How to Get Rid of Tree Roots from Your Sewer and Stormwater Pipes: Rooting for Effective Solutions!

How to Get Rid of Tree Roots from Your Sewer and Stormwater pipes: Rooting for Effective Solutions!

Tree roots in sewer lines can be a real drain on the efficiency of your municipality’s wastewater management system. These pesky roots can infiltrate and obstruct sewer pipes, causing blockages, backups, and even structural damage. But fear not! In this article, we’ll explore some effective solutions for tackling tree roots in sewers, so you can keep your wastewater system flowing smoothly without any “rooty” interruptions! 

The Root of the Problem: Understanding Tree Root Infiltration in Sewers

In this section, let’s discuss how tree roots find their way into sewer pipes and cause problems. As trees grow, their roots naturally seek out sources of moisture, including the small cracks and joints in sewer pipes. Over time, the roots can penetrate the pipe walls, creating a tangled mass that obstructs the flow of wastewater. This can result in backups, overflows, and costly repairs if not addressed promptly. Check out this recent video from a plumber extracting 20 feet of tree roots from a sewer pipe here. 

Roots in sewers

Figure 1: Root ingress causing blockage 

Best Practices for Tree Root Removal from sewer pipes

To tackle tree roots in sewers, it’s important to employ effective root minimising techniques. One commonly used method is using root-minimising chemicals that are formulated to destroy tree roots while being safe for the sewer system and the environment, when used properly. These chemicals can be applied through various means, such as foams or liquids, and are typically introduced into the sewer line through access points, such as cleanouts or manholes. 

Going the Extra Mile: Preventative Measures to Keep Roots at Bay

Pipe relining

Figure 2: Spiral Wound Lining of Pipe

While eliminating existing tree roots is essential, it’s equally important to take preventive measures to keep them from coming back. One effective approach is to install sewer pipe linings, such as cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) lining, which creates a durable barrier inside the pipe, preventing tree roots from infiltrating. This method can help extend the lifespan of your sewer pipes and reduce the need for frequent root-minimising treatments.

Staying Ahead of the Game: Regular CCTV Inspections for Early Detection

Sewer pipe inspection

Figure 3: CCTV pipe inspection of post-lining work

Regular sewer CCTV inspections are a proactive approach to detect tree roots early on, before they cause significant damage. By using high-tech cameras to inspect the interior of sewer pipes, you can identify root intrusion, cracks, or other issues in real-time. This allows you to take prompt action and address the problem before it becomes a costly headache.


By employing root minimising techniques, implementing preventative measures, and conducting regular CCTV inspections, you can effectively manage and eliminate tree root intrusion in your municipality’s sewer system. So, don’t let tree roots “root” for clogs in your sewers, take action today and keep your wastewater management system flowing smoothly!

About the Author

Amanda Siqueira is an Australian civil and environmental engineer who has worked in design, construction and remediation of drainage and sewer pipes in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. She has passion for all things pipes and is also one of the Co-founders of VAPAR.


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