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4just1don 08-15-2009 08:42 AM

removing tree roots from sewer tile
good news,bad news,,,

camera says sewer line is in good shape, no cracks or defects,its clay tile once I get a few feet from house. Good news is it is NOT orangeburg which I was told most these houses of this age were.

Bad news is it is not deep enough to allow below basement line level. other bad news is the line has LOTS of tree roots the camera guy said needs removing. Then he said to use root-x

I have never rented a sewer cleaning machine,does it clean tree roots effectively? Does removing them help get rid of them or would the root x take them out?

its an easy 30-40 foot straight run to middle of street,,,any other options? Access is best possible too,basement end off for construction so unobstructed straight shot in,not even a cleanout to fight.

last piece of pipe in basement is cast so that is coming off and plastic installed for line thru new to yet be built basement block wall,,,about waist high from floor. Stainless steel clamp with rubber inside to transition from plastic to clay tile?? Guess I get out the trusty dusty spade and start digging

Plumber101 08-15-2009 04:16 PM

Root X

plumber Jim 08-15-2009 11:17 PM

If you have alot of roots you need to cable it first before using root killer. It can be dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. Get a pro to clean the drain then start with the root x

LateralConcepts 09-10-2010 06:53 PM


camera says sewer line is in good shape, no cracks or defects,

other bad news is the line has LOTS of tree roots the camera guy said needs removing. Then he said to use root-x
These two statements are basically contradictory. If you have "LOTS of tree roots" that means there are defects in the line.

Sounds as though you have vitrified clay pipe which has bell and spigot type joints approx. 2-3' lengths. Over all the decades it has been in the ground it has settled, shifted, and/or cracked leaving offset joints. Thus, water/sewage leaks into the ground. Trees will flourish with the nourishment of water and "fertilizer".

Cleaning the pipe with a cable and blades is the first step of course to get it clear enough for a visual with a video camera. Now there are several options. In my experience I've found that root killers simply don't work. This will be an ongoing problem or maintenance issue unless repaired or replaced. Certainly may be maintainable however. The apparent severity or structural integrity of the pipe can vary obviously by whom you speak with. Obviously a technician with a back-hoe will tell you it should be excavated and replaced as soon as possible. A technician without a back-hoe that makes his money cleaning pipes and selling chemicals may tell you it can be "treated" or maintained.

Now it comes down to whether it's worth it to YOU... would you rather keep messing with it "maintenance wise" or would you rather have the peace of mind that it has been properly fixed?

A proper fix would involve, either:

Conventional excavation - digging a trench and laying new PVC

Bursting - Dig at each end and pull a new poly line underground with hydrolics (follows path of old line, so if there are belly's; not a good option, and may not be allowed by the city)

Lining - Resin soaked fiberglass liner blown into the line sealing off the joints (also follows the path of the old line, and will just cover the large offsets, but greatly increase flow characteristics.)

Possibly a combination of the above - If your responsibility lies under the paved city street then conventional excavation from the house to the curb and lining under the street may be more cost effective.

Ultimately whatever you choose; the idea of course, is to seal it so water and sewage can't drain into the surrounding soil. Thus, keeping the roots out and the aquifer clean

EDIT - As far as your question regarding a sewer cleaning machine (main line machine). They are best left to the professionals to handle. Extremely dangerous! If you're not properly trained, you can wrap yourself up potentially breaking an arm... or worse.

El Cheapo 09-10-2010 07:23 PM

use single blade on end of cable , tighten cable up slowly gently pull roots out

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