If the pipe leading into the drain field becomes clogged, the septic tank will fill up without draining water. As the water creeps up through the main line, fixtures in the house lose their ability to drain properly. If the septic tank is completely clogged, water will back up into the house quickly.If the pipe leading into the
Septic drain field – Wikipedia
becomes clogged, the septic tank will fill up without draining water. As the water creeps up through the main line, fixtures in the house lose their ability to drain properly. If the septic tank is completely clogged, water will back up into the house quickly.
What are the problems with a septic tank?
- Common problems with a septic tank are sludge in the drain field and holes, excess water in the drain field, inability of the tank to process solids, compaction of the soil over the septic tank, and plants growing near the septic tank location.
Why is my septic tank full of water?
The water flow backs up when your drain field floods, causing the water level in your septic tank to rise. Other common issues are plumbing and excess water use. The septic system functions as a step-by-step process which takes time to complete.
What are the signs of a clogged septic tank?
Signs of Septic System Clogging: Water and sewage from toilets, drains and sinks backing up into your home. Bathtubs, showers, and sinks draining slowly. Gurgling sounds present in the plumbing system. Bad odors coming from the septic tank or drain field.
Will a flooded septic tank fix itself?
Most septic tanks are not damaged by flooding since they are below ground and completely covered. However, septic tanks and pump chambers can fill with silt and debris, and must be professionally cleaned. If the soil absorption field is clogged with silt, a new system may have to be installed.
What is the most common cause of septic system failure?
Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.
Will toilet flush if septic tank is full?
A common indicator of septic tank problems is a toilet that’s slow to flush — or won’t flush at all — and a plunger can’t fix the issue. The tank may be full, or there could be a clog in the pipes.
Can I take a shower if my septic tank is full?
Only the water would get out into the leach field in a proper system unless you run too much water too fast. The thing to do is to run your shower water outside into it’s own drain area, but it may not be allowed where you are. Used to be called gray water system.
What to do after septic tank is pumped out?
After you have had your septic tank pumped by a trusted septic company, there are some things you can and should do as the septic system owner.
- 1) Get on a Schedule.
- 2) Take Care of the System.
- 3) Know the Parts of Your System.
- 4) Check Other Possible Issues.
How do you know your septic tank needs emptying?
Here are some of the signs for which you should look.
- Water puddling above the septic tank. So you noticed a small pool of water but it didn’t rain?
- Drains moving slowly. If the drain is moving slowly when you flush the toilet, it could be due to a clog.
- Bad smells coming from the septic tank.
- The sewer has backed up.
How do I clean my septic tank naturally?
You can mix about a 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar and 2 tablespoons lemon to make your own natural cleaning agent. The baking soda will fizz up to help get the dirt and grime in your tub and drains. It’s a great cleaner and your septic system will thank you!
How often should you pump your septic tank?
Inspect and Pump Frequently The average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years.
How long does it take for a flooded septic tank to drain?
In a conventional system, the septic tank holds wastewater for 2-3 days as the anaerobic bacteria treat it.
Can heavy rain affect septic tank?
It is common to have a septic back up after or even during a heavy rain. Significant rainfall can quickly flood the ground around the soil absorption area (drainfield) leaving it saturated, making it impossible for water to flow out of your septic system.
5 Signs Your Septic Drainfield Has Stopped Working
Unlike municipal septic systems, which consist just of a subterranean tank that collects waste and water, residential septic systems are more complex. Water finally departs the tank through an outlet pipe and into a network of long perforated pipes known as the leech or drainfield after reaching the tank’s interior. The drainfield is equally as vital as, if not more so than, the septic tank in terms of wastewater treatment. In the event that this component of the system begins to fail, prompt action might mean the difference between relatively small repairs and a total drainfield replacement.
Drainage is being slowed.
As long as there is still any water in the pipes of the field, the drains in your home will continue to function, albeit at a slower rate.
The presence of obstructions in the inlet or outlet pipe, as well as several other septic problems that are less difficult to resolve than drainfield problems, might result in delayed drainage.
- You may detect puddles or spongy and mushy ground all over the place if you look closely.
- A backup occurs when the water level rises to a level that forces sewage up the input pipe and into the lowest drains in your house, which is known as a back up in the system.
- Drainfield leaks can provide visible consequences on the surface if the drainfield leaks at a higher rate than typical or contains decaying material that is meant to remain in the tank.
- Returning Flow is the fourth step.
- If you presume that the tank just need pumping, the service technician may discover water and sewage entering the tank from the outlet in a reverse flow, which would indicate that the tank requires more than pumping.
