Chemical and Mechanical Root Control

Chemical control can be an effective remedy for root blockages in sewer lines, but mechanical removal through the use of cutters, nozzles, cable machines and jetters is often needed for advanced problems and severe blockages. Manufacturers offer a wide variety of tools for cutting and cleaning out problem roots. Here are some of the latest offerings.
Chemical and Mechanical Root Control
Jetter/pressure washer combo unit

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Root Cutters

  Drain-cleaning cutter

The ClogChopper drain-cleaning cutter from General Pipe Cleaners features six self-sharpening blades that dig into encrusted debris and root masses, grinding up stoppages, scale and crystallized urine, without risking pipe damage. The spherical design maneuvers around tight bends and traps, cleaning metal, plastic and clay pipes. It is available in 1-, 1 1/2-, 2-, 2 1/2-, 3- and 4-inch sizes, and is ideal for clearing stacks, downspouts and mains. 800/245-6200;

  High-speed cutter

The Supernova from KEG Technologies is a high-speed, high-torque cutter capable of quickly removing roots in sewer or storm lines from 6 to 48 inches. Features include a heavy-duty one-piece stainless steel body and fin assembly; two heavy-duty roller chains; replaceable jet inserts sized for the equipment’s gpm, psi and hose length; stainless steel skids and sizing plates; and minimal maintenance with no required lubrication. It is adjustable from 6 to 16 inches, with optional expansion kits to 48 inches, and can achieve operating flow rates from 60 to 180 gpm and working pressures from 1,700 to 3,000 psi. It can clear other obstacles in the line like concrete, grease, tuberculation or protruding laterals while eliminating root problems. 866/595-0515;

  Sewer and storm cutter auger

The Paikert sewer and storm cutter auger from NozzTeq is a low-speed, hydro-torque impact cutter designed for severe root blockages, concrete, grease, protruding laterals and any substance at up to 5,000 psi. It features a Hydro-Torque impact drill motor, is designed to work with most jetting machines and does not require any lubrication. It uses double root saw blades along with single hardened bits to remove thick heavy root growth. It is available in sizes from 4 to 24 inches, and can be customized with a variety of cutting accessories. 866/620-5915;

  Pneumatic pipe debris and reinstatement cleaner

The Pneumatic Micro-Cutter from Nu Flow Technologies can be used to clean and remove pipe debris, calcite and roots from the inside of a variety of pipes, including steel, cast iron and Orangeburg. It rotates at approximately 2,000 rpm in 1 1/2-inch and larger pipes in lengths up to 150 feet, and will negotiate turns of 90 degrees in pipes down to 2 inches in diameter. It runs at 40 cfm and allows for multiple cutting heads. It is also available in an electric/light-duty model. 800/834-9597;

  Tungsten carbide-tipped cutter

Cutters tipped with tungsten carbide from Productive Carbides Inc. can be used to cut wood, metal and stone. When brazed onto sewer saws, the aggressive edge cuts fast and increases the life of the saw. The carbide is available in various shapes and grades, and is produced from mixing crushed carbide in a copper-alloy grit braze that wears smoothly and is fracture resistant. Saws brazed with it can be used to cut clay, concrete and cast-iron laterals. 800/676-7649;

  Root and grease cutter

The Patriot 1 root and grease cutter from Sewer Equipment Company of America is capable of cleaning pipes ranging from 4 to 20 inches in diameter. It combines both rollers and skids to stabilize the cutter, allowing it to travel through the pipe with minimal friction. This enables reduced water consumption and more efficient cleaning. The rollers guide the skid assembly over offsets, joints and misaligned pipe, minimizing the possibility of getting hung up in the sewer line. Additionally, the skids are adjustable, which eliminates the need to change skids for different size pipes. They are available in 3/4- and 1-inch configurations, pressures up to 3,000 psi and flows up to 80 gpm. Accessories include tap cutters, root saws and blades. 800/323-1604;

