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  • 25 Oct 2014

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Trees threatening sewer lines

by: KOIN NEWS 6 - Arborist Terry Briar of Davey Tree Company warns about tree roots gettng into sewer pipes.Trees and bushes that would normally feed on rainwater are now looking for water wherever they can find it — and that includes the sewer line from your house.

Thin hair-like roots line sewer pipes and eventually clog them.

Jesse Murdock of Clog Pro in Vancouver told KOIN 6 News roots are particularly aggressive in looking for sewer water this year because it is often the only water in the ground.

“In my 13 years of doing this, this year has definitely been one of the more aggressive years I’ve noticed with roots and the only thing that makes sense is that its been so dry,” he said.

The thirsty tree limbs and root system find the water by actually breaking through the sewer lines coming out of houses more than six feet below the ground.

The roots bore through old sewer pipe joints at the rate of as much as an inch a day when they’re really thirsty. They grow onto the inside wall of the pipe and eventually clog it.

Unclogging the drain costs several hundred dollars — but repairing a line damaged by roots could cost several thousand dollars.

Arborist Terry Briar of the Davey Tree Expert Company told KOIN 6 News the dry east wind is making things even worse on trees and dries them out even more. As trees come under more stress, he said, they’ll be more prone to disease and other bad things this summer and beyond.

“If we don’t see rain, instead of having six inches of new growth this spring we might only have two inches of new growth.”