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Clearing and Getting Rid of Roots in Sewer Pipes

One likely cause for a stopped up drain is a backed up sewer line or clogged sewer pipe due to blockage by tree roots.

The Trouble with Tree Roots

Trees have the natural ability to seek out water and nutrients underground. The root base of a tree extends in all directions, as the tree sends out shoots from its roots to find water. The shoots are extremely fine at the tips, about the size of thin wire. They are attracted by the vapors around sewer pipes. They seek out vulnerabilities, exploiting tiny cracks in the pipes, to find ways to penetrate them.

They also attack joints where two pipes connect.

It does not take much of a crack for a shoot from a root to enter a sewer pipe. Once the shoot is inside the pipe, further damage is inevitable. The shoot grows into a fully formed root structure within the pipe, due to the massive quantities of water and nutrients that flow through the pipe. The roots are then able to block the pipes and /or crack them further open due to the continual root growth. The results are stopped up underground pipes and/or sewer lines that leak.

How to Get Rid of Roots in a Backed Up Drain Pipe

The first step that works best is to conduct a sewer pipe inspection by sending a snake video camera down into the sewer pipe from the drain located closest to the street. The video camera travels through the sewer pipe to the sewer main in the street.

Inspection Prior to Sewer Pipe Cleaning

This video footage shows where any blockages occur and/or where any penetration of roots into the sewer pipe exist that are causing the backed-up drain. This video inspection also helps determine if “rooting” (the cutting of roots from within the pipe) and/or jetting the main sewer line is the appropriate solution for a clogged sewer line.

If rooting is appropriate, the second step is to use a root-cutting device of the proper diameter that fits inside the pipe and expands exactly as needed to cut the roots by spinning within the pipe. Jetting may substitute for rooting and, in some cases, is a better solution. Jetting is useful along with rooting. Jetting out sewer lines removes any built up sludge that caused the stopped up drain.

Root Elimination and Prevention

Additionally; there are foaming chemical agents that kill roots within a sewer pipe as well as slow new root growth. The foam expands within the sewer pipe to coat the entire inside surface. To keep the sewer pipe system free of root troubles and prevent clogged pipes, these treatments are best done every six months to a year. Moreover, there are environmentally friendly products made from good bacteria and enzymes, for use once per month, to reduce sludge build up in the sewer pipes.


For over 25 years, American Jetting Services has performed commercial and industrial jetting to clear clogged or slow running sewer lines. Local experiences in Maricopa County, in the cities of Chandler, Glendale, Phoenix, Tucson, and Scottsdale, as well as others, show that removing roots and flushing out drain lines should be performed on a minimum schedule of a semi-annual basis.

Rooting is capable of removing problems caused by trees, but is not as effective in clearing other debris that builds up in sewer pipes. High-pressure water cleaning (also called water jetting) is especially good for sewer cleaning to remove sludge build up. Jetting out sewer lines works for even the toughest jobs, such as clearing a clogged grease trap.

For any commercial sewer line problems, contact American Jetting of Arizona for an evaluation.


Pain in the Drain | Tree Roots

Video: How To Cut & Remove Tree Roots From Your Sewer Pipes