Roots in 8 year old ABS sewer line

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by antique, Jun 15, 2015.

  1. antique

    antique New Member

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    Jun 15, 2015
    Location:
    California
    8 years ago my mother had a plumber replace the old clay sewer line outside the house with 4" ABS and it connects to the old cast iron underneath the house.

    Recently, we had some issue with roots growing into the cast iron portion, and I had the plumber run the whole line and there are roots growing in the new ABS section of the pipe about 20 feet out. YouTube video is below, the roots in question are at about the 2:16 mark.

    My understanding is that the ABS pipe is supposed to last a long time and roots should not be able to intrude if installed properly. Was this installed improperly or can roots still get into the line with new ABS pipe?

     
  2. hj

    hj Master Plumber

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    Roots can NEVER get into an ABS line, IF it is installed properly. Either the line has cracked or the joints were not sealed, both of which are due to improper installation.
     
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  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    How confident are you that the roots are in the ABS part of the pipe and not past the ABS in remaining clay pipe? I can't interpret the video well.
     
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  5. antique

    antique New Member

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    It is at a joint in the pipe, so I guess the plumber either didn't seal it or didn't seal it properly. I understand that ABS can crack, but my understanding is that it shouldn't happen until gets weak and brittle which should be 50+ years.

    Fairly confident they are in the ABS part of the pipe? The plumber ran the video from a cleanout that's just outside of the house. The first part of the video he runs the camera into the cast iron portion underneath the home. Then the second part he runs the camera the opposite way outside towards the alley. From what I understand it's about 40' of ABS in the yard towards the alley, and then some clay, and then the city. So the roots are essentially growing in the middle of of this 40' run.
     
  6. JohnnyS

    JohnnyS New Member

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    Washington
    The roots look like they're getting in at a fitting like a combo or something. Did the plumber tell you what it's connected to? There is another fitting at 42' 11". It might be helpful to know what they're there for and what kind of material they're connected to.
     
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  7. antique

    antique New Member

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    At 42'11" it's a combo for the back guesthouse to drain into the main sewer (You can see the guesthouse at the very end of the video), I believe the part from the guesthouse is clay.

    According to the plumber who took the video, the fitting where the roots are is just a straight section of pipe that he would dig up and replace and that it was ABS. His opinion was somebody did something wrong. My guess is that it's a straight fitting is to connect two 10' ABS pipes.

    We also had the drain and sewer specialist who originally installed the ABS 8 years ago give us his opinion after looking at the video. I did ask him how did roots get into ABS pipe as I was under the impression that roots should not be able to get in if it's all ABS. His opinion was that we're in a drought and roots do crazy things, like break the sidewalk, so roots also can crack ABS pipe. He said we should hydrojet every few years to maintain it.
     
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  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Considering how much work the digging is, I wonder that they don't use more durable pipe.
     
  9. antique

    antique New Member

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    What would be more durable pipe? Both plumbers said they would use 4" ABS which has a standard thickness, they said it was all the same.
     
  10. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

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    ASTM d3034 sewer pipe.
     
  11. JohnnyS

    JohnnyS New Member

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    Washington
    I'm not convinced that's just a straight section. You can see two seams close together like a combo, wye, or santee. If it was a coupling just connecting two pipes together there would only be one seam there. Unless for some odd reason they put two couplings back to back which would only make sense if it was a repair. Has it been dug up since it was put in?
     
  12. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I see the roots are from when the camera is at about 27' 9". I also see that the camera says about 5' before it enters the cleanout, and there is some distance down the pipe until the horizontal sewer line is hit. So the roots look to be about 20 ft after the cleanout. That would correspond to a joint if the pipes are 10 or 20 ft pipes. I also see roots at 7 or 8 ft. That would correspond to the fitting for the cleanout. At 2:22 minutes in, I see what looks like a step in the pipe. I guess I also see a similar step at other joints, so I guess that is normal.

    Schedule 40 PVC would have been more durable. It might be overkill, but the material cost is a small part of the job. It is probably less common in your area which could make it special order.. If I read correctly, it is stronger than ASTM d3034 PVC sewer pipe. PVC is a little more work to glue (primer then glue) than ABS from what I read. PVC is heavier to lift.

    I would not replace the sewer pipe now. ABS pipe does appear to be adequate, and you have a failure at an improperly done joint. A bad joint could have happened with PVC I presume. But you have at least 2 bad joints it appears.

    I am not a plumber .

    Edit: I see at 0:42 in the video, 22"6' it looks like its going to go through standing water.

    I was also remembering some steps in the pipe. If these are pipes with a built in bell, wouldn't it have been better for the bell to be at the upstream end of each pipe so there is not a hard step up?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
  13. xprtplumber

    xprtplumber New Member

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    Jan 24, 2016
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Waterford, MI
    At Service Experts Plumbing LLC we perform many sewer line inspections daily. Root intrusion at a joint is a very common occurrence, we see it all too frequently. Unfortunately many individuals that install underground residential sewer mains do not know about correct installation techniques, or simply don't care enough to insure that the pipe is installed correctly, either way it will eventually lead to joint failure which is what you have in your video. There are a few sewer root killing additives (we use Rootx) that we have successfully utilized in conjunction regular intervals of root cutting (depending on root intrusion rate every 3 to 6 months). For more information about roots in sewers you can also visit our blog write up on the subject.
     
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