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Tree Roots in Main sewer line

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  • May 12th, 2020 5:31 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 26, 2018
82 posts
162 upvotes
Niagara, Ontario

Tree Roots in Main sewer line

Hi everyone, hoping I can get some advice. I moved into an older home last year and have had sewer issues with backup occurring 2x. I had the line snaked and eventually they put a camera down. First plumber said it looks like a cable of some sort blocking the pipe 34ft away. 2nd guy said tree root. I attached a picture. It isn't what tree roots typically look like (not hair like). The rest of the sewer line is clear. The part that is blocked is clay pipe and it is difficult to get to because I have a stone flower bed attached the length of my home and directly under it is clay pipe. The city (or someone) replaced the rest of the clay pipe with PVC that goes to the road. I am being quoted $5000 to dig it out and repair it, the flower bed could get destroyed in process. I have weeping tile that is also connected to the sanitary sewer which I believe is now a no no, and I'm afraid that the city will force me to also get a sump pump, which is being quoted at around another $5000. I really don't know what to do. I am thinking of asking them to try to auger the line and put some copper sulfate down for prevention. I live in Ontario. Thanks for any information and advice!
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17 replies
Sr. Member
Mar 10, 2004
819 posts
304 upvotes
pancakemeow1 wrote: Hi everyone, hoping I can get some advice. I moved into an older home last year and have had sewer issues with backup occurring 2x. I had the line snaked and eventually they put a camera down. First plumber said it looks like a cable of some sort blocking the pipe 34ft away. 2nd guy said tree root. I attached a picture. It isn't what tree roots typically look like (not hair like). The rest of the sewer line is clear. The part that is blocked is clay pipe and it is difficult to get to because I have a stone flower bed attached the length of my home and directly under it is clay pipe. The city (or someone) replaced the rest of the clay pipe with PVC that goes to the road. I am being quoted $5000 to dig it out and repair it, the flower bed could get destroyed in process. I have weeping tile that is also connected to the sanitary sewer which I believe is now a no no, and I'm afraid that the city will force me to also get a sump pump, which is being quoted at around another $5000. I really don't know what to do. I am thinking of asking them to try to auger the line and put some copper sulfate down for prevention. I live in Ontario. Thanks for any information and advice!
How do u know when it gets backed up? Do you have a backflow valve?
Having no experience, before augering again out of necessity i would probably want to have a better idea of what the obstruction is. Maybe submit request to https://www.ontarioonecall.ca/homeowners/ to find out what is buried and where? I d also consider renting a camera from home depot so i could have a better look. It may be worth contacting the city too but i d wait on other responses about that.
Jr. Member
Feb 28, 2018
179 posts
116 upvotes
Waterloo region
Bette4 call ontario one call for locates... it’s possibly a gas service through the sewer.. cross bore... google Xbore
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 26, 2018
82 posts
162 upvotes
Niagara, Ontario
tempperm wrote: How do u know when it gets backed up? Do you have a backflow valve?
Having no experience, before augering again out of necessity i would probably want to have a better idea of what the obstruction is. Maybe submit request to https://www.ontarioonecall.ca/homeowners/ to find out what is buried and where? I d also consider renting a camera from home depot so i could have a better look. It may be worth contacting the city too but i d wait on other responses about that.
I had sewage backup in my basement shower the 2 times it backed up. I did have locates done, and there doesn't seem to be any lines buried anywhere close to the area - I'm wondering if it could be an old old line that is no longer used or something? I literally have zero experience with this.
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 26, 2018
82 posts
162 upvotes
Niagara, Ontario
tralexus1 wrote: Bette4 call ontario one call for locates... it’s possibly a gas service through the sewer.. cross bore... google Xbore
ugh that looks bad. From google all those pipes look very straight though and the picture in mine it looks curved. The locates I got back are clear, but I am still hesitant to auger it as it just doesn't look like a tree root to me. I'm not an expert at all though.
Sr. Member
Mar 10, 2004
819 posts
304 upvotes
pancakemeow1 wrote: I had sewage backup in my basement shower the 2 times it backed up. I did have locates done, and there doesn't seem to be any lines buried anywhere close to the area - I'm wondering if it could be an old old line that is no longer used or something? I literally have zero experience with this.
I would consider renting a camera. Identify what it is first then you can decide on next steps. Hopefully it is in fact just a root. Not sure about the quality of the camera though.
Jr. Member
Feb 28, 2018
179 posts
116 upvotes
Waterloo region
