I just purchased a home and during the inspection process I decided to go above and beyond and order a sewer scope inspection. I was told that it was unlikely we'd find anything since it was ABS and not cast iron, but we received a surprise in the report:


root in ABS sewer pipe

They found a small root coming in from the top. It's not penetrating through the bottom, the root is loose and moves around when the sewer scope camera goes past it. There isn't currently a tree anywhere near this part of the yard, it seems the previous owners cut one down about 7 years ago, so I suspect this root has been here a very long time.

We're not experiencing any issues because of the root currently, as I mentioned, I suspect it's been like this for years, but is there anything we can do in the meantime to help mitigate the problem and buy some more time before having to spend almost such a large amount of money on digging the pipe out?

  • Roots can travel a surprisingly long distance in search of water Commented Jan 19 at 20:38
  • Kill the trees?
    – Huesmann
    Commented Jan 20 at 18:13

1 Answer 1


That root isn't your main problem. The collapsed pipe allowing the root is the problem. That white line is a crack where the pipe has been compressed. You can distinctly see the double arcs beyond the root. Either that's a new problem and will get worse, or it's an old problem and probably won't affect you at all. Time will tell.

To answer your actual question, plastic pipe shouldn't be difficult to keep free of roots. There is commercial herbicide available to keep them at bay, and an occasional auguring would be a sure bet.

You'll need that pipe replaced, though, so I probably wouldn't do anything unless you actually have a backup. Save your pennies for the big bill.

  • Why are you asking me those things? It would all be speculation and isn't relevant to the question. I'd assume that the ABS is Schedule 80.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jan 19 at 21:17

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