The presence of reverse flow from the drainfield is an obvious indication that you want jetting or pipe replacement services.
The Development of Odors In the end, you can utilize your sense of smell to detect indicators of drainfield issue.
Any sewage or toilet scents, even if they are weak and difficult to detect, signal that you should have a professional evaluate your home immediately.
This is the most effective way.
Whenever we observe a decrease in drainage capacity, we will inform you of the problem and your choices for resolving it before the system stops processing waste altogether.
In addition, we’re pleased to address any of your questions or concerns concerning your drainfield or septic system in general with a professional response.
Septic Tank Full Of Water Not Draining: Reasons And Easy Solutions
There is an excessive amount of water in the septic tank, however the wastewater is not being properly treated. That’s a cause for fear since something horrible is about to happen very shortly! However, you are not alone in experiencing problems with your septic tank filling up with water and not emptying. This is something that a lot of people are already dealing with. So, I’ll go through why this happens, what the ramifications are, and what you can do to prevent it from happening again, including some home treatments for a clogged septic tank.
Why Is The Septic Tank Not Draining Fast Enough?
When you are aware of the probable reasons of a clogged septic tank, it will be much easier to take remedial action when the problem is identified. So, let’s have a look at some of the most typical explanations that may be cited: ‘When was the last time you drained out your septic tank?’ is a good question to start with. If the response is within the previous two years, it is likely that there is nothing wrong with the septic tank in question. However, if you are experiencing a problem with your septic tank not emptying properly, it is possible that there is a blockage somewhere between the tank and your home.
- The drains or the effluent filter are most likely malfunctioning, and this is the most likely cause.
- If you flush items such as diapers, smaller packages, hair spools, and other similar items down the toilet, they may block the pipes, resulting in a septic tank that is difficult to empty.
- However, if the effluent filter appears to be in good working order, there may be a problem with the septic tank’s input baffle.
- To unclog the access port, just push the inlet baffle through the access port.
- When it comes to maintaining the entire septic system running and re-introducing treated effluent back into the soil, the drain field is absolutely critical!
- As a result of the soil’s inability to absorb incoming treated wastewater, the septic tank will have drainage problems.
- Only a professional septic firm with years of expertise can ensure that it is placed correctly.
- Due to the fact that it is located deep below, you are also unaware of its current status.
In order to determine whether or not there were any mistakes made during the initial installation of your septic tank, it is usually a good idea to have it examined by an expert.
It is possible for tree roots to invade drain lines, resulting in clogged drains, which can then lead to a backed-up septic tank that is difficult to drain. Tree roots, in addition to drain pipes, have the potential to penetrate sewer systems. As a result, if there are huge trees in close proximity to your septic system, it is critical that you treat your pipes with root growth inhibitors. Furthermore, you may have a new drain pipe installed that will be able to withstand and avoid similar infiltration in the future.
Your septic tank is only capable of holding a specific amount of waste.
If water from your septic tank is accumulating in your yard, it might be a contributing factor!
Misconception on Slow-draining Septic Tank
So, how can you determine whether or not you have a clogged septic tank? I’m wondering because a lot of individuals make the mistake of believing that they are experiencing drainage difficulties as a result of clogged pipes. I’ll grant that it’s difficult to tell for certain. It is necessary to make certain that your septic tank is not overflowing before taking any final action to deal with the situation. If all of the lower drains in your home suddenly become extremely sluggish to drain, it is possible that your septic tank is plugged.
It occurs as a result of the proximity of the lower drains (used by the toilets, shower, and other fixtures) to the septic tank.
However, if you have a sluggish draining sink or one or two other fixtures, but the rest of the fixtures are working properly, you do not have a clog in your sink.
Fixing Your Clogged Septic Tank Full of Water
By now, you should be aware of all of the probable causes of a septic tank that is overflowing and not draining properly. According on my observations, either the blocked drains or the flooded leach field are to blame. For those of you who feel that the blocked drains are responsible for the septic tank not operating properly, you are free to use my remedy. This is the course of action you should take. Make sure you have baking soda and white vinegar on hand. If you don’t already have them, go to your local store and get them.
- Then, pour in 1 cup of white vinegar and let it sit for at least 30 minutes, or until the bubbles have subsided completely.
- That should take care of the problem.
- If you’re interested in learning more about different options, you may visit this site.
- If you do not have the necessary training, I do not advocate dealing with the septic tank on an individual basis.
When an untrained individual attempts to pump or clean the septic tank, a variety of negative consequences might result. Look it up on Google and you’ll get a better understanding of the possible danger. You should get in touch with an expert and have them take a look.
