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Thread: Sewer line obliterated by tree roots?

  1. #1
    New User Level 0
    Join Date
    Aug 2017

    Angry Sewer line obliterated by tree roots?

    We've only had this house for a few months when the toilets started leaking at the base and we couldn't put water down anywhere or it would leak. Well I got a plumber out here today to snake the drain and turns out the sewer line runs directly below the massive maple tree in our front yard (the developer/builder put that tree there. Right. Above. The. Line. You'd think they owned a plumbing company..) There are cracks on cracks. Plumber said we need to redo/replace the pipes or we'd have to snake it anywhere from every week to every other month when it backs up again. They couldn't grind out all of the roots because they just flopped to the side like a "curtain". The pipes are also very odd. This home is just under 10 years old. The pipe is initially 4" wide but changes to 3" half way down. They are also like 7-8 feet down and there is a random tie-in that they couldn't figure out what it was for or where it came from. I'm definitely going to get a second opinion before I drop upwards of 7k but is there any way this is covered under my homeowners insurance? They won't tell me if it's covered or not until I file a claim?? (Liberty Mutual). I've only had it for a few months! I didn't plant this damn tree and there were no plumbing issues disclosed before we bought the house. Only thing I can think of is to call every plumber in the city to see if they've previously worked on the house and if they still have any records. I find it hard to believe they never had the drains snaked. This looks like it's been a problem for years. You can open the relief valves and LOOK at the cracks going straight down 7 feet.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
    Level 10
    xrac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    I am not a property and casualty agent but my take is that you most likely do not have a claim other than damage if any from water backing up into the house and that is iffy. Insurance is to cover things that are sudden, unexpected and beyond our ability to control. Given the right kind of drain pipe tree roots are a known and predictable problem. If anyone is at fault here it is probably the original installer but that would have to be proven and litigated which I think would be a lost cause. My recommendation is get the best price you can, but the bullet, and install a new sewer line. Dan is our resident P&C guru he should be Wong and we will see what he says.

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