Sewer root control with Sanafoam Vaporooter II


Trenchless Australasia — June 2005

Treating sewer lines with Sanafoam Vaporooter foaming sewer root inhibitor to control tree root penetration reduces customer inconvenience, decreases maintenance costs and extends the life of the collection asset. Marshall Horne from RSP Environmental Services provided this account of his experience with Sanafoam Vaporooter.
Currently in use by over 80 authorities in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia is the application of Sanafoam Vaporooter II, the original and most successful sewer root herbicide. It is designed to kill existing roots and retard regrowth for up to three years.
Vaporooter is the most cost-effective technology for maintaining sewer systems against tree root intrusion without harming trees, plant life or pipes. When used according to recommended operation guidelines it will not harm waste water treatment plants. Vaporooter is a combination of herbicides, placed in sewer lines as foam for the purpose of eliminating roots and preventing further destruction of sewer pipes caused by live tree root infestation. Only roots within the pipe, in the pipe wall and a short distance outside the pipe are affected. Trees and shrubs immediately above the pipe are not harmed.
Foam is used to carry the main ingredients, Metham Sodium (herbicide), and Dichlobenil (growth inhibiting agent) to the root mass because a root mass usually enters at the top and sides of a pipe, forming a vale or tale type structure. This application process ensures the pipe is full of foam so the roots will come into good contact with the Vaporooter ingredients.
A jetting truck is used to clean the roots to achieve the best root surface contact with Vaporooter. The foam generating equipment is crucial for achieving the best results from the herbicidal foam. Applying Vaporooter through certified foam maker and jetting equipment allows for total control of the quality of the foam.
This proven application method eliminates the need to cut roots before the application of Vaporooter and during the guarantee period. The very act of cutting roots, while necessary to clear blockages, promotes thicker and more vigorous root regrowth. For this reason root cutting should be a last resort.
If root growth in the pipe is very high, constricting the flow of the foam, root cutting should be undertaken a minimum of six weeks prior to foam treatment to allow the roots to start to grow. The fine white root regrowth is highly susceptible to the Vaporooter ingredients.
After a Vaporooter treatment, the roots die, become septic and soft, and then drop off into the flow. This allows ground pressure to close the cracks created by expanded roots and help reduce infiltration and exfiltration. The end result is a healthier environment, a longer lasting sewer asset, reduced maintenance and operating costs and a more efficient treatment operation.
Years of field-testing has shown the manufacturers of Sanafoam Vaporooter the combination of the three ingredients, Metham Sodium, Dichlobenil and Sanafoam are the formula for success in root control. Substitution of any one of the ingredients greatly reduces the overall efficiency of the product. With over 30 years of rigorous testing and engineering, Sanafoam Vaporooter has become recognised as the most effective form of root control available today.
Once lines are treated with Vaporooter they should left undisturbed for a period of not less than six months, so that the biological disintegration of the root masses can take place. This process will kill roots immediately but they rot and drop off over a period of time. You will not get a gun barrel clean pipe immediately after foaming. This result will come over a period of time. Pipes should be retreated prior to the expiry of the three year guarantee. Retreatment has a cumulative effect on retarding root growth.
Vaporooter is a pro-active tool used in conjunction with other tools and methods to reduce blockages and damage to your sewer asset caused by live tree roots. An ongoing treatment program will significantly reduce blockage rates. A number of current users of the product are prepared to share their experiences of an ongoing Vaporooter program
Sanafoam Vaporooter is registered with the Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) for the application of root control in sewers. It is non-systemic and will not harm trees, is biodegradable and is slowly volatilised in the sewer and is low in toxicity and non-acidic. The main ingredients of Sanafoam Vaporooter are used on cereal and fruit crops for the control of weeds.
Branch Line applications
Branch lines are one of the main points of entry for roots into mainline sewers. Now authorities can apply Vaporooter to branch lines and small sections of mains with the Drainchem Minifoamer. Using a hose with an inflatable bladder inserted into the boundary shaft, the foam is pumped to the reticulation line. The minifoamer generates the foam and pumps it into the sewer and up to 25 branch lines can be treated per day by one employee. Targeting branch lines can reduce mainline sewer blockages.
Sanafoam Vaporooter is guaranteed to kill all roots in every sewer treated and to eliminate main line stoppages caused by live tree roots. If a treated sewer blocks due to live tree roots during the guarantee period, the applicator will retreat that section at their own expense. This guarantee applies to sewer stoppages caused by live tree roots. It does not apply to stoppages caused by grease or other foreign matter, flat, collapsed or deformed pipe, or flooding caused by surcharged or plugged sewer section downstream from a guaranteed sewer section. This guarantee applies to main line sewer section only. The cause of the blockage is at the sole discretion of the asset manager and RSP Environmental Services will agree as to the cause of the blockage with the asset engineer.

Appeared in issue: Trenchless Australasia — June 2005

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