Keeping Your Septic Tank Draining
Many individuals neglect to pump out their septic tanks on a regular basis, which can lead to serious problems. Most people aren’t going to pay attention to it until their septic tank starts backing up. Yes, there are several factors that contribute to a clogged septic tank; however, you can avoid this by having it pumped out on a regular basis. Almost all forms of septic tanks require pumping out every 3 to 5 years, depending on their age. Of course, the interval is determined by a variety of parameters such as the size of the family, the size of the septic tank, the volume of solid waste, and so on.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What should you do if your septic tank is overflowing with water? Stop flushing water from your home down the toilet as soon as possible. Now, if the drain appears to be clogged, you can attempt to unclog it on your own. However, you should always contact a septic tank servicing firm if you need to pump or clean your septic tank. What causes a septic tank to fail to drain? One of the most common causes for this is that the drains become blocked with sludge and debris, the ground becomes saturated from heavy rainfall, or the tank itself fails to drain.
- Pour 12 cup of baking soda down the drain and allow it to sit for a few minutes before flushing it.
- There will be a lot of bubbles to notice.
- Try to avoid unclogging the septic tank on your own if at all possible.
- What are the indicators of a septic tank malfunction?
- Is it possible for a flooded septic tank to self-repair?
- However, if it has become clogged with silt and debris, it should be cleaned by a professional.
- Do not want to watch what occurs when the septic tank is completely overflowing.
- However, crap happens, and when it does, all you have to do is call a professional septic system provider to take care of the issue.
Traveler, foodie, interior designer, and blogger are just a few of my interests.
Gardening is something I enjoy doing a lot! It was with the assistance of my darling wife that I designed my own home. Thank you very much!
SEPTIC PROBLEMS THAT CAN MIMIC DRAIN CLOGS
Your bathroom drains may be running slowly, and you may be thinking pouring some chemical drain cleaner down the drain to clear the clog. However, in these situations, rather than relying on potentially harmful drugs, it is always preferable to consult with medical specialists for a diagnosis. Instead of a simple clogged drain, you may be dealing with a plumbing vent problem, a sewer line problem, or a septic system problem instead. Learn about three septic issues that might manifest themselves in ways that are similar to drain obstructions.
- An entrance baffle and an output baffle are standard features of a septic tank.
- The intake baffle assists in the smooth entry of wastewater into the tank.
- This form of obstruction, like a drain clog, will cause drains to slow down or stop completely.
- In addition, there is the pipe that runs from your house to the septic system.
- In addition to blockages, this main line is subject to earthquake damage, damage from huge machinery being driven over the region, and tree root damage, no matter what material it is constructed of.
- Failure of the Drainfield It is possible that some homeowners are unaware that septic systems have a limited lifespan.
For this reason, you must have a reserve leach field site set aside when installing your sewer system, as mandated by federal laws.
One occurs when a large amount of solid waste is introduced into your system, causing them to get clogged to the point where they must be replaced.
Compaction is another issue that can cause a leach field to fail prematurely if it is not addressed.
Due to the fact that the field’s functioning is dependent in part on bacteria that require air in the soil to survive, this might render the region unusable.
Some of the symptoms of these three septic illnesses might be mistaken for those of a normal plugged drain in some cases.
Consequently, if you feel your drains are slowing down, get a professional to come out and take care of the problem.
Contact Upstate Septic Tank, LLC as soon as possible if you are in need of a diagnostic visit, sewer line cleaning, or a septic system cleaning and pumping. We’ll be pleased to assist you in keeping your septic system in the best possible condition.
4 SIGNS OF SEPTIC SYSTEM PROBLEMS
Your bathroom drains may be running slowly, and you may be thinking pouring some chemical drain cleaning down the toilet. Instead of relying on harmful substances in these situations, it is always preferable to consult with specialists for a diagnosis. A clogged drain might be the result of a plumbing vent problem, a sewer line problem, or a septic system problem. clogged drain You will learn about three types of septic issues that might manifest themselves in ways that are similar to clogged drains.
- Baffles are found on both the entrance and the outflow sides of a standard septic tank.
- Water entering the tank is made easier by using an input baffle to prevent it from backing up.
- Drains will be slowed or completely stopped due to this sort of obstruction.
- Damage to the Pipes However, the lines to the leach field are not the only pipes that might get blocked and cause a system to fail.
- When it comes to older systems, this pipe is generally formed of clay piping, which is known as the main sewer line.
