Ask The Pros: Why Foam A Line Instead of Using Copper Sulfate?

So you've got roots clogging up your sewer system. And you want them gone ASAP. What’s the best method?

You might think it’s simplest just to pour some copper sulfate down your drain to kill the roots. It’s fast, it’s easy and you can do it yourself, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t the best idea – for a number of reasons.

What's Wrong with Copper Sulfate?

To begin with, copper sulfate can be dangerous. In humans, copper sulfate exposure can cause severe eye irritation and damage to body tissue. The chemical can also poison animals, leading to dehydration, vomiting, eventual shock and death. (According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, copper is especially toxic to birds and fish. Even small concentrations can kill aquatic animals.) Copper can also kill plants by inhibiting photosynthesis.

Oh, and don't forget: high copper levels have been linked to brain and kidney cancer, too.

On a more practical front, copper sulfate doesn't even clean out sewers effectively. The roots enter the top part of the pipe, but most of the copper sulfate solution flows through the bottom. The copper sulfate doesn't reach the majority of the roots, basically making it useless.

OK, so cleaning your own drains with copper sulfate is a bad idea. What's the alternative?

Here at Michigan Power Rodding, we use Vaporooter, a chemical root control solution that destroys roots without harming the environment. It contains two herbicides – metam sodium and dichlobenil – that deliver a one-two punch: killing roots and preventing them from growing back. It doesn't pool in the bottom of pipes, either – it delivers a concentrated blow right to the "root" of the problem.

Vaporooter uses a thick foam to coat the entire pipe, reaching all the affected areas instantly. As the foam dissipates, it also leaves a herbicidal shield on the pipes to resist root growth in the future.

Our foaming treatment is non-systemic and kills only the roots, leaving trees intact. Many cities use the treatment for their trunk lines, and it's had about 40 years of success so far. One quick application kills roots and slows down re-growth for years. With fewer overall blockages and repairs, your sewer system will last longer and overflow less. It's not hard to see why foaming a line makes more sense.

We guarantee that our foaming process will do a better job of getting those roots out of your sewers – and keeping harmful copper out of the environment. You can learn more at

Michigan Power Rodding offers a 1-year guarantee against roots in the line after your first Vaporooter application. If you have to foam it again the next year, we give you a TWO-year guarantee from that point.

What are you waiting for? Call us at 734-761-7154, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today. We kill roots. And we make sure they don't come back.

Contact Us

Michigan Power Rodding

818 Phoenix Dr
Ann Arbor, MI 48108


Service Hours

24/7 Emergency Service

No extra fees before 10 p.m.

No extra fees on weekends