Serving San Diego's Plumbing Needs for Over 25 Years

Tree Roots Growing into Sewer Lines

One of the most typical local Plumbing problems we see with sewer lines are tree roots growing into them and busting the pipe. The plant’s roots are looking for water and a plumbing pipe buried underground is the perfect source. The flow of warm water inside sewage system water pipes creates vapor to leave to the colder soil surrounding the pipe. Tree roots expand toward the vapor to the point of its source. The source of the vapor is generally a crack in the pipe or a loosened joint. As soon as the plant roots reach the crack or loosened joint, they will certainly expand with the opening to get to the abundant nutrients and wetness within. Once inside the pipe, the roots will certainly continue to grow, and if not disrupted, they will inevitably completely fill the pipe with hair-like root system masses. These masses could act as an internet as they catch house fats, oils, oil, grit (FOGG), cells paper, and other debris discharged from the house. Tree roots growing inside sewage system pipes are one of the most pricey local plumbing problems problems experienced by our clients.

If you have trees and shrubs in your yard their roots are going to look for water. One place these roots typically grow toward are sewer lines. These roots can create significant damage not only to your sewer line but to your home as well. Worst of all, this type of damage is seldom covered by your homeowner’s insurance and can cost you thousands of dollars.

Types of Water Damage

Your pipes are a plentiful supplier of the water, nutrients, and the necessary oxygen that roots crave. And once a root finds a leak, it will quickly grow into the pipe and impede the flow of waste, triggering obstructions, cracked pipes and more serious headaches for homeowners. It is important that property owners find out how to prevent this type of catastrophic water damage when planting trees and taking care of pipes.

Know Where to Locate the Sewer Linestree roots and sewer line repair San Diego CA

To understand how tree roots and sewer lines engage, you must first know what “a sewer lateral” is. A sewer lateral is the stretch of sewer pipe that stretches from your foundation to the municipal sewer line under the street. Most municipalities will not repair or otherwise take responsibility for cracked or clogged up sewer laterals. In most municipalities, homeowners are even liable for taking care of and fixing the section of the lateral that is under the street or sidewalk.

Homeowners can call their local public works department or the national 811 “Call Before You Dig” phone numbers to find the location of underground utilities. It’s usually a really good tip to know just where pipes, lines, and cables are buried prior to carrying out any landscaping or planting.


There are two main things that can go wrong with a sewer line:

  • Cracks, particularly in old pipes
  • Clogs


Regrettably, the second is the more likely offender for any problems you have or may have. And while many clogs can be avoided, a few can’t be prevented or even anticipated. In truth, tree roots are one of the most common reasons of fractured or clogged pipes. And even though a few practical plumbers may anticipate backup or leakage and recommend a repair before calamity strikes, this does not always pan out.

Prevent Root Growth with a Barrier Between Trees and Sewer Lines

A number of kinds of barriers are available to prevent root growth into sewer lines. Slow-release chemicals, such as copper sulfate and potassium hydroxide, are frequently applied in residential locations. Spread these growth inhibitors close to the sewer line to stop root growth into the place. Metal or wooden barricades embedded 6 to 12 inches deeper than the pipe and running vertically next to sewer lines will additionally stop roots from getting at the pipes.

Plant Trees and Shrubs that Will Not Clog Your Pipes

Being smart about the way you plan landscaping is the best way to stay clear of problems and expensive repair bills. Limit the amount of trees you put close to sewer lines. Plant larger trees far enough away from sewer lines so the roots are not actually within range of the pipes. Select slow-growing trees with a small root ball if you do plant near sewer lines.

Know the Warning Signs

Drain obstructions occur. For sporadic clogs, there really are simple remedies to clear a drain that almost all homeowners might attempt. But if your drains clog regularly, it might be a sign of a bigger problem. Root damage to sewer lines leads to clogged, overflowing, and slow-flowing drains, sometimes accompanied by a gurgling sound coming from the toilet.

Inspection and Maintenance of Sewer Lines

When drains clog frequently, are certainly hard to clear, and produce gurgling sounds, contact a plumber to have the drain and sewer lines checked out. A plumber can examine your drainpipes by running a camera probe through them to find compromised areas. Once the check up is finished, the local plumber will make suggestions. For places with significant tree-root damage, the lines may really need to be repaired.

To prevent notable sewer repair services, clean sewer lines regularly and inspect the structure of the pipes. Routine maintenance and clearing the lines prevents root growth within the pipes. Sewer-line maintenance involves threading a cable through the sewer pipe that slices through any type of clogs or tree roots and cleans up the sewer pipe to the inner walls.

One of the sure signs that you have an issue with your sewer lines is that multiple plumbing fixtures are backing up, such as a sink, toilet and shower. Call Black Mountain Plumbing, Inc today (858) 536-4161 for all your local plumbing issues.

Serving San Diego and San Diego County for over 25 years with quality work and great service. We also service these cities – El Cajon, La Mesa, Lakeside, Poway, Ramona, Santee, Pacific Beach, La Jolla, University City, Tierrasanta, Rancho Penasquitos, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Leucadia, Sorrento Valley, Miramar, Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch, Vista, Carlsbad, San Marcos, Fairbanks Ranch, 4S Ranch, and Sabre Springs.

Posted on by bmpadm in Water Leaks, Sewer