Why septic systems fail 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. Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a
Septic drain field – Wikipedia
) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.
What are the symptoms of a bad septic tank?
- Slow-draining sinks, tubs and toilets are a warning sign that your septic tank is nearing capacity or that your drainage lines are damaged. Another warning sign is a gurgling or burping sound coming from your drains. This sound indicates that wastewater is not flowing freely.
What are signs of septic system failure?
8 Signs of Septic System Failure
- Septic System Backup.
- Slow Drains.
- Gurgling Sounds.
- Pool of Water or Dampness Near Drainfield.
- Nasty Odors.
- Unusual, Bright Green Grass Above Drainfield.
- Blooms of Algae in Nearby Water.
- High Levels of Coliform in Water Well.
What are some common failures of septic systems?
Common Reasons That Septic Systems Fail The most common cause of septic system failures is inadequate maintenance and/or improper care. Specifically, not pumping out the solids in a septic tank regularly is the most common failure mode. Septic tanks should be pumped every 3-5 years depending on occupancy and use.
What destroys a septic system?
Pouring copious amounts of harsh chemicals or drain cleaner down your sink or toilet is terrible for your pipes and your plumbing system. First, hazardous chemicals will corrode your plumbing. Second, they kill the good bacteria in your tank that digest and break down waste to keep your system functioning correctly.
What are the signs your septic tank is full?
Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:
- Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
- Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
- Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
- You Hear Gurgling Water.
- You Have A Sewage Backup.
- How often should you empty your septic tank?
What are the 3 stages of sepsis?
The three stages of sepsis are: sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock. When your immune system goes into overdrive in response to an infection, sepsis may develop as a result.
How do you diagnose a septic tank problem?
Symptoms of system failure may include:
- Liquid surfacing or soft spots in the soil over the septic tank or disposal field.
- Green growth or dead spots over septic system.
- Strange noises and gurgling in the plumbing lines.
- Slow draining plumbing fixtures.
- Septic odors in or around the house.
How long does a septic system last?
A septic system’s lifespan should be anywhere from 15 to 40 years. How long the system lasts depends on a number of factors, including construction material, soil acidity, water table, maintenance practices, and several others.
How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?
How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.
Can I 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 happens if you never pump your septic tank?
What Are the Consequences of Not Pumping Your Tank? If the tank is not pumped, the solids will build up in the tank and the holding capacity of the tank will be diminished. Eventually, the solids will reach the pipe that feeds into the drain field, causing a clog. Waste water backing up into the house.
How do you know if your leach field is failing?
The following are a few common signs of leach field failure: Grass over leach field is greener than the rest of the yard. The surrounding area is wet, mushy, or even has standing water. Sewage odors around drains, tank, or leach field.
Is Dawn dish soap safe for septic systems?
One of the best know is commercials for Dawn dish soap. The ability for the cleaner to disperse oil and grease is better for cleaning, as it helps to break it up. The reason these are bad for septic systems is because if you use too much they can leach out into the environment without being properly treated.
What to Do If Your Septic System Fails
The majority of septic systems fail as a result of faulty design or inadequate maintenance practices. On certain locations with inadequate or unsuitable soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables, soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are erected whereas others (those without) are not. Hydraulic failures and pollution of neighboring water sources are possible outcomes of these situations. Regular maintenance, such as pumping the septic tank on a regular basis (usually every three to five years), can prevent sediments in the tank from migrating into the drain field and clogging the system.
Whom to contact if you have problems with your septic system
Contact a local septic system service provider, your local health department, or the regulatory agency in charge of onsite wastewater treatment systems. You may look up the phone number for your local health department online or in your phone book to find out more information. Find a professional in your region by searching online searchable databases of installers and septic system service providers:
- The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association’s Septic Locator
- The National Association of Wastewater Technicians
- And the National Association of Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association
What to do if your home floods
It is important not to come into direct touch with sewage if it has backed up into your home from your plumbing fittings or onsite system since it may contain hazardous bacteria. For further information, speak with your local health department or regulatory body. Personnel involved in cleanup should be outfitted in safety gear (e.g., long rubber gloves, face splash shields). Immediately following the completion of the cleanup, carefully wash all of the equipment, tools, and clothing that were used during the cleanup, as well as the flooded area.
