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How Do You Know If Tree Roots are in Your Sewer Line?

Roots seek out a sewer line

You probably don’t have the equipment to look inside your sewer lines, so how do you know if tree roots are growing into them? It is important to ask because the earlier you can catch a tree root problem in your sewer, the less serious the repair process will be. There are signs that you can look out for that may indicate that you have roots breaking into your sewer line.

Unusual Tree Health

The first sign that you have a tree growing its roots into your sewer line is that the tree itself is healthier than normal. Tree roots are drawn to sewer lines because they are excellent sources of water and nutrients. What we flush away, the tree can make great use of. So, if your tree seems to be growing as if it rained, when it hasn’t, or as if you’ve fertilized it, but you didn’t, then you may want to be suspicious of its underground activities.

Slow Drains in The House

You may also be able to spot the signs that a tree root is harming your sewers from inside of the house. Once the tree roots have grown enough to partially block the sewer line, they begin to slow the flow of your drains. Overtime, the tree roots may also cause a clog by collecting fats and other debris that makes up a typical clog. Or they may grow so large they block off the sewer all by themselves.

Sewer Smell Outside

If you move back outside, there is another sign you should look for that might indicate a sewer leak or collapse, the smell of sewage. Even a faint sewer smell in your front yard may indicate that the sewer line has been damaged. Sewer smells inside the home may indicate the same tree issue or some other kind of problem with your sewers.

Sinkholes On the Lawn

Sinkholes are spots on the ground where it seems to have collapsed down into a gap below. Small sinkholes may develop on your lawn if the roots have entirely collapsed the sewer. This gives the soil room to drop down into where the pipe once was. Sinkholes will cause complete sewer blockage and need attention quickly.

Unusual Lawn Health

When you have a very lush or bright green spot on your lawn, it typically means that one spot is getting better access to water or nutrients than the rest. Unless you spilled some fertilizer on the spot or water naturally collects there, a leak from the sewer may be the culprit.

Of course, if your lawn is already very healthy, this sign may not show up even if you have a major sewer leak. Instead, that spot may actually be too waterlogged and look less healthy than the surrounding soil.

What Do You Do Now?

If you suspect that a tree has been working its roots into your sewer line, what should you do? Your plumber can investigate the sewer for you to discover and fix the problem. At Plumbing Solutions, we offer fast and affordable sewer inspections in Concord and throughout Contra Costa, so help is never far away.