  Chain cutters

Turbo Chain Cutters from USB-Sewer Equipment Corporation are made of tempered stainless steel and offer continuously adjustable guide skids. The chain retainer is driven by a high-performance turbine to remove roots, grease and mineral deposits from 4- to 48-inch sewer lines. With an optimized 3-D hydromechanics design, in conjunction with ceramic nozzle inserts, the cutters use recycled or clean water. They can also be used as barrel cutters with diamond bits for smooth removal of protruding laterals. Heavy mineral deposits can also be removed with carbide bits attached to the specialized chain. 866/408-2814;

Root Chemicals

  Root herbicide

Razorooter II root-control herbicide from Duke’s Root Control leads to extended pipe life, reduced SSO occurrences, and maximized asset value. It contains the active ingredient diquat dibromide, a product of Sewer Sciences Inc. It is registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The company can customize a root-control program that integrates capacity, management operations and maintenance into each municipality’s O&M plan. If a root-related stoppage occurs within two to three years after treatment, they will re-treat the line. 800/447-6687;

  Foaming root control

Oblitiroot, a foaming sewer line root control product from Olvidium, has been formulated to use the maximum amount of the active ingredient, Dichlobenil, currently allowed by the EPA. It comes in two pouches which, when combined, create a sticky foam with a latex base that can be applied through the clean-out or in the toilet bowl. The latex makes it stick to pipes and roots, which causes the Dichlobenil vapor to remain in the line to kill roots longer. 855/782-4531;

  Root intrusion formula

Registered with the EPA, RootX can be used by sewer departments to enhance their pipe maintenance programs and by drain cleaners as an effective tool and profitable add-on service. The foaming action lifts the root-killing active ingredient to the top of the pipe where 90 percent of intrusion occurs. It also sticks to the top of the pipe and roots to keep blockages caused by root regrowth from occurring for up to 12 months. 800/844-4974;

  Root-killing foam

Sanafoam Roo-Pru from Vaporooter can be applied with the Jet Set Commander. It contains no Metam Sodium or Diquat, and does not require operators to be licensed. At the push of a touch-screen button, operators go from jetting to foaming automatically, and then retrieve the hose while filling the pipe with root-killing foam. The application equipment can be installed on most jet or combo trucks, and can even be used with a trailer jet. 800/841-1444;


  Towable jetter nozzle

The Cnt-r-KUT “TOW HOOK” towable jetter nozzle from Arthur Products allows for pressurized water to be applied by the integration of a towing nozzle that can be pulled through the line. The technician can also pull a line from point “A” to point “B” if required. It is flexible enough to conform to damaged or deformed lines and can easily be trimmed in the field to fit virtually any line from 2 to 8 inches in diameter by attaching a 3/8- or 1/2-inch NPT hose to one end. It is available in standard and mini sizes. 800/322-0510;

  Low-maintenance cutting nozzle

Root Rat cutting nozzles from Chempure Products are used with jetters from 11 hp to large truck-mounted models. Manufactured of hardened stainless steel, the cutters come with a toolbox with two interchangeable rotors – one with cables and the other with chains. The combination kit includes extra chain, cable and bearings. They need no repair or rebuilding other than bearing replacement, which can be completed in less than two minutes for under $10 in parts. 800/288-7873;

  Jetter video nozzle

The JetScan HD video nozzle from Envirosight can capture HD video from any jetter. Deployed on any 3/4- or 1 1/2-inch jetter hose, it is a quick, easy way to determine what tools and setup to use, identify blockages during emergency call-outs and document the outcome of cleaning operations. As it advances down pipe 8 to 24 inches in diameter, it records 720p HD video in MPEG format to an onboard SD memory card. Immediately afterward, the card can be removed and video viewed on an iPad or other SD-compatible device. Twin high-output LED lamps ensure bright, vivid footage. It can operate for four hours on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and stores up to eight hours of video. 866/936-8476;

