Invasive Tree Roots

Invasive Tree roots in your private sewer – Q&A

This information about invasive tree roots has been extracted from the Sydney Water “Tree roots in your private sewer – Questions and answers” leaflet.

What is happening?

Sydney Water is inspecting public sewer pipes throughout Sydney to identify potential problems, such as structural damage and tree root intrusion. This work will reduce sewage overflows to the environment.

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) will be used to identify tree roots entering the Sydney Water sewer from private sewers. Once tree root intrusion is identified, we will write to property owners and ask them to maintain their private sewers with the help of a plumber or drainer. To help reduce tree roots entering the sewer, Sydney Water will suggest regular maintenance, planting strategies and preferred plant species to these property owners.

Why is this work being carried out?

This work is part of Sydney Water’s $560 million Sewer Fix program to improve the sewerage system and protect public health and the environment. Tree roots can cause serious damage to sewer pipes. They cause about 80% of blockages that create sewage overflows to the environment. Sydney Water is continually working to reduce sewage overflows and clearing tree roots from the public and private sewer is an important part of this work.

Who is affected?

We will write to you if we see tree roots coming from your private sewer. You will need to ask a plumber or drainer to fix the problem.

While Sydney Water can clear tree roots from the public sewer, roots in your private sewer pipes can grow back into the public sewer fairly quickly and can lead to overflows to your property, or to local waterways or bushland, where they may cause harm.

Why should you maintain your sewer?

Tree roots can block or partially block your sewer, leading to sluggish drainage or discharges onto your property or surrounding properties, or even inside your home.

It is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain their private sewer, up to the connection to the Sydney Water sewer. Like with most maintenance issues, a regular, planned root cut by your plumber is generally cheaper than an emergency root cut in response to a blockage.

There are a number of options for getting rid of tree roots. With the help of a plumber or drainer, the best option for you can be identified.

More information?

To know more, visit and search for ‘SewerFix’.
You can also call the Sydney Water information line on 1800 354 108 or email

For Sydney Water 24 hour emergency assistance, please call 13 20 90.
Otherwise, one of our technicians at StreamLine would be more than happy to assist on 02 9970 2700


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