Q&A / 

Roots In Sewer Line Video

In the spring, trees start to bloom and grow leaves. But they also have aggressive root growth. These roots can cause problems if they work their way into your sewer line. Try this method to stop the roots from getting in the sewer line.

Use a hand operated auger to dig a 2-1/2 inch diameter hole into the ground. Then using 1-1/2 inch diameter PVC pipe with a pipe cap to drive into the ground. This pipe will be used to insert the root killing copper sulfate crystals into the ground.

Stop the drill about two feet above the sewer line. Extensions for the auger may be required to reach the desired depth. This will allow the crystals to poison the soil above and around the sewer pipe. Once the auger hole is done, drop the PVC pipe down in the hole and place the cap on it. The cap should be flush with the surrounding ground.

Pour the copper sulfate crystals down the tube and pour in some hot water. The water will help dissolve the crystals and spread them into the soil.

Some cautions before starting this job! Contact the local sewer district to help locate you sewer line. Or get a plumber who has equipment to locate sewer lines. Before you drill, be sure to locate all underground utilities, including power, telephone, cable, water lines and natural gas pipes. You don't want to hit any of these utilities. They are costly to repair if you hit one.


6 Responses to Roots In Sewer Line Video

  1. A permanent solution would be one that you don't have to repeat. What you are putting in place is something that will make this easier to do in the future.

  2. Hi Tim,
    Your CuSO4 treatment to prevent tree-root blockage was excellent--All news to me. However, I was left with one question: What soacing should the CuSO4 be installed? Thanks.

  3. Since we have a huge number of trees and a long run for our sewer line, I was able to locate a company on Angie's List that would locate all the sewer lines / gutter drain lines, etc. If you don't live in a city, your county sewer & water dept cannot help find lines on your property. I think I was originally scared that this was going to cost a lot of money, but for what we got, it was worth every penny of $550- $200 for the first hour and $125 for each hr after that (ours ended up being a little more costly because they had to clear a blockage.). They marked the sewer line from the back of the house to the front with green markers, located every turn, located and dug out every cleanout, and the depths were marked on them. They also did a complete video of the insides of the entire line with a DVD for me. Since our line is fairly recent in the past 15-20 yrs, there were absolutely no roots. There was a slight sewer blockage as the line dropped under the road out front and that clearing of the blockage was done as well. Without the blockage time in there it would have been about an hr to hr & 1/2 less in cost. They also used a small camera and water to determine the location and drainage point for our gutter drains. But for the $$, it's well worth it to have this done so you know what you're getting into. Also to use Tim's tips, you'll know where every cleanout is, and you can use those to dump in the crystals if you need them. One tip from me, I bought some PVC couplers and green PVC drain covers and created "dummy" drains above every cleanout as the small caps Tim is using here are easily covered over & forgotten. I can find every single cleanout now with ease and treat the lines in the future if it's needed. But that camera exploration was fantastic.

  4. Hi Tim, I watched with interest your video and I like your solution. I live in the Toronto area, Ontario, Canada. The culprit tree is a Manitoba Maple (weed tree). My house is 150 yrs. old and the cement joints on some of the clay piping got separated by the roots of said tree. First back-up occurred 2 weeks after moving in 2008 when I had roto-rooter in to snake the pipe...very costly for me. When the 2nd back-up occurred a friend suggested I call the town as my frontage is minimal and he said it may be on town property. It wasn't on town property...yet. However, the town did snake out the pipes and got rid of the roots temporarily. Finally, about the 5th occurrance it was on town property. They dug down in 2013 and replaced part of the clay pipe with PVC. However, we just had another back-up and the snake would not remove the roots from the PVC piping (too far along?not sure why). I am wondering what coupling, if any, they used to join the clay and PVC pipes together. My partner watched the job and said they just used strapping !!!! I have written a very strong letter to the town suggesting they take down the tree as it sits right on top of our sewer pipe and interferes with the Hydro lines. I will see what kind of response I get. Finally, my question to you is will the copper sulfate crystals affect the clay piping in any way? Thanking you in advance for your attention to this matter.

  5. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for the tips. My only question would be, what do I do if the roots are entering the pipe near the city line but still in our sewer line, which is under the pavement about 7 feet or so from our yard. This then prevents me from drilling down to where the roots are. How far would the copper leach or spread into the soil?

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.