- Clay pipe, on the other hand, is exceedingly fragile and contains joints that are easily penetrated by tree roots, making it more vulnerable to damage than other forms of piping.
- A common misconception among homeowners is that sewage systems have a limited useful life.
In order to avoid this, while you’re building your septic system, you must have a reserve leach field location set aside.
One happens when a large amount of solid waste is introduced into your system, causing it to get clogged to the point where it needs to be repaired or replaced completely.
Compaction is another issue that might lead to the failure of the leach field too early.
In addition, because bacteria, which require air in the soil to survive, are essential for the field’s operation, this might render the region inoperable.
Sometimes the signs and symptoms of one of these three septic conditions might be mistaken for those of an ordinary backed-up drain.
Consequently, if you notice sluggish drains, get a professional to come out and take care of the problem.
Whether you require a diagnostic visit, a sewer line cleaning, or a septic system cleaning and pumping, call Upstate Septic Tank, LLC, as quickly as possible. Please allow us to assist you in maintaining the health of your septic system.
Four Common Reasons Why Septic Tanks Fail
The septic tank in your home is the most crucial portion of your plumbing system if your home is not linked to city sewers. Septic tanks are responsible for the proper treatment of all of the wastewater that you generate at your home. Your septic system becomes ineffective when it is unable to properly dispose of all of the wastewater generated in your house. That implies it will return to you untreated and in a dangerous state. Septic tank failure is a very significant (and frequently extremely expensive) problem that affects thousands of people every year.
Fortunately, if you take care to prevent the following issues, you won’t have to worry about it!
Lack of Maintenance
In order for your septic system to function, all of the wastewater you generate must be sent into the septic tank. Heavy pollutants separate from the water and sink to the bottom of the tank, where they are known as sludge. Light contaminants, such as oil and grease, float to the surface of wastewater and form scum on the surface. It is only after the sludge and scum have been separated that the water is discharged into the drainfield by the septic tank. The scum and sludge remain contained within the tank, preventing them from contaminating groundwater.
Pumping out your septic tank at least once every three years is necessary to eliminate built-up sludge and scum from the system.
Eventually, they will take up too much space and may even begin to flow into the soil along with the processed water, causing flooding.
Excessive Water Use
It is the restricted capacity of septic tanks that is their most significant drawback. A septic tank is only capable of processing a particular amount of wastewater at a given point in time. Your house’s septic tank was built to manage a specified flow rate of water, which was determined by the size of your home. Generally speaking, your septic tank should release wastewater at a pace that is equal to or greater than the rate at which it takes in water. When it needs to take on an excessive amount of water, it is unable to do so, and you have a problem.
Because the surplus water cannot be absorbed by the full tank, it must be disposed of in another manner.
This is mainly due to the fact that your septic tank is either either small or too large for your requirements. It’s also conceivable that drainage or runoff from the outside of the house entered the septic tank and overwhelmed the system.
A number of factors can cause substantial harm to a septic system. Four major components make up a septic system: the pipe that connects your home to the tank, the tank itself, the drainfield, and the soil surrounding the tank. If something happens to any of these four components, the septic system may become inoperable. The septic system is affected in a variety of ways by different types of damage. Most of the time, a small amount of harm that appears to be trivial eventually develops into something more serious.
On rare occasions, tree roots will penetrate the septic system and cause it to malfunction.
In addition to blocking drain lines, roots may cause damage to the pipe and tank as well as clog them.
You should try to prevent straining the drainfield surrounding your septic system if at all feasible.
Even if your tank is the correct size, it will not function effectively if it has not been properly fitted. To be effective, septic systems must be placed at an exact depth in a certain kind of soil. To be honest, your drainfield’s soil composition is one of the most significant components of the overall system. It is in charge of absorbing, processing, and finally distributing wastewater in an environmentally friendly manner. If the soil in your drainfield is not suitable for septic usage, it will be unable to perform its function correctly.
- The result will be that sewage will reach groundwater while it is still tainted.
- The same care must be used with the installation of every other component of the system.
- You should hire a professional to inspect your septic system if you are concerned that it was not installed properly.
- Our technicians can evaluate your system, detect any issues that may arise, and then resolve them as fast and effectively as possible.
Common Septic Tank Problems and How to Fix Them
In the absence of professional plumbing training, it can be difficult to evaluate whether or not you are experiencing problems with your septic tank. If you live in a rural region, your septic tank may be your only means of treating and disposing of the waste generated by your household. The waste from your home is dumped into a septic tank leach field, which is also known as a septic drain field, once it has left your home. An underground facility designed to remove contaminants from the liquid that emerges after passing through the septic tank, the septic tank leach field is also known as a septic tank treatment field.
