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Roots in six-inch main sewer line

Steve_210Steve_210 Member Posts: 590
We do not do a lot of this work. So I'm looking for advice on how to direct my customer best.
We have spent approximately 20 man hours using Ridgid 750 with root cutting heads also video And taking pictures of the problems.
Two separate days, yesterday's video shows six joints where the roots are growing through, when it hits the seventh camera will not past that point. The first day we only got past the third. Pipe is Clay and I can see from videos and pictures we have substantially removed a lot of the roots.
I have already told the customer the only permanent solution is to replace the line (they are getting prices from subservice companies). Has anybody got good experiences with chemical treatment ? If so can you recommend a brand ?
I am reluctant to suggest jetting the line, if the drain were to collapse, it becomes a dire emergency and the company that manages the building are good customers of ours.
Also has anybody had good experience with the sleeve that you pull in the line. We do not own a jetter and we would not attempt to install the sleeve but the management company relies greatly on us for device.
The trouble with an Internet search is a lot of the time it's a sales pitch and I have no way of knowing how good it actually is.

Comments

  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    I wouldn't use any chemicals in the drain. Where I lived, the town had many, many old elm trees. The roots got into pld clay pipes and the town was convinced that the salvation was this powder in a 5 gallon plastic bucket. It removed the roots overnight. Within another week or so, the leaves started falling off, and within a month, they were cutting the trees down.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    If you can get it clear, and the line is in good shape. Might just need to do yearly maintinence rodding to keep it clear if they do not want to do a new line.
    j a_2
  • wogpa67wogpa67 Member Posts: 238
    Those roots will be back in a couple months.
    I had a 4" clay sewer line and I ended up replacing it to the lateral.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    I have same issue personal residence. Depends on the rain fall. Some time its 2 years, some times yearly. Usually winter time it rears its ugly head.
  • Steve_210Steve_210 Member Posts: 590
    Thanks ice, I wonder if it was the quantity are the type of chemical used.
  • Steve_210Steve_210 Member Posts: 590
    I meant to say or the type of chemical used,
    Cannot seem to edit my post, thanks guys
  • RobGRobG Member Posts: 1,850
    If the company wanted me to put any guarantee on it the only thing I would recommend would be total replacement. If the company is willing to keep paying the bills they will have to be on a routine maintenance schedule with no guarantee. I don't know the details but a sewer replacement is usually the best option.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    If it will kill roots, it will kill trees. Trust me. I know.

    If your serious about this, and you have the equipment, it's an easy fix. It just depends on the damage that you have to do. If the customer doesn't care about the damage, and whatever, you don't care, let the other guy do it. My situations were always going to be long term, and I didn't want to do any street openings. You have the equipment to identify the bad spots. If it is on the property, and you don't want to get into the street, I always dig it up at the first bad one as close to the house as possible, I dug it up and usually found a broken clay hub. I enlarged the hole and pulled the roots out. Once I did that, it was easy to pull roots back from other places. I have photos of a place that had a problem with roots for years. It had been rodded out for years. It was sort of a joke. When I took on the house, I inherited all the old problems. Including the sewer. The owner had been quoted over $20,000 to replace the sewer from the house, through the driveway, and into a stone paver street. The driveway was between two houses and brick. Once you get the sewer cleaned out, I put a "Mini-Man-Hole over the first hole, cement a piece of 10" SDR pipe and put a 12" round irrigation box over it. It sits flush with the grade. If you get another blockage, you just take your machine, pop the cover, and rod away. If you have a seriously smashed joint, replace the pipe or put in another manhole. Having quick and easy access is the key. If you have to give it a tune up cleaning every 2 or 3 years, the customer won't care. Especially if someone doesn't come in and destroy the landscaping.