  Rotating front-jet nozzle

The Rotodrill nozzle from Enz USA features a rotating front jet for improved cutting performance. It is effective clearing blocked and frozen pipes, and moving heavy debris. It has ideal propulsion, but can also be used in hydroexcavation by plugging off the thrust jets. The versatile nozzle is available in 1/2-, 3/4- and 1-inch systems. 877/369-8721;

  Root-cutting nozzle

The Warthog WG-1 Classic root-cutting nozzle from StoneAge is effective in cleaning pipes from 8 to 36 inches. Since each jet in a nozzle head takes a percentage of pump capacity, fewer jets mean each one gets a larger portion of the pump’s power. Slower rotation (300 to 500 rpm) equals longer dwell time for the jets to do their job. The rotation allows the powerful rear jets to cover the entire inside of the pipe to cut the roots. It can cut roots from 3/16 to 1/2 inch in diameter. 866/795-1586;

  Sewer nozzle kit

Sewer Nozzle Solution Kits from Ultimate Washer are custom drilled to customer specifications. They include six nozzles; a Penetrator that dislodges blockages, a Flusher for loose debris, Cornering nozzle that navigates around P-traps and tight bends, Polisher for polishing and maximizing line recovery, De-Icer/De-Greaser for removal of heavily blocked lines with grease, hard soap or even ice, and Impactor that moves sand, grit and light scale which may have accumulated within the line. Kit size varies from 1/8- to 1/2-inch female NPT. Maximum pressures range between 1,200 and 15,000 psi, with flow rates between 1.7 and 80 gpm. All kits are made from 416 L Grade stainless steel. 866/741-2125;

Cable Machines

  Sled drain machine

The DM55 sled drain machine from Duracable Manufacturing offers a maintenance-free gearbox, an industrial 3/4 hp motor at 175 rpm and a durable frame. The gearbox with a 10:1 gear ratio delivers high torque and horsepower. It offers fully enclosed polyethylene reels, which make for less mess while operating. It is designed to handle several different sizes of reels to provide the operator with flexibility of cable size and length. The power cable feed and return also comes standard, and feeds and returns cable automatically at a steady pace. It is ideal for use on mainlines, industrial, commercial and residential jobs including overhead and wall clean-outs, flood drains, grease and roots. 877/244-0556;

  Sectional drain and sewer cleaner

The Model C sectional drain and sewer cleaning machine from Electric Eel runs up to 200 feet of 1 1/4-inch self-feeding dual cable in 8- or 10-foot sections that require no handling when rotating. It spins cable at a high rpm for cleaning power in 3- to 10-inch lines. It can be operated by one person, and a heavy-duty 1/2 hp motor comes standard (3/4 and 1 hp available). A heavy-duty, fully adjustable safety clutch keeps cable and tool breakage to a minimum and provides overload protection. A fold-down handle allows for easy transportation, storage and use in crawl spaces, while a carry handle allows for balance and easy transport. 800/833-1212;

  Drain cleaning machine

The Model GO 68HD heavy-duty electric drain cleaning machine from Gorlitz Sewer & Drain is available in two different versions, either with an open steel reel or enclosed polyethylene drum, and can be outfitted with an optional power feeder. Standard configuration is 150 feet of 11/16-inch hollow-core cable, which should reach most blockages with a single reel. The unit weighs 185 pounds, and adding a loading ramp and electric winch to any vehicle makes transportation quick and simple. It is designed to clean pipes from 3 to 8 inches in diameter. 562/944-3060;

  Lightweight sewer cleaner

The 400 cable machine from Ken-Way Corporation is a lightweight sewer machine designed for cleaning 3- to 10-inch lines of blockages ranging from roots to grease. It is equipped with an air switch-activated 1/2 hp motor and a three-speed pulley, which allows speed adjustment depending upon length of cable and the obstruction being encountered. Two 8-inch wheels, along with a set of stair climbers, aid in handling and maneuverability. It is available with an optional power feed or as a manual-feed unit. Cables of 5/8-, 11/16- and 3/4-inch are available in either hollow core or inner core in various lengths. A set of six heavy-duty root-cutting blades, along with a retriever tool and flexible cable leader, come standard. 800/533-0551;