The area should be totally dried out and not utilized for at least 24 hours after it has been entirely dried off.
- Visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. Flooding and Septic Systems: What to Do After the Flood
- See also The Following Questions and Answers Regarding Septic Systems: What to Do After a Flood
In the event that you have a private drinking water well, find out what to do with it after a flood.
Whom to contact for information on septic systems
Those seeking technical support can contact the National Environmental Services Center’s technical assistance hotline at (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191, which is available toll-free.
Signs of Septic System Failure
- Flooding is occurring in the home as a result of backed up water and sewage from toilets, drains, and sinks Bathtubs, showers, and sinks all drain at a snail’s pace
- The plumbing system is making gurgling sounds. The presence of standing water or moist patches near the septic tank or drainfield
- Noxious smells emanating from the septic tank or drainfield
- Even in the midst of a drought, bright green, spongy luxuriant grass should cover the septic tank or drainfield. Algal blooms in the vicinity of ponds or lakes In certain water wells, there are high quantities of nitrates or coliform bacteria.
Septic systems, like the majority of other components of your house, require regular maintenance. As long as it is properly maintained, the septic system should give years of dependable service. If the septic system is not properly maintained, owners face the risk of having a dangerous and expensive failure on their hands. Septic systems, on the other hand, have a limited operating lifespan and will ultimately need to be replaced. Septic systems that have failed or are not working properly pose a threat to human and animal health and can damage the environment.
It is possible that a prompt response will save the property owner money in repair costs, as well as disease and bad influence on the environment in the future.
What happens when a septic system fails?
When a septic system fails, untreated sewage is dumped into the environment and carried to places where it shouldn’t be. This may cause sewage to rise to the surface of the ground around the tank or drainfield, or it may cause sewage to back up in the pipes of the structure. It is also possible that sewage will make its way into groundwater, surface water, or marine water without our knowledge. Pathogens and other potentially harmful substances are carried by the sewage. People and animals can become ill as a result of exposure to certain diseases and pollutants.
What are some common reasons a septic system doesn’t work properly?
The pipe between the home to the tank is obstructed. When this occurs, drains drain very slowly (perhaps much more slowly on lower floors of the structure) or cease draining entirely, depending on the situation. This is frequently a straightforward issue to resolve. The majority of the time, a service provider can “snake the line” and unclog the problem. Keeping your drains clear by flushing only human waste and toilet paper down the drain and having your system examined on an annual basis will help prevent clogs.
- Plant roots might occasionally obstruct the pipe (particularly on older systems).
- The inlet baffle to the tank is obstructed.
- In case you have access to your intake baffle aperture, you may see if there is a blockage by inspecting it.
- It is essential that you avoid damaging any of the septic system’s components.
- Avoid clogging your inlet baffle by just flushing human waste and toilet paper, and get your system examined once a year to ensure that it is in good working order.
- This may result in sewage backing up into the residence or surfacing near the septic tank as a result of the situation.
- If there is an effluent filter, it has to be cleaned or changed as necessary.
Preventing this sort of problem from occurring is as simple as cleaning your effluent filter (if you have one) and getting your system examined once per year.
It is possible for sewage to back up into the residence when the drainfield collapses or becomes saturated with water.
Additionally, smells may be present around the tank or drainfield.
It is possible that the system was run incorrectly, resulting in an excessive amount of solid material making its way to the drainfield and causing it to fail prematurely.
While it is conceivable that a drainfield will get saturated due to excessive quantities of water (either from enormous volumes of water flowing down the drain or flooding the drainfield), it is not always viable to dry out and restore a drainfield.
A connection to the public sewer system should be explored if the drainfield has failed and it is possible to make the connection.
It will be necessary to replace the existing drainfield if this does not take place. It is possible for a septic system to fail or malfunction for various reasons. Septic professionals should be contacted if your system isn’t functioning correctly.
How can I prevent a failure?
The proper operation of your septic system, together with routine maintenance, can help it last a long and trouble-free life. Assuming that your septic system has been correctly planned, located, and installed, the rest is up to you to take care of. Inspect your system once a year and pump as necessary (usually every 3-5 years). Avoid overusing water, and be mindful of what you flush down the toilet and what you flush down the drain. Learn more about how to properly maintain your septic system.
