Large root in sewer line

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by gfe76, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. gfe76

    gfe76 New Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Need advice. 35 yr old house in Atlanta. 2 story with basement. Lot slopes to rear of house with french doors from basement to back lawn. Basement toilet backs up. 4" cast iron drain hanging from ceiling of basement going into verticle 4" cast iron stack which goes into basement floor and out front of house to street/sewer. Once 4" cast iron leaves house it goes into 6" concrete pipe before going into street sewer main. Basement toilet pulled (no clean out in 4" cast iron stack). Camera sent down 3" toilet line, thru 4" cast line, to 6" concrete line and large root found about 70' in front of house. Snake with 3" cutter used to cut 3" hole thru large root that is in 6" concrete line and looks to have displaced 6" concrete line some. Plumber says must dig up 6" line to replace section and remove rest of root. I have to remove large 22" diameter tree next to excavation site before dig. Concrete pipe is 6 feet below surface.
    1. How long do I have (approximately) to get this fixed before it clogs again? (3 bathrooms, father, mother, 6 & 9 yr old kids, dishwasher).
    2. Is there some kind of chemical I can use to kill root?
    3. Can I dig this by hand or do I need a backhoe (red clay, very little rock)?
    4. Should I put clean out in 4" cast iron stack in basement and run a snake with a 4" cutter to try and cut rest of root out of 6" concrete pipe?
    5. Any other thoughts?
    Thanks to all!
  2. Radster

    Radster Licensed Plumbing and heating contractor for 25 ye

    Sep 30, 2008
    Ontario Canada
    I would do exactly as your plumber says " Dig up the line and replace that section" I have found that when there is that size of a root in the pipe it is "most likely" cracked. (not a good thing) To bad about the tree though.....

    1. The lenth of time it will take to clog again is next to impossible to predict. Unless someone would like to look into the crystal ball.
    2. We used to use Sanfax liquid and Crystal. But this will only slow the growth process down somewhat.
    3. Backhoe for sure. That is a pretty big trench you will end up with.
    4. I would put in a Cleanout in the 4 in. stack regardless. Doesn't cost much and will pay for itself the next time you have to lift the toilet.
  3. Sponsor

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    MASTERPLUMB777 In the Trades

    Aug 6, 2007
    Retired Master Plumber
    Main line stoppage

    Get root x foaming will kill root,
  5. psolutions

    psolutions New Member

    Sep 30, 2008
    South Carolina
    You can chemical and root it sure, but then you have to potentially run into a problem down the line again...

    You always come about better financially just to fix it right the first time. I agree with your plumber. Dig it up, cut it out, and replace it new. This may seem like overkill but its a definate solution..

    The more times you call a plumber to troubleshoot and snake the more money you are burning up. You save money just with a one time definate fix over time. Ask for estimates and shop around the price on this type of service can very greatly.
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Dec 15, 2007
    Service Plumber
    If you are not wanting to loose the tree you could have the pipe excavated just outside the foundation. Have the root jetted out of the line them have the pipe relined... And an outside cleanout installed...

    I'm not a fan of cement pipe...
    The bottom rots out like the Grand Canyon!

    Relining information & video
  7. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    Digging by hand is possible but not practical...the line may be 8' deep or would take you with a shovel and someone else with a bucket days to dig a hole big enough.

    I suppose it would save you $$$ should it collapse as you could make it a permanent grave.

    1 option you may have is possibly digging a trench around the tree and rerunning the line that all depends on how much room there is which I don't know. I have seen this done.
  8. gfe76

    gfe76 New Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    As usual, good ideas...
    1. I'll try root x (or maybe copper sulphate crystals?)
    2. I'll put cleanout in 4" stack in basement
    3. This winter, I'll take tree out.... it is only 12" in diameter, not 22"
    4. In spring I will dig up section with backhoe and replace.
    Thanks again for taking time to respond. My plumber is a great guy!
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