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Thread: PVC storm drain line has serious roots -- clear it? or start digging?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Rock51's Avatar
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    Apr 2009

    Default PVC storm drain line has serious roots -- clear it? or start digging?


    In our condo townhome community, we have a 4Ē PVC storm drain line running underneath a 15-ft wide driveway. Because of a half-ass loose connection to a downspout during original construction, roots got into one end of the PVC line, big time. The tree is gone but thereís a single 1Ē root and a bundle of much smaller ones that grew into the pipe. We can access the line on the other side of the 15-ft driveway if necessary.

    Itís PVC, not iron or concrete, so Iím thinking there should be a way to clear it. But, with such an established root structure, do we attempt to clear it or should we just cut the asphalt and replace?


  2. #2
    DIY Junior Member Brokersdad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011


    I have heard of plumbers that have an auger type snake that can drill roots out of drains, may want to start phoning around your area asking, you may get lucky and save the mess of tearing up your driveway.

  3. #3
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    North Vancouver, BC
    Blog Entries

    Default Clearing Roots from a PVC Storm Drain - West Vancouver Emergency Call

    I got a call yesterday from a good client in West Vancouver that water was pouring into his home. The floor drain tied into the storm system at the foot of the basement stairs was plugged and the water filling up and entering his home. While setting up to snake the line and clear the plug he told me that his parents used to book yearly service to prevent this from happening in West Vancouver.

    West Vancouver Blocked Drain Line

    I started out with the star bit on the end and ran the rooter router snake (I Rent this) down a good 90' At the 35' mark the star bit pushed through the plug and all the water drained. I pulled the star bit out and attached the root cutter and then cleaned the line of roots. While doing this process I ran the garden hose down the pipe and worked the cutter back and forth to ensure I cleaned the entire pipe.

    Working with this tool is not hard but it does require a good grip and an understanding of how the snake acts. You can get hurt feeding out to much cable and harm the pipes fighting through bad fittings.

    It is worth the effort I think to snake the lines in question - but hire someone with expeirence on the tools. Often I find that the Router Crews send in staff that look like they are still in High School. Try instead your local plumber. If you need regular maintence ask him to check on your home once a year.

    Here in Vancouver I monitor about 4-5 homes on a yearly basis and each year that number seems to grow.

    Water is your home's number on enemy - guard against it.

    Vancouver Basement Flood

    Here is an older video at my buddies place. Heavy Rainfall and snow melt caused his plumbing line to back up and flood out the basement of his home. A few hours on the tool and hours cleaning after got things straightened out.


    PVC storm drain line has serious roots -- clear it? or start digging?
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 11-27-2011 at 10:40 AM.

    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  4. #4
    Semi retired master plumber freeflow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Find some plumber or drain cleaner in your area who sells ROOTX if you cant find anyone look on the internet e bay for ROOTX apply 2lbs per 50 ft of line after you get line open and flowing keep the roots killed and you should be ok

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