Site Accessibility Information Access Key 1 to Skip to Top Navigation Access Key 2 to Skip to the Three One One link Access Key 3 to Skip to City of Winnipeg Main Menu Access Key 4 to Skip to Left Navigation Menu Access Key 5 to Skip to Content area Access Key 6 to Skip to Right Sidebar content area Access Key 7 to Skip to Footer Links
City of Winnipeg
|  Link to the City of Winnipeg French websiteFrançais  |
COVID-19: City of Winnipeg response and latest updates on City facilities and services COVID-19 : Mesures prises par la Ville de Winnipeg et dernières nouvelles sur les installations et services municipaux
Risk Management Branch

Tree Roots

The City is tasked with the statutory responsibility for publicly owned trees and maintains the City's urban forest in response to these responsibilities. There is a reasonable program in place for the planting, pruning, removal, and maintenance of general health of these publicly owned trees. This program extends to preserving healthy mature trees and preventing the decline of the urban forest. Publicly maintained trees are deemed desirable by City Council, property owners and citizens of Winnipeg in general. It is reasonable to expect tree roots from these trees could have an impact on sewer lines when a line is already structurally compromised. Homeowners own the sewer pipe from their building to the City's sewer main, including the part under their property and the part under City property, and are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of these privately owned sewer lines.

Resources

Privately Owned Sewer Lines

Tree roots are attracted to areas where there is soil, air and water. If there is a broken drain, water or sewer pipe, the roots of a tree are attracted to the leak. Tree roots don't cause breaks in lines, but will take advantage of an existing break which provides a readily available source of water and nutrients.

Privately Owned Driveways or Sidewalks

Water expands when it freezes. Heaving and cracking driveways or walkways are usually caused by the expansion of water in the soil underneath during a freeze cycle. Each freeze-thaw cycle creates cracks or worsens existing cracks. Tree roots are attracted to the already compromised driveway or walkway since these cracks allow water and air to circulate and tree roots move into this additional growing space. Trees are not causing the breaks but will take advantage of a readily available source of water and air.

In other words, tree roots do not cause the initial damage, but will take advantage of existing structural problems if the pre-existing damage is not properly addressed by the homeowner.

If you believe tree roots from a City owned tree may have caused lifting of a sidewalk or driveway and the damage is located within the City owned street allowance or boulevard, there is no liability against the City to pay for these claims but the damage should be reported to the City through 311 to investigate. If the damage is on private property, you can submit a claim through the City's 311 information line to initiate an investigation into whether the City may be liable for these damages.

Discontinued Gratuitous Payments for Private Sewer Augering (Tree Root Claims)

The City of Winnipeg private sewer augering subsidy ended as of January 31, 2013. The removal of this subsidy was adopted by City Council for the 2013 operating budget. Program funding is no longer available.

The City of Winnipeg holds the position that the City is not liable for any costs or damages associated with obstructions in private sewer lines. There is insurance coverage and a number of sewer back up loss prevention options available to citizens to assist in protection of privately owned property. Property owners have the responsibility to implement available and appropriate loss prevention measures for the protection of their property.

For information on:

Last update: January 16, 2019

Was this information helpful?

How can we make it better?

Any personal information included in your comments is collected by the City of Winnipeg under the authority of section 36(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purpose of improving our website and will not be used or disclosed for any other purposes, except as authorized by law. Contact the Corporate Access and Privacy Officer by mail (City Clerk’s Department, Susan A. Thompson Building, 510 Main Street, Winnipeg MB, R3B 1B9) or by telephone (311) if you have any questions about the collection of this information.

Ces renseignements sont-ils utiles?

Quelles améliorations pourrions-nous faire?

Les renseignements personnels qui sont inclus dans vos commentaires sont recueillis par la Ville de Winnipeg en conformité avec l’alinéa 36(1)b) de la Loi sur l’accès à l’information et la protection de la vie privée dans le but d’améliorer notre site Web et ne seront ni utilisés ni divulgués pour d’autres raisons, sauf dans les cas où cela est autorisé par la loi. Communiquez avec l’agent de l’accès à l’information et de la protection de la vie privée par courrier au Bureau du greffier, immeuble Susan-A.-Thompson, 510, rue Main, Winnipeg (Manitoba) R3B 1B9, ou par téléphone (311) si vous avez des questions sur la collecte de ces renseignements.