  Rubber-tracked power carrier

The Easement Machine from K&W Products is a heavy-duty, all-terrain rubber-tracked power carrier that is used in conjunction with a high-pressure hydraulic sewer cleaner. Its maneuverability allows access to easements, ravines, wooded areas, wetlands, narrow alleys and behind homes and buildings. It travels at speeds up to 5 mph and weighs 2,900 pounds for gas models and 3,200 pounds for diesel. Features include a variable-speed reel, water pressure gauge, removable reel (when removed machine converts to a power carrier), reel guide with foot counter, narrow 46-inch design for tight areas, low 3 1/2 psi ground pressure tracks and a 27 hp Kohler Engine. Options include 600 feet of 1-inch 2,500 psi hose, hydraulic tilt bed, work light or plug-in spotlight and 26 hp Kubota diesel engine. 800/503-0076;

  Lateral cleaning launcher

The Lateral Cleaning Launcher from Logiball is pulled in tandem with a multi-conductor camera, positioned at the service connection where the guiding arm is rotated with the tractor controls. The jet operator turns the pump on and a 1/2- or 3/8-inch hose and nozzle are launched into the lateral from the main, cleaning grease, roots, buildups and more. Cleaning distances from 5 and as far as 70 feet into the lateral have been achieved. They are available for 6- up to 18-inch mainlines. 800/246-5988;

  Flexible leader cable

The LE151 Super Flex leader cable from MyTana Mfg. Company is a flexible cable used for leading main cables down a sewer or drainline with twists, turns, elbows, offsets, sweeps and other irregularities. Many contractors keep several leaders available for use in special situations. For instance, leaders with a slight bend 8 to 10 inches from the end can help force a single blade to the outside of the pipe. The leader is suitable for 3/4-inch cable, and is available with a choice of fittings to attach to existing cables and blades. Leader cables are also available in other sizes. 800/328-8170;

  Flexible drain cleaner

The Flexi-Cleaner from Southland Tool Mfg. comes equipped with a Briggs and Stratton or Honda engine and features a steel frame and four wheels for easy tracking (pnuematic tires are available). It comes with instant reverse transmission and an automatic chuck to grip the cable. Its close-coiled, left-hand-wound rods are 1-inch diameter and 25 feet long. They are easily coupled together for cleaning runs up to 600 feet. Once the rod and tool are started in the drain, the unit is wheeled forward or pulled back, which pushes or pulls the rod in or out of the line. 714/632-8198;


  Compact trailer jetter

The compact 55 Series trailer jetter from American Jetter features a 150-gallon tank, large wheels and a removable trailer tongue for easy storage. User-friendly controls allow for easy operator learning curves. Gas or propane Kohler engines provide up to 40 hp, flow ranges from 4 to 11 gpm and pressure to 4,000 psi. The powered reel holds up to 500 feet of 3/8- or 1/2-inch jetting hose with forward and reverse reel function and manual pullout. Options include an antifreeze system for cold climates and wireless remote for one-man operation. Low oil and water shut-off prevent engine and pump damage. 866/944-3569;

  Jetter/pressure washer combo unit

The Performance line of trailer-mounted jetter/pressure washer combo units from Amazing Machinery are designed for easy trailering, and the large water supply tank allows technicians to jet anywhere. A rear-mounted 12-volt electric jetter hose reel and SS rear stack mounted manual pressure washer and garden hose reels provide ample hose space. They come standard with 300 feet of jetter hose, two nozzles, and a complete set of washdown accessories. The triplex ceramic plunger pump provides pressures up to 4,000 psi and flow rates up to 15 gpm. 800/504-7435;

