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Toronto Sewage/tree root problems

paraone

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Not sure if this is the right section for this, maybe a mod can move it if it's not.

So I just bought a new place in Leslieville with a massive tree on the front yard. We knew when we bought the property that the old clay pipe had to be replaced. The city says that the tree is protected, it's healthy and I don't want to lose the tree. The tree has penetrated the sewage pipe in a few places, but to remove the pipe is hard cuz it runs right underneath the tree, obviously making the removal of the pipe virtually impossible. and of course I'm getting the run around by the city. who say the tree is not responsible for the break in the sewage line, even though the roots from the tree have penetrated the line. so I don't know where to start....

anyone else have a similar problem? what has done to fix the problem?
 

TOinTO

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Not quite the same problem, but I did have a clay sewage pipe 'trap' blocked by tree roots. I had it removed and the city provided me a rebate of $2000 of the cost. That was out of a program targeted specifically at these old clay traps - which tend to hold water and act as a magnet for tree roots. So, if you have a clay pipe trap on your property that is clogged with roots, the city will pick up a good chunk of the removal cost.

If the tree is a city tree, that means it's on city property. I think city owned property extends 19ft back from the curb in most places, though it was 25 ft. in my case. If the sewage break is within the city's property, it is their responsibility to fix it and their job to sort out the tree problem.

I believe its possible to use boring equipment to remove pipes that are inaccessible from above. When I had the clay trap removed the drain-fixing company wanted to also replace the portion of clay pipe under my porch - up to the foundation of the house. They talked about some machine that could do it. I declined because I had spent enough on replacing the pipe around the trap.
 

paraone

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Thanks for your reply.....

It seems you are correct, after being juggled from one division to another I was put in contact with someone who mentioned the $2000 rebate, it's on the life of the tree in question and the previous owners already used about $750 of that money, so there is a pot left of $1250. Basically if my basement floods and the break is caused by the city tree they will fix/replace the pipe and install a backwater valve free of charge. If I want to do preventitive maintance then I can hire a toronto licenced plumber to open up the ground, the city will inspect and see if the problem is in fact due to the city tree, then reimburse me the amount owed up to the $1250. So I think I'll be ripping up my front yard this spring.
 

drone

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I had the same prob. we did the work, and then they refused us the rebate.beware
 

gristle

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Thanks for this info everyone.

drone, what was the reason provided for refusing the rebate?
 

TOinTO

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They initially refused our rebate as well.
A city inspector has to see the afflicted pipe and the hole and the tree responsible. Then he will fill our a form, which you need to send in to the 'Drain Grant' office.
In our case, the inspector arrived, saw the rather disgusting looking ball of roots that contained the original pipe, made a joke about how the massive Norway maple on the neighbour's front yard would now be starved for water, and handed us the filled out form. He had forgotten to check the box that said 'there is a tree'. Our application was rejected because there was no city tree involved.

So I had to make some calls to the 'Drain Grant Appeals' number. I had to call Parks and Recs to get them to attest to the existence of the neighbour's Norway Maple and our smaller maple. (You see, one city department CANNOT call another). I took pictures of the trees on both properties and the location of the excavation. I wrote a carefully worded appeal letter and sent the whole package to 'Drain Grant Appeals'. In a mere 6 weeks, I had my check!
 

paraone

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yes I was made aware of a few of those loop holes by the city, make sure the inspector comes when the hole is open before you remove the pipe. Also who ever does the work must be a city licenced plumber/drain specialist. We've gotten a few quotes, varying based on the work needed. I'll save myself about $1000 by doing the excavation closing up myself.
 

drone

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they said the tree was on my property, and therefore,not their issue.but, i can't cut down the tree.
 

paraone

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Yes, that happened to my parents, the tree was deemed to be theirs so the city said that they we're not responsible for the root problem. Our tree is owned by the city and the city has confimed such.
What is very interesting is that the forestry dept, came by yesterday to check the health of the tree. they left my wife with some pamflets saying that trees don't cause broken pipes, that they are already broken, which is true to an extent. But when dealing with old clay pipes roots have been known for weeding their way through the joints, the forestry guy disputes this. Interesting how one city agency can say one thing and another has an entire grant program dedicated to what the other says is not true.... I'm getting dizzy!
 

drone

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I just gave up and paid for evreything myself, cuz I was going crazy with all the misinformation
 

Tza

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What you need is a contractor familiar with pipe bursting. This is by use of a HDD (horizontal directional drill) where the head splits open and breaks the old sanitary lateral into small pieces which are flushed out from the underground by the slurry (water & bentonite) that is pumped through the head under ground. Once that is complete, the drill starts its pullback of the new service. All done without tearing up your front lawn and hurting the tree. Not the cheapest method but definately the best.
 

Justin Russell

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within the city of Toronto there are two important drain grants. They are as follows. For sewer pipe replacement anywhere underneath your house to city property you are eligible for a tree root rebate if there is a city tree on your property or your direct neighbors house. The way they basically go by is if the tree branches of the city owned trees hang over to you property. The rebate is up to $2000 lifetime per property.
So if the previous owners had a claim put in you would deduct that claim from the $2000.
The other drain rebate is to install a back water valve in the sewer line as it exits the front wall of your house. What the backwater valve does is if the is a blockage from the outside sewer line the valve has a floating door that will shut and stop a flood through your floor drains.
This grant if for $1250.
I am a drain contractor in Toronto and we do these every week. They are very easy to get if you know the process. Feel free to send me a message with any questions..
 
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Aaron 227

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Problem of water seepage in my basement

I got a plumber to have a look at this and he said that the clay trap outside must have broken or got clogged. There are no trees around and I am been told that the fee for this is around 2grand. Would this be refundable by City of Toronto. What are the stepls I should take to get this through. The plumber is licensed. I would appreciate an answer to this.
 

bmarchand

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Hi Guys,

i know this is a 2yo thread, but my problem is identical as the original poster (bought a home in leslieville, huge tree right on front, no-one wants to pay right now). I am wondering is the grants you are talking about still apply in 2012?

Thx!

within the city of Toronto there are two important drain grants. They are as follows. For sewer pipe replacement anywhere underneath your house to city property you are eligible for a tree root rebate if there is a city tree on your property or your direct neighbors house. The way they basically go by is if the tree branches of the city owned trees hang over to you property. The rebate is up to $2000 lifetime per property.
So if the previous owners had a claim put in you would deduct that claim from the $2000.
The other drain rebate is to install a back water valve in the sewer line as it exits the front wall of your house. What the backwater valve does is if the is a blockage from the outside sewer line the valve has a floating door that will shut and stop a flood through your floor drains.
This grant if for $1250.
I am a drain contractor in Toronto and we do these every week. They are very easy to get if you know the process. Feel free to send me a message with any questions..
 
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