Thirsty Tree Roots in Sewers Due to Drought

September 16, 2015

Tree roots will seek out water and nutrients wherever they can to survive a drought. Roto-Rooter Minneapolis is seeing a strong uptick in the number sewers clogged with tree roots. Why? Unfortunately, for many homeowners, when trees aren’t getting regular rainfall, they’ll send feeder roots through the soil looking for moisture and nutrients. Often, the path of least resistance leads to underground sewer pipes.

Homeowners in the upper Midwest, particularly the state of Minnesota, are seeing this firsthand this summer as the drought-stricken region deals with its lowest amount of rainfall in quite some time. Roto-Rooter general manager, Jeff Schnabel and his team of Roto-Rooter Minneapolis plumbers were featured on KSTB, Channel 5’s newscast to discuss the phenomena. 

Roots might be slow, but they are very powerful. Over time, they will infiltrate clay or concrete sewer pipes at the joints and gradually fill the pipe with roots, which then begin to catch waste and toilet paper until a sewer clog forms and will no longer drain. This will cause drains in the house to backup with sewage creating an awful and disgusting mess.

To keep tree roots at bay and prevent sewer clogs, sewer pipes in the vicinity of trees, need to be cleaned. How often depends on the

condition of the pipeline, how many trees are nearby and the material the pipeline is made of. Modern plastic pipes usually do not have problems with root intrusion unless they are damaged or separated because plastic pipe fuses together more tightly than clay, concrete or iron pipes.

The worst situation occurs when tree roots begin to grow larger at the point of infiltration. They can slowly force pipe joints apart and even break away pieces of clay and concrete to cause large holes in the pipe that allow even more roots inside and permit raw sewage to leach into surrounding soil.

Watch the TV news story for yourself for tips and helpful information. Meanwhile, the sewer and drain experts at Roto-Rooter Minneapolis are ready to resolve any sewer and drain issue in their service territory, which covers 11 local counties in the Twin Cities area in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Keep in mind that roots behave the same way in Minneapolis as in any drought-stricken area. When it’s dry, roots may be on the move into your sewer pipes. Roto-Rooter advises homeowners to watch for clues such as multiple slow drains in the home and neighbors that have experienced sewer clogs nearby.


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