Tree root growth
Roots from trees growing on private property and on boulevards throughout Edmonton can cause flooded basements and damaged sewer pipes.
Roots thrive in the warm, moist, nutrient-rich atmosphere above the water surface inside sanitary sewers. The flow of warm water inside the sanitary service pipe causes water vapour to escape to the cold soil surrounding the pipe. The leading tip of tree roots can detect minute differences in moisture and nutrient levels and tend to grow in the direction where these can be found. On reaching a crack or joint in the pipe, tree roots penetrate the opening to reach the nutrients and moisture inside the pipe. This will continue through the winter even though trees appear to be dormant.
Once inside the pipe, roots will continue to grow, and if not disturbed, they may completely fill the pipe with multiple hair-like root masses at each point of entry. The root mass inside the pipe becomes matted with grease, tissue paper and other debris discharged from the residence.
Signs of sewer pipe problems
The homeowner will notice the first signs of a slow flowing drainage system by hearing gurgling noises from toilet bowls and observing wet areas around floor drains after completing the laundry. A complete blockage may occur if no remedial action is taken to remove the roots.
As roots continue to grow they expand and exert considerable pressure at the crack or joint where they entered the pipe. The force exerted by root growth may break the pipe and could cause it to collapse. Structurally damaged pipes may require repair or replacement.