Thirsty tree roots causing homeowners costly sewer damage

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While parts of Central Indiana got some rain Thursday, it’s not nearly enough to keep our plants and trees happy. It’s creating a big problem underground that could end up costing you thousands of dollars.

The recent drought has caused the soil to dry up and loose moisture. It has left thirsty tree roots to take advantage of old clay or cast iron pipes for a drink, eventually clogging your sewer lines.

“Tree roots in my pipes? Get out of here,” said John Foster.

Foster, the owner of Kiddie Kottage Day Care, didn’t believe it at first. He started spotting sewer problems this summer.

“Every time you flushed or run the water, I hear some gurgling,” he said.

Foster’s private daycare had to close for a few days until it was repaired. When home remedies didn’t work, he called a professional. It didn’t take long for Mr. Rooter Plumbing to dig up 25 feet of tree roots backing up Foster’s drainage.

“It’s pretty nasty,” said Mitch Carigg, Mr. Rooter Plumbing lead excavator. “Raw sewage is part of the nutrients that the tree can survive upon and they just take over.”

Mr. Rooter Plumbing said 60 percent of their calls are dealing with the problem. The damage can be costly – ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 in repairs.

“The tree roots won’t find the moisture any sooner,” said Jerome Delbridge, an arborist for Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. “If they are already taking advantage of a crack, or a faulty sewer line, they’ll continue to grow in that.”

Plumbers recommend replacing your sewer line with a PVC pipe to eliminate the problem. Homeowners should also clean sewer lines every one to two years.

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