    Once I got on to this, every sewer I ever dug up, I put a Mini-Manhole on it. So I didn't ever have to play with my Earth Guitar again. My Ridgid/Kollman 1500 is a one man tool. With a camera, you can make it a fine thing. I'll post photos if you like.
  • Steve_210Steve_210 Member Posts: 590
    That's pretty much what I told them Rob thanks,
    I just wondered about the use of chemicals or the sleeve inside the pipe.
    They have asked me about book and I really don't have enough experience with either to answer.
  • RobGRobG Member Posts: 1,850
    What is the sewer location? What kind of obstacles would you have to go through to replace it? How deep is it? In my area most of the time the city's lateral comes to the property line. Sometimes a couple of sidewalk slabs have to be broken out but they are easy to replace.
  • Steve_210Steve_210 Member Posts: 590
    Thanks guys, Job is in New York City I cannot get into digging the street or sidewalk nor do I want to.
    If It has to be dug up it's got to be done by a subservice plumbing company.I know we don't talk pricing here but you're talking at least 20 K.
    I just want to give the customer some options I do believe if we were to spend another 5 to 8 hours there I could get the line clear of roots, but I cannot guarantee results.
    I just watched the videos from yesterday there are seven joints where we have cleared partially.
    When we get to the eighth the camera will not even go through.
    Camera with guides is about an inch and three quarters diameter
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    How the heck have they been able to use the service to this point??
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    My situation is similar in that my service goes out the back of my house 60' to the alley, and turns 90 degrees goes another 165' to the street. The city informed me the 165 under the alley is my baby even though they chip and seal the alley, and plow it! So to replace my line involves tearing up the alley, and maintaining access for other alley users until recon is complete. My water does the same thing but goes to the opposite street at the other end of the alley similar distance.

    The things you don't think about, or assume when doing a home purchase. My Grand parents built the home some sentimental value for me. So at 5 figures for recon 300 bucks a year is pretty cost effective for me until catastrophic failure.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    Oh yeah my line is 22' deep by the time it hits the street.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    edited March 2015
    icesailor said:

    I wouldn't use any chemicals in the drain. Where I lived, the town had many, many old elm trees. The roots got into pld clay pipes and the town was convinced that the salvation was this powder in a 5 gallon plastic bucket. It removed the roots overnight. Within another week or so, the leaves started falling off, and within a month, they were cutting the trees down.


    Give me the name of that stuff Chris. I could give a rats arse if that lone locust tree takes a dirt nap on the neighbors property that's giving my line trouble. I'd even do the whole pale to watch it go up in flames.
    AlCorelliNY
  • AbracadabraAbracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    edited March 2015
    Gordy, Roebic foaming root killer or you could just get copper sulfate pellets. You'll need to use a couple of pounds of the stuff every 6 months. Flush it down a toilet. It's not going to be a once-and-done kind of thing. Just FYI, not sure where you are located, but pretty sure this stuff is banned in Florida and maybe California. If you've located the area you can dig some hole near the area of the main insert some 2" pvc pipes and pour a root killer solution into the pipes and cap for longer term prevention.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    Thanks
  • Robert O'Connor_12Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 724
    Works for me. http://www.rootx.com/
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 7,186
    edited March 2015
    FWIW: Old house I converted to a duplex has clay tiles with almost yearly problem. Had 6" double opposing cleanouts installed. Local utility would jet as needed. On next remodel back to single family house, I was able to slide 40' of sch 40 3" pipe into the 6". This got me under the driveway and past the maple tree that some DA landlord (me) planted there 30 years ago for shade. That shade tree really did well in growing and is cherished for shade on the west side of the house. The 3" helped the situation out and brought me more time for the inevitable expense. As this was observed with a camera it looked like seaweed flowing as a toilet was flushed, really green, kinda neat.
    This was 6" clay sections only 2' long with tar sealed joints.
    The 3" sleeve would only go that far because of joints not properly aligned. A chain wrench was used to twist and push the pipe into the clay. A chamfer end was ground on the entering pipe. You could feel every joint and twisting would make it walk over the joints as you pushed until you got to the obstruction. When the gentle persuasion with the 10 LB sledge against the 2 X 4 block would not work you know that's it.
    These joints leak so bad that when the frost come out of the ground and the water went down the basement would flood with ice water from the frost.
    The remaining 67' of the line got replaced with 4" sch 40 last fall.
    There never has been a problem with the 3" sewer line for this house. It has 2 full baths, laundry and 2 teenagers, the wc's are 30 year old, maybe 5? gal flushers. (Our water bills are fixed at $18.00 a month with sewer matching)
    A 6" line can store a lot of water that eventually seep thru roots or in my case leaks out through the bad joints.
    I have seen about 40' of 4" sch 40 pushed through 6" clay, though this was just a house extension and the joints were not troublesome as mine were.
  • j a_2j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    If its as you say a clay pipe it is most likely collapsed at the point you can’t get thru…Can u post the video…we used to use a camera and depth finder to mark the exact spot where the camera stops….Contact the city, enginering department and there is most likely a drawing on file…Chemicals to a sewer line are as a boiler sealer is to a boiler, it aint happening for any type of long term fix…I feel your pain, and I am sure you hate to be the one to tell them…It is what it is..
    icesailor
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Trenchless replacement with a bursting head that pulls fusion welded HDPE behind it.
    icesailor
  • Steve_210Steve_210 Member Posts: 590
    I will try to get the video on here, not that good with computers to be honest, in drop box but don't know how to transfer.
    SWEI have you had good experience with the trenchless replacement.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Gordy said:

    icesailor said:

    .


