The root of the problem for B.C. man is the root

Giant willow root clogs drain at South Okanagan residence

Action Plumbing workers TJ Wilchynski and Ben Taytelbaum relax after pulling out this large willow root from a storm drain at an Osoyoos property. Submitted photo

Property manager Grant McCulloch decided to call in the pros to get to the root of a storm drain problem at the Osoyoos condominium complex he looks after last week.

And that’s exactly what the problem was, a 36-foot, willow root weighing in at a whooping 500 pounds which had almost completely filled a PVC pipe eight inches in diameter.

“There was a block in there alright, so I called the plumber and the three of us got poking around, I thought maybe it was a dead animal of some sort or maybe a build up of sand but we didn’t expect that,” said McCulloch. “We didn’t know how deep it was going and how far in it was so we just kept pulling, two feet, five feet and it just keeps coming and coming until it came out.

“After that, just sat on our asses and said ‘jeez, who wants a beer?’”

Since his posting on Facebook he says his phone has been ringing off the wall.

“A friend of mine who lives in a condo on the 40th floor in Toronto called and said she seen it on the television on the elevator,” said McCulloch. “I guess this is my 15 minutes of fame. Next news cycle something else will come up and I’ll be ancient history.”

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He believes the biggest draw is the appearance of the root which looks more like a critter out of a science fiction movie.

“People are like, ‘what is that?’ I said to my wife this is how things get on the National Enquirer: ‘Prehistoric sea monster found in a drain’ no, no, no it’s a willow root,” he laughed. “But really I’ve got to give a big thanks to Action Plumbing, and those two young strapping fellas who just kept pulling and pulling and got it out without digging which would have cost thousands of dollars.”

Those workers were Action Plumbing owner Dave Wilchynski’s son and apprentice TJ and journeyman Ben Taytelbaum.

“We actually had to physically get in the manhole, one of the guys was in there with a crowbar and he was pulling as hard as he could and two guys on top pulling with all their might,” said Dave who got a call from his son after they had extracted the creature telling him to get there as fast as he could. “It took them probably three hours, pulling that inch by inch they definitely earned their pay that day and I’ve nicknamed it the root of all evil.

In 35 years I’ve never seen anything quite so huge, you should have seen it, even the pictures can’t do it justice.”

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The buckled sidewalk is further damage of what the willow root system. Submitted photo

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