Research has shown that tree roots will not interfere with sewer or stormwater drainage pipes, provided they are maintained in good condition. Roots will not enter intact pipes and drains by force, unless the tree has been planted immediately on top of them or the pipe is already damaged or compromised.
Underground pipes, particularly those constructed of terra cotta, will break down with age, unless properly maintained. Soil pressure may cause general cracking, and rubber or cement seals will inevitably perish or crack with age, causing leaking at joints and increasing the vulnerability of the system.
Sewer and stormwater drainage pipes which run between a property and Sydney Water's sewer main, or to some other discharge point, belong to the owners of the property in question. It is the responsibility of each property owner to maintain the pipe in good condition, so that the above-mentioned deterioration does not occur.
All options, including the replacement, relining or relocation of pipes should be explored prior to considering the removal of a healthy tree. Council may also request a plumber’s report.