  Skid-mounted jetter

The RCJ Series skid-mounted jetter from Cam Spray is offered in flows and pressures of 8 gpm at 3,500 psi and 7 gpm at 4,000 psi. It features a three-plunger industrial pump with pulse feature powered by a 688 cc Honda engine. It comes with 200 feet of jetter hose that can also be used to supply an optional portable reel cart available with 200 or 300 feet of jet hose. It is equipped with a 35-gallon buffer water tank with float control, powder-coated heavy tube frame, washdown gun and four-nozzle set. It easily mounts in the side door of a cargo van, on a truck bed or inside a service truck. 800/648-5011;

  Diesel-powered hydrojetter

The O’Brien 7040-SC diesel-powered hydrojetter from Hi-Vac features plate-mounted polyethylene water tanks that have a 700-gallon capacity. The swinger reel pivots 190 degrees, providing access to the manhole regardless of how the trailer is parked. The hydraulically actuated reel has a variable-speed control. It is powered by a 65 hp Cummins diesel with Murphy safety gauges and variable electronic throttle control. The triplex pump is rated to 40 gpm at 2,000 psi. The standard 400-foot high-impact thermoplastic sewer hose is easy to clean, maintains stiffness and is abrasion-resistant. The tandem-axle trailer has a 6-foot channel frame and is rated to carry a full tank of water at highway speeds. 800/638-1901;

  Jetter/power washer

The Hot Jet ll from Hot Jet USA features a V-twin Vanguard motor manufactured by a division of Toyota. The pump is a premium General Emperor Series that is triple V-belt driven. It generates a minimum of 8.5 gpm at 3,600 psi of either hot or cold water, and has a remote control system. It is mounted on a 5- by 12-foot diamond-plate steel deck trailer that has tandem axles and dual electric brakes for safety. The hot water deep cleans and emulsifies fats, oils and greases. The unit also can serve as an industrial-grade hot-water power washer. 800/213-3272;

  Hydroblasting cleaner

The Hydroblaster from Infratech Infrastructure Technologies is a specialized cleaning unit fitted with a General pump ranging from 4,000 to 10,000 psi at 20 gpm. Specialized cleaning nozzles are centered in the pipe to remove roots, grease and heavy pipe scale from 4- up to 60-inch pipe diameter. Enclosed in a fifth-wheel all-weather trailer, it is easily transportable. 800/533-4244;

  Convertible water jet unit

The 125 Series convertible water jet pump unit from NLB Corp. can be converted in about 20 minutes to any of eight operating pressures, from 6,000 to 40,000 psi. A wide range of flows (4.4 to 32.5 gpm) provides additional operating flexibility. It features a continuous-duty six-cylinder diesel engine (electric models are also available). It is trailer-mounted for transport to job sites, with four-wheel electric brakes, heavy-duty axles and a full DOT lighting package. All operating controls, including pressure gauge, rupture disc and bypass valve, are mounted on a separate accessory manifold for maximium protection. 248/624-5555;

  Cart-mounted water jetter

The KJ-3100 water jetter from RIDGID clears blockages in 2- to 10-inch drainlines, with 3,000 psi working pressure at 5.5 gpm. Powered by a 16 hp gasoline engine, it is mounted on a heavy-duty, two-wheeled cart that fits through standard-sized doors and negotiates tight turns. The hose reel quickly detaches from the cart for easy loading into service vehicles and permits easy access to hard-to-reach drains. The 3/8-inch jetter hose is 200 feet long. The unit includes pulse action, which allows the cleaning head and hose to maneuver through traps and bends. The high-pressure pump is a triplex design with a corrosion-resistant brass head. The unit comes with a propulsion nozzle that helps carry the hose quickly through pipes to obstructions, and a penetrating nozzle to cut through ice and sludge. 800/769-7743;

