Q:

How do you remove tree roots from a sewer line?

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Quick Answer

To remove tree roots from sewer lines and prevent new growth there are several options such as chemical and mechanical solutions that treat the problems in and around the pipes, as well as more complex solutions which involve cutting the root system so that root extensions die and can be more easily removed. All of these techniques require significant time, energy and can be costly. A final option for pipes that have undergone extensive damage is to replace them.

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How do you remove tree roots from a sewer line?
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Full Answer

  1. Remove roots mechanically

    Several techniques can be used to remove roots mechanically with cutters and augers or by pushing or pulling them through the sewer pipes. These methods address the problem for the moment, but they do not prevent roots from growing into the lines afterward.

  2. Use chemicals

    Chemicals, such as copper sulfate and foaming agents, kill roots within hours, but will take some time for the roots to fully whither and be flushed away. Foaming agents line the pipes so than copper sulfate and offer longer-lasting protection against new growth.

  3. Line pipes

    Once the pipes have been cleared of roots, there are options to prevent future growth that involve creating a barrier against the roots. A process called slip-lining involves feeding a seamless liner through the pipes. Inflatable liners can also be inserted as a barrier.

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