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tree roots destroying sewer pipe

We live in a 99 year old Victorian house in Brooklyn, NY.
We have been having basement floods because of tree roots in our sewer pipes. The problem is getting worse and one of the companies who came in suggested a sewer pipe liner saying that if we don't do something soon we would have to dig up the front yard to replace the sewer pipe.
Would this work? I vaguely remember hearing that it is not very effective since it decreases the size of the sewer pipe.
Does anyone know of any other solution?
Are there any ways to seal of repair a sewer pipe from the inside?

Re: tree roots destroying sewer pipe


Did any of the drain companies run a tv camera thru the line to see how wide it is & what the drain is made of---is this connected to the city sewer system or a septic system---what kind of trees or hedges are causing the problem--are they big trees or small hedges???

Usually a line that old is made of cast iron or vitrified clay in three foot lengths---the pipe could be 4" wide or 5" wide.

Both clay & iron crack easily & clay has a lot of joints & the roots can get in.

Home Depot/Lowe's have copper sulfate crystals for $7 that you flush down the drain to kill the roots---this will work for a while, but you'll also have to cut ALL THE TREES that are causing the problem so the roots can't grow back into the lines anymore.

If simply flushing the copper sulfate down the drain doesn't work, sometimes small holes are drilled in the yard & the copper sulfate is poured down plastic pipe in the yard with water to do a better job of killing the roots---the tv camera run thru the line can usually pinpoint the exact spot where the roots are getting in.

The inner lining process WILL make the pipe diameter smaller, but if you have 5" vitrified clay & the sewer pipe isn't too long, it might be the way to go.

If the trees causing the roots are too large (instead of hedges) you may have to have the line replaced if you have just a 4" cast iron or clay sewer line now.

They would dig up the yard & put in 6" diameter SDR-35 PVC plastic pipe that comes in 10' sections that is either neophrene gasketed or solvent welded---so you wouldn't have any more trouble with roots getting in.

Get several estimates from other sewer & drain contractors before you decide.

Re: tree roots destroying sewer pipe

Thanks Jack. When the sewer company got here they found only a small amount of tree roots and a great deal of paper that contractors had thrown down the toilet. I will definitely keep your suggestions in mind if the tree root problem becomes worse.

Re: tree roots destroying sewer pipe

There is also a product you can get that will kill tree roots. You just add it through your toilet and flush. As it comes into contact with the tree roots it will kill them.

Also, most sewer lines from a house to sewer are only 4" and are in PVC for durability. It doesn't guarentee 100% no tree roots. Also, you would have to dig up the old line.

Re: tree roots destroying sewer pipe

Pipe lining is allright and you could also consider pipe bursting. Both are near premanent solutuions and are not extremely invasive. Some excavation may be require with each. or replace with traditional method of tear out and installation of PVC. Weigh the costs of managing the issue with the cystals and periodic rooting jobs or the other.

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