Planting near water mains

While trees and shrubs in residential areas help to create pleasant environments, what is often not considered is the damaging effects their root systems can have on nearby buildings and underground utilities. The damage tree and shrub roots can cause to MidCoast Water Services' buried assets is an issue across the service area, with roots displacing components, reducing flow to the point of blocking sewer mains and causing sewer overflows and trees damaging pipelines when uprooted during strong winds.

How do tree roots damage pipes?

Some species are not suitable for planting near sewer pipes – their roots can infiltrate and eventually destroy pipes, causing significant inconvenience and costly repairs. Roots anchor and support trees, but they also seek and supply moisture and nutrients for continued growth. If they grow into sewer or water pipes while seeking moisture they can disrupt, block and damage drains, sewers and water mains.

What can I do?

The most effective step is prevention, as once tree roots get into the system, pipes can become damaged and require costly repairs. So planting appropriately near sewer pipes and mains is the best way to avoid problems in the future.

How do I report a blockage?

If you believe there is a blockage in the MidCoast Water Services sewer mains servicing your property, call us on 1300 133 455.

Who is responsible for fixing the problem?

You are responsible for any repairs, replacement or maintenance for the pipes and fittings within your property, until after the connection point to MidCoast Water Services' pipes (usually near your property boundary).

What type of plant should I select?

When planting near sewer mains, property owners are asked to ensure they don’t plant directly over the main, and that any plants in the vicinity of the main should be no higher than one metre when fully grown.

Where are my sewer pipes located?

The location of our sewer mains and your pipes can be hard to identify without plans, although you can usually find an inspection shaft cover somewhere in your yard. MidCoast Water Services can provide you with a plan of your property showing where our sewer mains are located. A qualified plumber can provide you with a basic plan of where your sewer pipes are located.

Over 75% of all sewer blockages are caused by tree roots finding their way into sewer pipes. Trees are beautiful, shady and provide valuable shelter for local fauna, but their root systems can have a devastating effect on your sewer pipes. Planted too close to the sewer, your beautiful tree could one day end up becoming a very costly and messy problem.