm
  • Silver Maple

Before planting a tree, find out about the nature of its root system, and keep these points in mind:

  • All trees should be planted 10 feet from the foundation of a property.
  • Keep trees with spreading, water-hungry roots 20 to 30 feet from water and sewer lines.
  • Plant trees at least 10 feet from driveways, sidewalks and patios.

If you suspect root infiltration in your mainline sewer, what should you do? Do your due diligence and obtain a sewer video pipe inspection from a reputable, truly unbiased source:

  • A company with “no skin in the game,”
  • That does not perform repairs,
  • Receives no financial kickbacks or referral fees,
  • BUT gives a professional, experienced and honest opinion of your sewer pipeline’s condition.

More about this subject in my next blog.

For now, REMEMBER YOUR ROOTS, plant wisely, or plan on sewer line maintenance down the road.

For now, as a company we’ll take some advice from a tree in how we conduct business by continuing to Stand Tall and Proud, Go Out on a Limb, and Enjoy the View each and every day, and we hope you do too!

Call 303-795-3630 to experience first-hand the quality of our work and what sets Pipe Spies, Inc.® apart from the “other sewer guys.”

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