How to Get Rid Of Roots in Sewer Pipelines

Tree roots can cause a lot of problems in sewage pipelines. As they grow through tiny cracks or seams in the pipes, roots can cause blockages that can be very damaging. In serious cases, roots can reduce the flow of sewage, leading to overflows, create septic pools and lead to the production of dangerous gases.

Whilst grass and garden plants have a fibrous root system that grows on the upper layers of soil, tree and woody plants have a taproot system that grows down deep into the soil in search of nutrients. Tree roots spread wide, with a primary root system growing downwards, and secondary roots spreading out horizontally.

Sewage pipelines feature perfect conditions for root growth:

  • In the winter seasons, tree roots are attracted to the warmer soil that surrounds the pipeline as sewage flows through
  • In drier months, roots seek moisture and nutrients by growing deeper

In urban areas, tree roots can struggle to find good sources of nutrients near ground level. For example, there are fewer natural nutrients from organic debris and surface water. Instead roots travel down to sewage systems in search of the oxygen-rich nutrients and water. While you may feel that there is no way that a root could grow through a ceramic or metal structure such as sewage pipeline, every pipeline has certain hairline openings, for example, connections, joints or even cracks. Roots are easily able to penetrate through such miniscule gaps.

Tree root infestations

There are two types of tree root infestations:

  • Veil root structures that penetrate pipes at the top or side and hang down like a curtain, catching organic materials, grease and all manner of debris
  • Tail root structures that grow down the pipe, filling it and causing serious blockages

Directional water cutting

At AB Pipelines, we provide the ideal solution to clearing tree root infestations. Using a high pressure water cutter, we can accurately cut away tree roots from each joint or crack in the pipe. We can establish where the source of a blockage is using one of our robotic CCTV units and then use our 10,000psi tanker jetting unit to cut away debris such as tree roots, scale and any encrustation that has formed.

As the ingress of roots can cause a lot of damage to sewage pipelines, in many cases, once root debris is cleared, pipes require relining. Pipe excavation can be extremely expensive and time consuming, however, robotic sewer structural relining systems provide a cost-effective alternative.

For more information removing tree root blockages in pipelines, you can call AB Pipeline Services on 01252 838888 or email