Saturday, December 19, 2015

Possible Sewer Damage Has Homeowner Singing the Bamboo Blues

Here at the Arboretum bamboo (like this Phyllastachys aurea) can obtain epic proportions. 

Q. My neighbor has recently planted giant clumping bamboo over the common plumbing easement for the city sewage line where their line and mine run. Do we have a potential future issue with these roots attacking and obstructing the waste line? If so what can we done about it that I can recommend to them.

A. That all depends on how deep, old and well maintained your sewage line is. Bamboo have fibrous roots that generally go no deeper than 24 inches. If your sewage line is relatively shallow (2 feet or less) then it is probably not up to code because many city codes require burial of sewer lines at least 2 feet below grade and it will have problems with the bamboo roots, but only if the line is also leaking -which should be fixed anyway. If you are up to code and your line is not leaking you should not have any problems with the roots of any bamboo or tree for that matter. So getting to the root of the problem -plant/sewer problems are almost always the fault of faulty, leaking, cheap, or not installed to code sewer lines and not the fault of the plant.

So what should you do if you're concerned? Have a plumber check your lines if your worried -it's not your neighbor's responsibility to check and see if your plumbing is up to code. You also might want to mention to your neighbor (during the dinner you've invited them to in order to smooth out your relations) that bamboo is, in general, a huge water hog that really isn't compatible with our current water conservation paradigm.

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