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Tree roots clogging city pipes in search of water

By Rachael Plath, Meteorologist, r.plath@krdo.com
Published On: Apr 15 2013 10:12:15 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 16 2013 10:44:20 AM CDT

Due to the recent drought, Colorado Springs Utilities said tree roots are reaching into city pipelines in search of water.

Trees in southern Colorado are finding new ways to deal with drought conditions in southern Colorado.

According to Colorado Springs Utilities, tree roots are traveling farther to find water, landing them in city pipelines.

“The roots are really active and growing and looking for water and where they’re finding that water is in older parts of town where there’s clay pipe or older infrastructure in the ground where the roots can get into the joints and find the water in the collection system,” said Nick Verdi, operations supervisor with CSU.

Crews have been working quickly to clear the main pipelines, as the tree roots can cause clogs, backups and infrastructure damage.

CSU said that if there are roots in the main pipelines, there are roots in customer service lines.  Customers and homeowners are responsible for their services lines up to, and including, their tap.

“A lot of customers don’t know that and don’t react until there’s a problem.  Usually when there’s a problem there’s a stoppage in the main or in the service line due to tap roots or roots gown into the service line.  The cost at that point can go anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000,” said Verdi.

Verdi said homeowners may have a problem with roots if they hear a gurgling noise in their pipes or if the water inside the home is not exiting properly or backing up into the lowest drain in the home.  If these symptoms are noticed, homeowners are urged to call a plumber to have them investigate the issue.

Residents in areas with established or full grown trees are at the highest risk for having roots in their pipes.

CSU said removing the roots does not hurt or kill the tree.

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