How To Deal With Tree Roots In Your Sewer System

When you have a septic tank in your yard, one thing you have to watch for is root invasion. Roots do a lot of damage to sewer pipes and septic tanks. Here's a look at why roots are such a problem and what you can do to control them.

Why Roots Are Such A Danger

Tree roots seek water and nutrients, and those two things are plentiful in a septic tank and sewer pipe. The roots might have difficulty getting in the pipe at first, but the tiny roots can wiggle into pipe seams and begin to flourish. As the roots get stronger and bigger, they push the seam apart and let in more roots. The roots can even crack a plumbing pipe. 

A collapsed pipe allows sewage to leak in your yard, so it has to be repaired. Roots create clogs in your septic system even when they're still small because they trap paper and other solid waste. Given enough time, the roots multiply and completely fill the pipe causing a massive block. Roots do similar damage to a septic tank by causing clogs and damage that's expensive to repair.

How Tree Roots Are Removed From Pipes

A septic service professional can clean out the pipe by using a water jet or sewer snake. These tools chop up or blast away roots, so they flush through the system. A camera inspection is often done at the same time in case the pipe is damaged, and repairs need to be done. If a pipe is cracked or collapsed, the plumber might pull a liner through it to create a new pipe inside the old one. Your septic tank might need inspected, cleaned, and repaired to get rid of roots that clog the system.

How To Prevent Tree Root Problems

One way to eliminate a problem with tree roots is to keep trees far away from your sewer line. Grow only grass above the tank and septic field, so you don't have to worry about roots. If you have mature trees near the tank already, talk to an arborist about ways to control the roots without harming the trees. Digging a trench to reach the roots so you can trim them and insert a metal barrier is a possible option. Also, be sure to keep your plumbing pipes in good repair. Pipes can crack from soil movement or old age. When a sewer pipe leaks, it attracts tree roots. As long as a pipe is leaking, it may be difficult to keep roots out.

For more information, contact your local sewer services.