Tree roots collect debris, obstructing the flow and eventually causing a blockage or break. Roots can also displace water pipes, causing them to burst.
Root damage from trees can also allow stormwater to enter the pipes. During heavy rain this extra water can overload the wastewater network, causing it to overflow into waterways, streets or even your back yard. Learn more: Wet weather overflows
This results in a risk to public health and the environment. There are also financial costs. If the problem is in your private wastewater pipes, it's your responsibility to have it fixed. In some circumstances we may choose to recover our costs for damage to our pipes.
Plant carefully and protect your pipes
If you are choosing a tree for your property, it is a good idea to check that it is not going to grow over your pipes or ours.
Locate the pipes
Before planting, find out where your wastewater and water pipes are so that you can stay clear of them.
To check where the pipes on your property are, use Auckland Council's GeoMaps
To check the location of the public water or wastewater pipes that will run past your property view our GIS map
All homeowners should have a plan of their property which shows the location of underground services Contact Auckland Council to get a copy of your plan. This may incur a charge.
Choose the right plant
Your local nursery can help you choose a suitable tree, or you can check a gardening guide.
Find out how far the tree's roots will travel. They usually extend about one and a half times the distance of the adult plant’s branches, and up to 1.5 metres deep.
Don't plant large, fast-growing trees with vigorous root systems near wastewater pipes. If you need to plant over or near a wastewater line, choose shrubs, grasses or small trees with smaller root systems.