    Give me the name of that stuff Chris. I could give a rats arse if that lone locust tree takes a dirt nap on the neighbors property that's giving my line trouble. I'd even do the whole pale to watch it go up in flames.
    I think it was taken off the market as too toxic to the environment. The DPW workers would dump some into a manhole and they stood back. Because a flame would shoot out of the manhole. The stuff came in 5 gallon plastic pails. If the top was left loose, moisture would get in and a chemical reaction would occur and melt the bucket.

  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Steve said:

    I will try to get the video on here, not that good with computers to be honest, in drop box but don't know how to transfer.
    SWEI have you had good experience with the trenchless replacement.

    Trenchless rocks. There are companies that specialize in it. In the town where I lived and worked, the entire downtown area was/is mostly old clay pipe. Much going back to the 1900's and another bunch back to Depression Era WPA. Some areas with big trees are really bad. In the higher (above groundwater, they do a lot of horizontal boring. They camera the mains, locate all the laterals, note the really bad spots, and clean the crap put of the mains. Then, they run something that fractures the pipe into almost dust/gravel. And through horizontal boring technology, push a new welded piece of PE pipe through the old pipe. Then, after done, installed 6" laterals to the property line, with a 6" double wye for a cleanout.

    The weakness is in the Fernco Couplings to connect the two ends. AVOID FERNCO COUPLINGS!!!. Roots will go right through them within 3 years and within 5, will bust the clamps by the enlarging root.

    If you're going to clean out roots, and they are really bad, along a long length and you can't pull them back, its my experience that it is better to start from the street end and ream and cut UP so you can run water Up the pipe (or drain it back down) to wash the roots away. If you do it from the house end, they might all gather up and be harder to ream.

    If you ever dig up a sewer pipe because of an obstruction so you can clear it, when done, don't just patch it and bury it. Put a decent cleanout, raised to the surface, cemented in place that is large enough (10" SDR) so you can pop the cap off and get a snake in and rod both ways. If you dug it up once, why would you want to dig it up again?
  • Steve_210Steve_210 Member Posts: 590
    Thanks ice
  • Steve_210Steve_210 Member Posts: 590
    Hercules 206020?
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    yes Kurt there is also pipe lining methods.
  • AbracadabraAbracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    Steve said:

    Hercules 206020?

    All the different root killer stuff is basically the same stuff. Copper sulfate crystals. The foaming stuff uses baking soda so when it hits the water it'll foam up to hit the top of the pipe and not just sit at the bottom.
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,843
    I've been using copper sulphate crystals in my condensate neutralizer for dosing my sewer for the last 7 years, and haven't had any issues since. Check with your local environmental control agency before using ANYTHING...

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,843
    SWEI said:

    Trenchless replacement with a bursting head that pulls fusion welded HDPE behind it.

    This is illegal on Denver because the inspector can not view the installation after the fact... No guarantees of having a good setting bed with proper compaction.

    Government intervention.

    ME

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • MikeGMikeG Member Posts: 154
    I design agricultural drainage systems and we have to deal with sytems that are close to woods or brushrows. These systems are perforated tubing so we try to stay 75' away. Obviously this is past that option. As stated in other posts clean out what you can and do a yearly clean out. Copper sulfate is moderatly effective. The key is to have the ability to either dose it regularly or block the outlet and saturate the system periodically . Generally it will deter root growth with out killing a tree. We have had some oldtimers that would bury a copper wire in the trench to deter roots. They swore it worked. Snake some copper wire through the tile. If replacement by excavating is not possible the direct boring option is great. I have seen pipe relining in bigger concrete pipes that were 80-90 years old and should extend the life another 50 years or so. There is a loss of capacity and how small can they reline I don't know. Mike
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    SWEI said:

    Trenchless replacement with a bursting head that pulls fusion welded HDPE behind it.

    This is illegal on Denver because the inspector can not view the installation after the fact... No guarantees of having a good setting bed with proper compaction.

    Government intervention.