If you are unsure about the location of your septic tank, consult with a professional. Fortunately, there are various symptoms that suggest that the leach field of an aseptic tank or the septic tank itself is malfunctioning. Some of these warning indicators are as follows:
- There is backup in your home’s drainage system or toilets. Backups and obstructions are most commonly caused by a septic tank that hasn’t been emptied in a long time, according to the EPA. A failed leach field in your septic tank means that the water that leaves your home will not be handled and treated at all. Your drains will become clogged as a result. The toilets in your home are taking a long time to flush — If all of the toilets in your home take a long time to flush, it might be a sign that your septic tank is overflowing. Due to the fact that this sludge is not being handled by your drain field as efficiently as it should be, it is creating delays in your toilet flushing. It takes longer for sinks and baths to drain now than it used to – A clogged septic drain field may be to fault if your sinks or bathtubs aren’t emptying as rapidly as they should be under normal circumstances. A septic drain field replacement may be necessary if you find yourself waiting an excessive amount of time for the tub to drain after a bath or for the sink to empty after cleaning dishes. It is discovered that there is standing water near your drain field or septic tank – The presence of standing water near your drain field or septic tank is the most obvious indication that your septic tank has been flooded and that your septic leach field is failing. Water remains in your septic tank after it has been cleaned and processed, and this is what causes standing water in your yard. Your septic tank and drain field begin to smell foul near your house or business — Both your septic tank and septic drain field should be free of foul odors, both outside and within your home. Carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen sulfide, all of which may be present in household garbage, are responsible for the scents you are smelling. In the vicinity of your leach field, you may notice a strong rotten egg stench, which may signal that sewage is seeping. Your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of others, are at risk as a result of this. You should contact a septic drain field replacement company as soon as possible at this point.
Signs That Indicate you Need an Immediate Drain Field Replacement
So, how can you determine whether you require a septic drain field replacement rather than only a repair? The following are indications that you require an emergency drain field replacement:
- Septic tank failure due to a failure to clean or pump waste out of the tank on a regular basis – If you don’t follow your septic tank cleaning plan, you run the danger of having a septic drain field replacement sooner rather than later. Maintaining your septic tank and having it examined at least once every three to five years helps ensure that your drain field is functioning correctly. The number of people living in your home, whether or not you have a garbage disposal, whether or not you use water softeners, how many guests will be in your home at the same time, how often you do laundry, and whether or not you have a sewerejector pump all influence how often you need to have your septic tank pumped. This one is rather self-explanatory: you have broken pipes in your drain field. If your plumber is checking the pipes leading to and from your leach field and detects a break in the pipes, you will need to have a septic drain field replacement performed immediately. In the event of a septic pipe break that cannot be repaired, new pipes or a complete system may be required. Lack of oxygen in the septic tank as a result of a significant amount of grease – An excessive amount of grease in your septic tank system results in the formation of a “scum” layer. It is possible that your leach field is being replaced. Following an overabundance of grease being dumped into your septic tank, the drain holes and piping leading to your drain field will get clogged, necessitating the replacement of the whole system. Tree roots placing strain on your drain field piping — When tree roots begin to grow into your drain field piping, it might spell doom for your drainage infrastructure. These tree roots have the ability to develop swiftly and will seek out a source of water as soon as they can. If the pipes delivering water to your leach field are large enough, the tree roots will eventually find their way there, perhaps rupturing the piping system. Compaction of soil caused by heavy machinery or automobiles near your septic tank drain field – Drain fields that are close to air pockets in the soil surrounding them. When heavy equipment or automobiles are parked or put on top of or near the leach field, it can cause issues for the system to malfunction. A compacted soil environment encourages water to collect near your septic field.
Common Septic Tank Problems and How to Fix Them
You probably don’t give much thought to what happens to your extra water after it has been flushed down the toilet unless anything starts to go wrong with the plumbing. It is critical that you do thorough septic tank repair on a regular basis in order to minimize costly damage. You must first locate your septic tank before proceeding with any further steps. Due to the complexity of your septic system’s operation, and the fact that much of it is underground, issues with it can often go undiagnosed for extended periods of time.
Most likely, one of these five factors is to blame for any septic tank issues you’re now experiencing.
Clogs in Your Septic System
In order to determine whether or not you have a septic tank problem, remember back to the last time your tank was cleaned. Septic tanks accumulate waste over time, and grey water drains through your septic tank to drain pipes that are buried underground in the earth in your yard. In the event that your tank becomes overflowing, you may begin to notice that your drains are becoming slower and that your toilet is becoming backed up. Each and every source of water in your home passes through your septic system before being used.