pancakemeow1 wrote: ugh that looks bad. From google all those pipes look very straight though and the picture in mine it looks curved. The locates I got back are clear, but I am still hesitant to auger it as it just doesn't look like a tree root to me. I'm not an expert at all though.
if you have locates ,then its not gas. if the gas and sewer cross within 1.0 m of each other (vertically or any doubt), it would be flagged to Enbridge, and you would not have a locate clearance.. note . gas lines are not always straight as can be plastic. service to a residential house is normally 1/2" plastic which is about the diameter of your finger and really flexable..
Sr. Member
Mar 10, 2004
819 posts
304 upvotes
tralexus1 wrote: if you have locates ,then its not gas. if the gas and sewer cross within 1.0 m of each other (vertically or any doubt), it would be flagged to Enbridge, and you would not have a locate clearance.. note . gas lines are not always straight as can be plastic. service to a residential house is normally 1/2" plastic which is about the diameter of your finger and really flexable..
So what would u suggest as next step?
Jr. Member
Feb 28, 2018
179 posts
116 upvotes
Waterloo region
post your locates.. if they are clear, then auger the sewer lateral...
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 2, 2009
1890 posts
440 upvotes
I don’t think that is a gas line running through your sewer line, gas lines are not buried 8’ deep , if it was a root there would be little feeder roots attached to it. It is pretty hard to tell what it is , it almost looks like a stick that is stuck sideways. I would use an electric root cutter that has blades on it that spins while it goes down the sewer line and dislodges that stick.
Jr. Member
Feb 28, 2018
179 posts
116 upvotes
Waterloo region
rotjong wrote: I don’t think that is a gas line running through your sewer line, gas lines are not buried 8’ deep , if it was a root there would be little feeder roots attached to it. It is pretty hard to tell what it is , it almost looks like a stick that is stuck sideways. I would use an electric root cutter that has blades on it that spins while it goes down the sewer line and dislodges that stick.
Your rite, gas lines are not normally 8’deep. But then sewer laterals are not always 8’ deep, especially close to the house..
It does look like a root to me. I have been involved with a couple of cross bores, although it’s not a thing i see every day. Few and far between.
My only advice is, make sure you have locates... it’s a free service, don’t take any chances...
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 26, 2018
82 posts
162 upvotes
Niagara, Ontario
tralexus1 wrote: Your rite, gas lines are not normally 8’deep. But then sewer laterals are not always 8’ deep, especially close to the house..
It does look like a root to me. I have been involved with a couple of cross bores, although it’s not a thing i see every day. Few and far between.
My only advice is, make sure you have locates... it’s a free service, don’t take any chances...
So I had someone try and auger the line today. It would not cut!! Can't be tree root! What the hell is it??? They only say next step is to dig.. I really don't want to dig. How strong are these augers? I thought they would be able to cut through almost anything??
Deal Expert
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Oct 6, 2010
15507 posts
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Toronto
Not if it's metal.
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Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 13, 2004
13086 posts
4694 upvotes
Ontario
How deep is that line? if its not crazy deep I would consider doing it myself to save all that money. Get a friend or two to help out and provide food/beer.
pancakemeow1 wrote: So I had someone try and auger the line today. It would not cut!! Can't be tree root! What the hell is it??? They only say next step is to dig.. I really don't want to dig. How strong are these augers? I thought they would be able to cut through almost anything??
Jr. Member
Feb 28, 2018
179 posts
116 upvotes
Waterloo region
sickcars wrote: How deep is that line? if its not crazy deep I would consider doing it myself to save all that money. Get a friend or two to help out and provide food/beer.


if you look on the picture it says 4.5' / 1.2m... not sure if that's the depth or the distance the sond is out from the machine..
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 13, 2004
13086 posts
4694 upvotes
Ontario
yes it could be.

If it is 1.2m that would not be to bad to Dig out and check a look then hire somebody to come repair/replace the pipe if needed.
tralexus1 wrote: if you look on the picture it says 4.5' / 1.2m... not sure if that's the depth or the distance the sond is out from the machine..
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 15, 2007
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tralexus1 wrote: if you look on the picture it says 4.5' / 1.2m... not sure if that's the depth or the distance the sond is out from the machine..
Distance from reel
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[OP]
Newbie
Mar 26, 2018
82 posts
162 upvotes
Niagara, Ontario
they say it is about 5-6 feet down, and 6 feet from the clean out. We spent all weekend ripping out the floors to find the clean out (5 layers of floor on top of it) Good times... We are considering digging ourselves. I just find it insane that this wire/cable thing was so close to my sewer line and this has happened. Very frustrating the amount of money, time and effort a little line is causing.

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