Tree roots in the sewer is one of the most common problems for blocked drains encountered in older buildings. In the good old days before PVC piping was introduced into the building industry, underground piping was done in short lengths of clay pipe, each sealed together with a rubber ring in a male and female joint. This joint overtime can open slightly or even break because of movement, caused by any number of things, heavy traffic, tree roots pushing on the pipe, a change in the moisture content of the ground.
Now a thirsty tree doesn't need much incentive to have a small feeder root investigate the possibility of a new food source. Sometimes it's suprising just how small the opening can be that the initial feeder root finds its way into, and then expanding to a mass of twisted and sometimes tubular size completely blocking the sewer pipe and on occasions breaking the pipe altogether.
The solution is first call the plumber, he can put a drain eel or snake down the pipe and bore through the entangled root system. This is however only a temporary fix and might have to be repeated evry 6 months or so, also if there is one blockage caused by tree roots and you have more trees around in the grounds then the chances are there could be another blockage coming soon .Sometimes if you use a root killer as well, it can delay the problem again for a while. If there is a breakage in the drain then it will have to be dug up and that section of the drain will have to be replaced.
So how do you know if there is a broken drain? Well that's where the drain camera comes into action. The plumber or drain cam man can send a camera down and actually take a video of the condition of your drains. Always keep a copy of this video because you can use it to pin point out future possible problems. The video will show you exactly what and where the problem is. The plumber can then advise you on the best course of action and the price.
roots in the sewer and drains can be an ongoing problem, sometimes
if the budget allows it's best to dig up and replace.
though make sure the plumber complies with the local authorities
on notification to the plumbing board.