    ME

    Sounds like some private lobbying and bribing going on. Its done everywhere. Especially in New England where the cost of digging up streets is huge. Municipal utilities with crappy sewer mains do it all the time. Water companies do it too. A form of horizontal boring like they do for Fracking. So they can steal product from under someone else's land.

    During the WPA era, my town stopped dumping their waste water into the harbor. They ran a 36" cast iron Bell & Spigot force main to the outer boonies. In the 1950's the CI pipe started breaking. It wasn't a problem unless someone tried to drive a car through the puddle and became submerged in the black water. Then, they had to divert the black water into the harbor to fix the pipe. The best shellfishing was opposite the outfall pipe. They often left the valves open to drain into the harbor.

    A contract was let out, won by Modern Continental. Best know for their later project "The Big Dig" running highways under Boston.

    They took 30" Poly Pipe and welded the lengths together. And pushed it through the inside of the old pipe. They pushed it up to turns, later cut the turns out and put new mechanical turns in the pipe. They pushed about 5 miles.

    Unless you have seen these products in action and how well they work, you wouldn't know they are out there.

    With the new pipe and a second back up pipe, they blocked off the harbor outfall. The shellfish left.

    Like my old friend Farmer Steve says. If you don't use Nitrogen in your daily functions, you ain't of this Earth.

  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Steve said:

    have you had good experience with the trenchless replacement.

    Yes, with a competent operator. Access pits take some space and fusion splicing in confined quarters can get tricky.

    Seamless welded HDPE pipe is pretty much the gold standard for underground construction -- regardless of weather that pipe conveys water, gas, sewer, electric, or telecommunications facilities. In fact, the same resin (extruded in different colors or with different color stripes) is used for all of the above -- using the same dies in the same factories. The only practical limit to the joint length is the logistics of transporting and deploying the stuff. Less joints = higher reliability. Longhaul fiber optic ducts frequently have about one splice per mile laid.
    Gordy said:

    there is also pipe lining methods.

    They definitely have their place, and for certain applications (like higher temps or weird fitting configurations) they are the only viable option.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    in a bursting head trenchless application if the old pipe has settled, or the ground is unstable the new pipe is just going to follow the axis of the old pipe. Anything else, but sewer this would be not an issue. I suppose before the process begins you would know with cameras if there is a low spot, but how could it be corrected.
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Good points, but how would relining fix that?

    HDPE is about an an order of magnitude more flexible and durable than any metal, clay, cement, or FRP. It's really hard to hurt the stuff. In larger sizes, SDR11 or SDR13 become massive when you see them in person.
  • tim smithtim smith Member Posts: 2,324
    I have been dealing with side sewer for last couple months at our building. We are on main road in community in Seattle. Appx 60 ft of side sewer needs replacing out to parking curb, then line to center of street (hope it can be lined) they will burst and pull the 60 ft and tie in at both ends. But you do have to dig at street edge. 12ft in our case. This is 6" shared sewer w/ neighbor. 40k looks like. eeeyuck. If we have to go to center of street if it can't be lined it goes up exponentially. Just my .02 worth
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    tim smith said:

    I have been dealing with side sewer for last couple months at our building. We are on main road in community in Seattle. Appx 60 ft of side sewer needs replacing out to parking curb, then line to center of street (hope it can be lined) they will burst and pull the 60 ft and tie in at both ends. But you do have to dig at street edge. 12ft in our case. This is 6" shared sewer w/ neighbor. 40k looks like. eeeyuck. If we have to go to center of street if it can't be lined it goes up exponentially. Just my .02 worth

    How bad is your lateral. Is it just a root issue? Or has the pipe failed? I'm sure that the neighbor sharing the sewer won't want to go halvsies on the repair that benefits him.

    Many municipalities find it cheaper and easier to install adequate clean outs, or man holes are already in place, and have a scheduled maintenance program. You can do a lot of rodding for $40,000.

  • jumperjumper Member Posts: 1,506
    Isn't it nice how municipalities won't repair their laterals?
  • MikeGMikeG Member Posts: 154
    Is this gravity flow? What about going to a forced main (grinder pump) system. Depending on capacity requirements is it possible to go smaller. Reline or bore a HDPE like SWEI suggestged. In my area they do a lot of directional boring of water lines and smaller forced sewer lines in the rurla areas adjacent to villages. We have really flat topograpghy so often gravity is not possible on sewer lines. Probably no low cost option as these older systems degrade with no good way to excavate and replace.
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