Dealing with a customer's root intrusion problem presents an opportunity to chat about ramping up their regular maintenance schedule


Tree roots are like miniature excavators — they'll move anything they can to accomplish their task. In their endless search for water, septic lids and risers are fair game. With the busy summer season fast approaching, you're all but guaranteed to run into customers with root-intrusion problems over the next few months.

Root problems in septic systems generally occur when they invade through a crack in a lid that isn’t properly secured, or a faulty joint between a tank and a riser. And as you’re well aware, you’ll also find them invading drainlines and drainfields.

As if pumping long-ignored septic tanks isn’t enough of a task, those same clients want you to work miracles with root intrusion as well. That’s where chemical treatment comes into play. What’s more miraculous than a foaming compound that prevents root growth for years after its application?

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While mechanical tree root removal is often necessary in bad cases of intrusion, using a preventative chemical treatment after taking the roots out ensures your customer won’t have them growing back immediately. Some of the most highly recommended options on the market include Lenzyme Root Control, RootX, Vaporooter, Municipal Sales and Duke’s Root Control.

You can even use the opportunity to remind your client about the importance of regular septic pumping and maintenance. After all, if you don’t get eyes on the system in the next few years, there’s no telling what those roots can accomplish. They’ve been known to grow into tank-dwelling masses weighing hundreds of pounds, necessitating difficult and expensive removal jobs. But if you’re back on the site in time, another chemical application will keep the problem under control at a fraction of the cost — not to mention the more obvious benefits of regular septic pumping.

Chemical treatment also has an important place in drainline and drainfield root intrusion. Tree roots can travel hundreds of feet in search of water, and if they stumble upon a customer’s drainfield and penetrate an opening, there will be problems. Small, hair-like feeder roots will multiply throughout the pipe, eventually slowing or stopping up the effluent.

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If your pipe inspection camera discovers that feeder roots are indeed the culprit, your client will plead with you to avoid a costly drainline replacement. But mechanical and jetter removal of the roots — while necessary in bad cases — have a tendency to make them grow back stronger in the long run. It’s a lot like pruning a tree. On the other hand, a chemical treatment is both inexpensive and effective in the right situation.

After treating the roots and giving your client a sermon about the importance of septic pumping and maintenance, it’s also a good idea to hand him or her a business card for your buddy’s tree-removal service.


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