Alternative Sewer Line Repair Methods

Some home maintenance problems are almost inevitable. Sewer line issues may be one of these problems. If your home is old enough and has plenty of trees nearby, at some point you may have a break in your pipes due to tree roots that can lead to destructive repair or replacement methods. Fortunately, you can choose several less intrusive options to fix your sewer problems while preserving your yard. 

Copper Sulfate Treatment

Using copper sulfate treatment in your sewer lines poisons tree roots. It is especially effective on smaller roots that have penetrated the pipes and can kill them in as little as a week. The roots absorb the copper, so none of it gets to the actual tree, meaning the treatment will not harm your beautiful elms, oaks, or maples. You can use copper sulfate as a preventative measure if you simply fear that roots will block your sewer. You can regularly flush some down the toilet and even apply some outdoors if you know where your sewer lines are. Although this method is effective in a limited way, the relief it brings to your problem may only be temporary. After all, the trees will keep growing and spreading their roots. Also, the copper may not be powerful enough to handle your problem if your lines are truly choked already. 

Trenchless Repair

Traditional sewer line repair relies on digging deep and ugly trenches to access the clogged or broken lines. If you have trees and other landscaping that you prize, you may have to watch them be destroyed or at least damaged. Trenchless repair can eliminate most of this destruction. One way is to insert a flexible tube coated with resin into the sewer line. The tube is then inflated. When it dries, your sewer pipe has a brand-new lining. Pipe bursting can also be used.This technique requires far less digging than traditional replacement and involves pulling a new pipe through the old one thus "bursting" the troublesome line and leaving a new one. 

Tree roots can destroy your sewer lines, and replacing your old lines can destroy your lawn. Before you go that route, try copper sulfate to see if it can clear your pipes. If you must be more aggressive, consider using one of the trenchless methods. You will end up with new lines without sacrificing your trees and landscaping. Consult a contractor about which option will work best for you.