April 23, 2014

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Conditions at Parkersburg, Mid Ohio Valley Regional Airport, WV
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It's That Time of Year

The leaves come off the trees, and that means they're putting down their roots...right into your sewer line!

Well, it's happened again.

For the second time in a weeks period, my home sewer line has backed up.

After renting a sewer snake myself, and then a plumber (who rented a sewer snake from the same location I did), the sewer line backed up again during the washing machine's rinse cycle. As a result, we had another flood, but it was caught sooner this time.

I shut off the washer and ran for the wet-dry vac more carefully this time, and so, we didn't suffer as large a flood, nor as many ceiling tiles damaged.

The funny thing is that this time, I rented the same size snake, and after letting it flop around in the 40 foot line a couple of times, I noticed the sewer water was going down faster.

I don't believe I punched through the block, but I may have made a larger drain.  So, at least I was able to take a shower and clean up  before coming into work.

I'm sure my coworkers appreciate that.

But my point is to alert you that while Springtime is the growth spurt for leaves and buds, it's the fall when the leaves die back that serious root production occurs.  That's why so many sewers need attention in the fall, and not so much in the spring or summer.

Now, I'm no expert on tree growth, sewers nor plumbing, but I'm learning a lot from looking over the shoulders of those unsung heroes of the sewer snake.

Today, the city brought in a fiber optic cable and I watched as it crawled through my sewer pipe, pausing where there was a bend, a joint, an obstruction or roots.  And I learned just about where my sewer pipe runs under my front yard.

From the number of joints in the system, I think this has been dug up before, but I got some very good advice from one of the workers.

He recommended going to the hardware store and buying "Root Kill". But he clarified that the blue crystals, while containing Copper Sulfate to kill and stunt roots, were not as good as the two part foaming agent.  He suggested that the foam would expand and coat the entire inside of the pipe, and so, would reach the roots in the top of the pipe, not just dissolve and flow out the bottom.

I took him at his word and bought a six dollar bottle.  It's working now.

You might want to consider this if you have root problems or have had them in the past. The time to treat is NOW, not when the pipe gets more clogged or congested.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure....or about $58/per man-hour  in digging time later!

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