How to Get Roots Out of Sewer Lines


If your house is surrounded with shrubbery and trees, the chances of roots getting into the sewer lines is substantial. Roots in sewer lines not only cause clogs, but they are one of the most troublesome and common forms of plumbing problems for homeowners. Since replacing sewer lines is costly, doing it yourself will save you trouble and money.

Things You'll Need

  • Earth drill
  • 40 1/2-inch PVC pipe
  • PVC pipe cutter
  • PVC glue
  • Threaded female adaptor with plug
  • Copper sulfate crystals
  • Hot water
  • Commercial root remover formula
  • Locate the source of clogging with electronic equipment like a radar, or choose an area of your sewer line that is near shrubbery or tree roots. You may also locate your sewer line records from city hall to determine where your line is if you are unsure.

  • Drill a hole vertically into the ground, and stop drilling once the hole is about 24 to 30 inches deep, but above the sewer line.

  • Cut the PVC pipe with the pipe cutter so that it fits into the hole you created and stays flush with the ground level as to avoid being cut with gardening equipment.

  • Glue the female adapter to the exposed end of the PVC pipe, and replace the dirt to the hole. Firmly pack it back into place.

  • Purchase copper sulfate crystals from the hardware or plumbing supply store. Pour the crystals into the pipe, so it fills halfway. Immediately, fill the entire pipe up with hot water to dissolve the crystals. The solution will soak the soil deeply around the entire sewer line to dissolve roots and treat the soil to prevent roots from growing back quickly and forcing their way into any cracks in the sewer line. Use the crystals every four months to maintain root-free sewer pipes.

  • Use a commercial root remover formula to pour into the toilet to dissolve any remaining roots in the sewer lines. Once you get the roots out of the sewer lines with the commercial product, the copper sulfate will work to keep roots out of the lines.

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  • Photo Credit two story ranch house image by Kathy Burns from
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