- If you have had your septic tank drained within the last year or two, you will most likely not need to have it pumped out again.
- If you notice that all of your drains are draining slowly, you most likely have a clog in one of the lines that drain away from your property.
- Because the diameter of these pipes ranges from 4 to 8 inches, they are likely to be thinner in certain regions than others.
- You may be experiencing some sewage backup into plumbing fixtures in your house or accumulating near your septic tank if your drains are working properly but you’re not sure what’s causing it.
- It’s possible that the problem is in your septic tank’s entrance baffle, which you should be able to see if you have access to this area of the tank.
If there is a blockage in this baffle, you should be able to tell immediately. In certain cases, pushing the clog via the access port may be sufficient to clear it out. If you’re unclear of how to access any of this, you should seek the advice of a professional plumber.
Tree Roots are Infiltrating Your Pipes
Tree roots that are in the way of a septic tank’s operation can also be a source of problems. Whether sewage is beginning to back up into your drains, there are inexplicable cracks in your driveway and sidewalk, or you notice persistent puddles and damp spots in your grass even when it hasn’t rained, it is possible that roots have penetrated your plumbing system. Roots may develop fractures in your drain pipes, and if they continue to grow over time, these fissures can expand and cause significant damage.
The installation of modern, plastic pipes that are capable of withstanding root damage can help you avoid the problem of root penetration.
Root growth inhibitors are also recommended if you have trees near to where your pipes are located, since this will prevent them from growing.
You should chop down any trees whose roots are penetrating your pipes and remove the stumps in order to prevent roots from sprouting back after you’ve cleaned out your pipes if you are able to bear the thought of doing so.
Leaks in Sewage Tank or Lines
Tree roots that are in the way of the septic tank can also be a source of problems. Whether sewage is beginning to back up into your drains, there are odd cracks in your driveway and pavement, or you see persistent puddles and damp spots in your grass even when it hasn’t rained recently, it’s possible that roots have penetrated your plumbing. You can break your drain pipes as a result of roots growing into them. As the roots develop, the cracks will expand and cause significant damage. Even worse, they may begin to block your sewer lines.
Prepare a map of your pipes before you begin planting new trees so that you can ensure that everything is planted far enough away from them.
Performing aseptic tankpipe cleaning or flushing a solution down your toilet to eliminate existing tree roots are both options if you suspect tree roots have already infiltrated your pipes.
IncorrectSeptic Tank Installation
The proper installation of a septic system allows the system to operate smoothly. Know if the firm who built your septic system done it in an accurate and timely manner? Most likely, if you bought an older property, you have no idea who built the septic system in the first place. Furthermore, because you can’t look into your septic system, you have no idea what’s going on down there as well. Failure to bury the tank deeply enough, installing the incorrect-size tank, or utilizing the incorrect soil in the drainfield are all examples of installation problems that can result in septic tank failure.
Regular maintenance helps to prevent septic tank backups and gives you a better understanding of what is going on with your septic system in real time.
Increased Water Use
The proper placement of a septic system allows the system to operate at peak performance. Know if the company that installed your septic system did so in an efficient and proper manner. The person who installed the septic system in your older home is most likely unknown to you. You also have no idea what is going on in your septic system because you can’t see it from above. Inadequate excavation of the tank’s foundation, installation of the incorrect-sized tank, or use of the incorrect soil in the drainfield are all examples of installation errors that can result in septic tank failure.
How Your Septic System Works
Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.
Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.
Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:
- All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.
Do you have a septic system?
It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:
- You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system
How to find your septic system
You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:
- Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
- Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
- Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:
- Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
- It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
- A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield
Why Do Septic Systems Fail?
You may be wondering how you can tell whether your septic system is failing. To begin, respond to the following questions:
- Do your drains empty slowly for reasons other than old, blocked pipes? If so, you may have a problem. Do you have sewage backing up into your home? Has a damp, stinky patch in your yard piqued your interest? Is your septic tank connected to a ditch or a stream for disposal? Does the water from your washing machine or sink drain into a road or a brook
- Is it common for you to have drainage issues after a heavy rain or when the ground is sloppy? Do you notice a puddle in your yard when you do your laundry? Do you have to pump out your septic tank on a regular basis (more than once a year)? Are there areas of your yard where the grass over or surrounding your septic tank is greener than the rest of your lawn? Has your septic tank or drainfield been moist or spongy for a week or longer despite the fact that there hasn’t been any rainfall?
