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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 plumbers often see a strong uptick in the number sewers clogged with tree roots during exceptionally dry seasons. Why? Unfortunately, for many homeowners, when trees aren’t getting enough water from 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.

Roots might be slow, but they are very powerful. Over time, they can infiltrate clay or concrete sewer pipes at the joints and gradually fill the pipe with roots. As these roots continue to grow, they begin to catch waste and toilet paper until a sewer clog forms and the pipe can no longer drain. These clogs then 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 and regularly maintained. 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 fuse together more tightly than clay, concrete, or iron, meaning they are less susceptible to root intrusion unless they are already damaged or separated.

On top of household backups, tree roots can cause ongoing physical damage to underground pipes if they aren’t dealt with promptly. 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. Not only does this type of damage allow even more roots inside, but it also can allow raw sewage to leach into surrounding soil.

The sewer and drain experts at Roto-Rooter are ready to resolve any sewer and drain issue you might have. If you’re concerned about the effect of dry weather on your underground plumbing, watch for clues such as multiple slow drains in the home. Then, give your local Roto-Rooter plumber a call for a video line inspection that can identify roots or other blockages in your pipes and solve the problem.

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