  Portable electric cart jetter

The SJPE-1500 from Shark Pressure Washers & Jetters is rated at 1.7 gpm at 1,500 psi, operating on 115-volt electricity. It comes standard with a 35-foot power cord with GFCI, and features a slide-in handle to help accommodate loading and unloading into any van, truck or car, and also allows for convenient customer transport around work sites. Its pulse action helps propel the hose through the line and around tight curves. Designed for indoor use on 2- to 4-inch pipes, it comes standard with a roll cage steel chassis, triplex pump and heavy-duty Baldor motor. It fits into tight workspaces and allows for easy one-person operation. It is ETL certified to UL-1776 safety standards. 800/771-1881;

  Hybrid hydrojetter

The Model 740 hydrojetter from Spartan Tool features 4,000 psi at 12 gpm on a wide-track chassis towable by any vehicle. It is available in either a traditional gasoline-powered configuration or in a hybrid version that runs exclusively on liquid propane. The LP version allows a full 4,000 psi of jetting power wherever needed, even inside food processing plants and other air-quality conscious locales. It is also usable in areas that experience ozone action days or other local emission restrictions. It features 350 feet of hose and a 40 hp electric-start engine, and is available in a skid-mounted version for installation into an existing van or trailer. 800/435-3866;

  Jetter truck

The Camel Jet 1600 from Super Products is a truck-mounted, high-pressure waterjetting system that utilizes three modular tanks to carry up to 1,600 gallons of water. The tanks are made of rotationally molded polyethylene with ultraviolet stabilizers. Its Lexan Containment System means that users have additional safety protection from hose rupture or high-pressure water. It utilizes a heavy-duty, triplex continuous-flow water pump to provide up to 80 gpm and pressure up to 2,000 psi. In addition to its single-engine design, which translates to lower fuel costs, the unit offers water pump and drive system options, as a well front- or rear-mounted 180-degree rotating hose reel with a 1,000-foot capacity. 800/837-9711;

  High-pressure water jet machine

Hot Shot high-pressure water jet machines from Vac-Con are used for removing stones, bottles, cans, grease, sludge and other debris from sanitary sewer and/or storm drainlines by the flushing action of high-pressure water. They are equipped with a noncorroding, polyethylene water tank. All controls for high-pressure water and the hose reel are located at the front of the machine for simpler operation. They are available with a 1,000- and 1,600-gallon water tank capacity. Options include variable flow, an articulating hose reel, cold-weather recirculation system, side-mounted toolboxes, an air purge system, hose footage counter, arrowboard, strobe lights, inspector cam, high-pressure spray bar and selection of nozzles. 888/491-5762;

  Truck-mounted jetter

The truck-mounted Vactor Ramjet from Vactor Manufacturing comes equipped with a Jet Rodder water pump. Armed with up to 2,500 gallons of water in a stainless steel tank, it delivers flows of 60 to 100 gpm at 2,000 or 2,500 psi. The water pump is a single-piston, hydraulically driven, dual-acting pump that delivers a jackhammer-action water flow, breaking through line blockages and scouring caked-on debris from pipe walls. A single operator can quickly drive to each job site to solve line problems and tackle regular line maintenance. It can be configured with either a front- or rear-mounted hose reel. The auto-wind hose guide allows hands-free operation from the control panel for a clean, tight wrap. 800/627-3171;

  Self-contained jetter trailer

The Kohler Lombardini Series 200-gallon, electric-start, two-wheel trailer package from Water Cannon ships complete. Each model is self-contained, requiring no outside power source. Every package includes two 250-foot hose reels, a poly toolbox, 15-gallon fuel tank, battery, lights, jack with wheel, safety chains, 3,500-pound capacity axle, aluminum fenders and tires with external grease fittings. The pressure washers on the package come with a rugged powder-coated steel frame, Beckett burners, high-limit over-temp protection, safety pressure relief valve, trigger gun wand, chemical injector and nozzles. 800/333-9274;


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