If you responded “yes” to any of these questions, it is likely that your septic system has failed or is on the verge of collapsing completely. Therefore, it is not handling and disposing of sewage in an ecologically safe and environmentally sound manner. Additionally, unpleasant bacteria (fecal coliforms) or excessive concentrations of nutrients (especially ammonia) detected in both neighboring wells and surface water may indicate that your system is in difficulty. Generally speaking, a septic system has four fundamental components: the source (the house), the septic tank, the drainfield (also known as a leach field), and the soil below the drainfield (Hoover, 2004; Figure 1).
- The sort of system that is employed is determined by the soil and site characteristics of the lot; nevertheless, the conventional system (as seen in Figure 1) is the most typically used in the state of California.
- Overloading a sewage system with more water than it can absorb is a typical cause of septic system failure.
- The surplus water flows back into the house or onto the lawn when this flow rate is surpassed, causing damage to the structure.
- A change in water consumption, such as the addition of more people to the household or the installation of a water-consuming device, such as a dishwasher or washing machine, may cause your septic system to accumulate excess water.
- Each of these devices has the potential to introduce excessive water to your septic system and should not be connected to it.
- Water from roofs, roads, and paved surfaces, in particular, may be channeled onto the system drainfield.
- As a result, sewage backs up into the home or accumulates on the surface of the ground.
As a result, septic tanks are built to be waterproof, and surface water should be channeled away from the septic tank’s access covers in order to prevent flooding.
The North Carolina State Extension publications Septic Systems and Their Maintenance(AG-439-13) and Septic System Owner’s Guide(AG-439-22) provide information on how to properly maintain a septic system in your home.
Assuming that particles do manage to make it to the drainfield, they will block any small holes or pores in the gravel and dirt below, which will result in sewage backing up and flooding the house or surfacing in your yard.
Pumping your tank every 3 to 5 years, depending on how often it is used, is recommended (seeSeptic Systems and Their Maintenance(AG-439-13) for detailed recommendations on pumping frequency).
A trash disposal should not be installed in a home with a septic system.
No evidence exists that additives, whether biological or chemical, have a good effect on the solids in storage tanks or the system as a whole, according to the experts.
After January 1, 1999, your system must be equipped with an effluent filter if it acquired its permit from your county health department after that date.
Maintenance of the filters is required on a regular basis.
Whenever this occurs, the filter may be cleaned with a garden hose, making sure that all of the waste on the filter is rinsed away into the inflow side of the tank, and the filter can be replaced in the tank by a septic tank pumper or the homeowner.
A septic system that has been inadequately built is a disaster waiting to happen.
The amount of area required for a drainfield is determined by the quantity of sewage that flows into the system, as well as the soil and site characteristics around the drainfield.
Nonresidential property has a flow rate that is defined by the type of use that is intended.
On the whole, sandy soils can take more wastewater than clayey soils, resulting in smaller drainfields for sandier soil types.
The soil is the most significant component of a septic system since it is responsible for processing and ultimately spreading the treated sewage in the system.
A restrictive layer that is too near to the trench bottom may also prevent the soil from properly absorbing all of the sewage, resulting in it being forced to the surface or back up into the home, among other consequences.
The vertical separation distance is the term used to describe this distance.
You may learn more about investigating before investing by reading the NC State Extension booklet Investigate Before You Invest (AG-439-12).
Because of the excessive moisture in the soil, when systems are placed in excavated areas, the soil is severely compressed and the soil pore space is smeared in those locations.
It is likely that wastewater will back up into the home or appear on top of the ground as a result of the reduced ability for wastewater to flow into soil.
This entails inspecting the height of each component on a regular basis.
It is critical that any step-downs or other devices used on sloping sites are correctly built, or else one trench may become overloaded with effluent.
Finally, the soil cover over the drainfield should be consistent and topped in order to prevent surface water from ponding on top of or flowing into the drainfield.
Driving over, paving over, or constructing a structure on top of a septic system can cause damage or destruction.
As a result, the soil might get compacted or ruts can form, exposing system components as well as potentially untreated sewage to the ground surface.
A structure built over a drainfield may create compaction or even damage to a line as a result of the weight of the structure or the position of the building’s footings, among other things.
Tree roots can block drain pipes and gravel in trenches, causing them to overflow.
Roots may potentially enter the septic tank or distribution box, so avoid planting trees and bushes directly in front of or next to these devices.
The grass aids in the evacuation of water and the prevention of soil erosion across the various components of the system.
If this region were now in use, it should be handled and safeguarded in the same manner.
