I have a farm that has a 12" subsurface tile drain that passes through the farm to a nearby river as the outlet for a large watershed. The area parallel the river that this tile passes through has been in CRP for the past 15 years. The CRP contract has expired and the adjoining landowner is clearing the trees and brush that have developed during the life of the CRP contract. I am concerned that tree roots may have already damaged/plugged this tile. The tile is not currently running any water as we are in a drought.
I would like to run a snake style camera 300 feet into the end of the tile outlet to inspect for plugs. I'm afraid that if/when the drought ends I could have a big problem with this tile if it is plugged. I know that especially in dry periods tree roots will go to great distances to find water and obviously end up in tile drains. Has anyone had any experience performing an inspection such as this with a camera snake? I have a few other properties I would like to inspect as well if such a tool can be found. I would think that such a tool must exist for the Sewer/plumbing industry. Possibly a retail equipment rental store has such a tool.
Yes pipe inspection cameras such as you are looking for do exist. We have used them in my day job on occaision to inspect 12" oil pipes under heat treat quench units. As I recall, we hired a sub contractor who owned a camera to do that work. I believe most municipal areas would have someone with a camera able to perform the inspection. We do rent specialized test equipment from time to time and it can usually be found with a few search tries on the internet. Seems the cost to rent the good stuff is usually as much as hiring a subcontractor unless you have a lot of inspections to do.
Some trees and scrub brush species are notorious for reaching to tile for water. I believe that I was once told that weeping willow has been known to reach up to twice it's height for tile.
Would it be cheaper just to have someone run a roto rooter with a big head through the suspected spots?
Or-I have used some chemical root destroying treatments in some tile drains located on building sites with trees. If you dump the chemical in the tile, it of course won't move to the roots until there is some water in the tile.
I dunno the cost of a camera inspection- but- If you find a problem with a camera, you will still have to remove the roots you find.
Save your money. If trees were on top of the line it is plugged. Or if you have a suspect spot dig through it and do a visual. Replace don't waste your time and money trying to clean.
Jabber is right trees will go a long way to find moisture especially if it's dry. If the line runs through an area that will not be farmed use nonperf so the trees don't plug the line again in a couple of years.