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Surface Tree Roots

We have a silver maple (I believe) with many surface roots close to the tree and that are very large. We would like to build a low deck off our walk-out basement. Is it possible to put footers in the ground near the tree? How should we go about doing this without damaging the tree? It offers a lot of shade but is close to the house and overhangs it as well -- we definately don't want to cause any structural damage to the tree that may cause it to fall.

Thanks for your help! :)

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