It is comparable to the lifespan of an asphalt shingled roof, when properly maintained, in terms of lifespan of a septic system.
Any failure, regardless of its source, is a nuisance, represents a threat to public health, and has the potential to pollute the environment.
The department will dispatch an environmental health professional who has received specialized training in examining failed septic systems to discover the root cause or reasons of the failure and to make recommendations on how to correct the situation.
The installation of water conservation equipment, for example, might be sufficient remedial steps in some circumstances. In the event of a full breakdown of the system, the installation of a new septic system may be the only viable option. Repairing a Septic System: Dos and Don’ts
- Reporting issues to your local environmental health department and requesting an examination are both recommended. Dokeep the water turned off until the problem is resolved
- People and animals should be kept away from untreated sewage by cordoning off or fencing off the area where sewage is visible on the ground surface. Don’t pile extra dirt on top of a puddle of water that smells like raw sewage, which is most likely the result of a sewage backup. In addition to not resolving the issue, it may cause sewage to back up into your home. Raw sewage includes hazardous microorganisms that can cause illness or death if not treated properly. Don’t pipe or ditch sewage into a ditch, storm sewer, stream, sinkhole, or drain tile
- Instead, use a drain tile. A threat to human health will result from the contamination of surface water, groundwater, or both. You are not permitted to pipe, ditch, or otherwise discharge sewage into an abandoned well or other hole in the earth. This will contaminate groundwater and pose a health risk to those who live nearby. It is against the law
- Do not overlook the situation. It’s not going away anytime soon. A simple repair may become a very pricey one if you wait too long to address the issue. The longer you wait to address the issue, the worse the situation may get.
The most effective strategy to avoid a septic system failure is to do regular maintenance on it. As previously noted, the North Carolina State Extension publicationsSeptic Systems and Their Maintenance(AG-439-13) andSeptic System Owner’s Guide(AG-439-22) provide information on how to properly maintain a septic system. Some of the actions you can take are listed below.
- Water should be conserved. Reduce the quantity of wastewater that has to be absorbed by the soil by using water-saving fixtures and conserving water in the kitchen, bath, and laundry, among other things. As a result, it is especially useful immediately following a large rain, as well as throughout the winter and early spring
- Fixtures that are leaking should be repaired or replaced. The presence of leaky fixtures causes surplus water to be discharged into the drainfield, reducing the quantity of water that needs to be absorbed by the soil. Continue to provide enough cover and landscaping over the drainfield. Make sure the drainfield is well-covered with grass in order to minimize erosion of the soil. A topped drainfield and surface swales will help to keep excess surface water from entering the trench and damaging the soil. Check to see sure gutters, downspouts, patios, walkways, and roads do not redirect water over the drainfield or septic tank, as well. Fill your tank with water on a regular basis. Keeping the drainfield clear with regular pumping keeps particles from accumulating and clogging it. Depending on how often the tank is used, it should be pumped every 3 to 5 years. It has not been demonstrated that the use of additives can considerably reduce the quantity of solids in a tank. Avoid using them in place of regular septic tank pumping
- Instead, limit the amount of waste that goes into your septic tank. Chemicals, solvents, cleaning fluids, paint, motor oil, gasoline, and other similar items should not be disposed of in a septic tank or drain field. They have the potential to destroy all of the good bacteria in the tank and soil, as well as contaminate the surrounding environment. Dispose of these materials appropriately at a recycling center or transfer station in your neighborhood. The following items should be disposed of in the trash: kitty litter, hygiene products, cooking oil, grease, and leftover food. Compostable waste from fruits and vegetables
- Do not drive or construct over any component of your septic system
- Inspect the system components on a regular basis. Examine the environment for signals of issues that can be rectified before a failure happens.
The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States, April 1997. Response to Congress on the Use of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems, EPA 832-R-97-001b. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997. Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. M. T. Hoover published a paper in 1990 titled Investigate the Soil Facts Before Making a Decision. AG-439-12 is the number assigned by NC State Extension. NC State University is located in Raleigh. M. T. Hoover and T. Konsler.
Septic Systems and Their Maintenance: The Soil Facts State Extension, No.
A Guide for Septic System Owners based on Soil Facts.
McCoy, and S.
Sandhu published a paper titled 1977.
Joseph, MI: The American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE), in Home Sewage Treatment (ASAE No 5-77).
The authors would like to express their gratitude to M.
David Lindbo is a Professor of Crop and Soil Sciences at Colorado State University.
Agent specializing in water quality and waste management in a certain area Onslow County is located in the state of North Carolina.