Can my failing septic system contaminate the water?
Yes, a failed septic system has the potential to pollute well water as well as adjacent water sources. Untreated wastewater is a health problem that has the potential to cause a variety of human ailments. Once this untreated wastewater enters the groundwater, it has the potential to poison your well and the wells of your neighbors. It is possible that oyster beds and recreational swimming sites will be affected if the sewage reaches local streams or water bodies.
Is there financial help for failing systems or repairs?
Yes, there are instances where this is true. Here are a few such alternatives.
- In addition, Craft3 is a local nonprofit financial organization that provides loans in many counties. Municipal Health Departments- Some local health departments provide low-interest loan and grant programs to qualified applicants. A federal home repair program for people who qualify is offered by the USDA.
- Septic System 101: The Fundamentals of Septic Systems
- Taking Good Care of Your Septic System
- A video on how to inspect your septic system yourself
- Using the Services of a Septic System Professional
- Safety of the Septic Tank Lid
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.
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 uniform and crowned 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 cause, creates a nuisance, poses a threat to public health, and has the potential to degrade 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.
- J., R.
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.
Around the House: A new reason for septic tank failure
For homeowners in Lake and Sumter Counties, the most disheartening sound they can hear is the gurgling noise coming from the drains in their house. Septic tanks are popular in these counties, and the most disappointing sound they can hear is the gurgling noise coming from the drains in their home. Following this, a drainage slowness occurs, which results in sewage backing up into the tub, shower, or toilet. This is common. As you might guess, the clean-up is a complete disaster. Even bad is the amount of money it will cost to fix it.
- The typical septic system that is installed in most homes in the region is a gravity-based system that transports waste from the residence to the septic tank and then to the drainage field.
- An example of this is when solid waste overloads the tank, causing it to clog and fail to function properly.
- Septic tanks can also become blocked when their filters become clogged with sediments, non-disposable materials, and paper goods that are not septic safe.
- On the surface, it appears that the oil and grease build up in the drain field, preventing the system from functioning correctly.
- Since a result, a homeowner should never put any form of grease or oil into their septic system, as this might cause damage to the drain field.
- Last month, I came across a couple who had experienced a septic system failure that was not caused by one of the factors listed above, but rather by a problem with the drain field itself.
- The homeowners in this case built their home in 2006 and installed a septic system that relied on three effluent outflow drain fields to function properly.
Two years later, this young couple welcomed their first child into the world, and it was at that point that they began experiencing troubles with their septic tank.
They were frequently forced to contact a septic firm to pump the tank, and they were accused of flooding the system by dumping an excessive amount of water into the drain field, which they denied.
Their actions were attributed to damage to the drain field, and they spent the majority of their time limiting water use.
The problems with the septic system caused a great deal of anxiety for the entire family.
They were surprised to see that none of these factors applied.
Gravity-fed septic systems, as previously stated, are a common occurrence.
It is impossible for effluent to run upwards.
For these residents, a poorly designed drain field resulted in 15 years of troubles, anxiety, and financial outlay.
While the homeowners were not at fault in this septic system collapse, the incident serves as an excellent demonstration of how a bad installation on anything around the house may cause a lifetime of problems.
Do not jump to conclusions about your own fault, your spouse’s fault, or the fault of others. Besides being the CEO of RoMac Building Supply, Don Magruder is also the host of Around the House, which can be viewed on the internet at aroundthehouse.tv.
What Causes a Failed Septic System?
Septic systems have long been considered an environmentally acceptable method of recycling home wastewater, but they, like other systems, are susceptible to failure. An unreliable septic system can result in groundwater contamination, wastewater accumulation in the yard, and sewage backups into the residence, among other problems. In order to avoid a failed septic system from occurring, it is critical for homeowners to understand what causes a failed septic system to fail.
Most people think the lack of system maintenance is the biggest reason that septic systems fail.
Because more homeowners are aware of the need of septic system care, this does not happen as frequently as it used to. We at Grant Septic Techs have discovered that fewer than 10% of all failing systems are caused by a lack of septic pumping services. This suggests that the majority of homeowners are either pumping on a regular maintenance schedule or pumping more frequently than is necessary.
But it’s actually heavy water usagethat can clog a septic system and cause failure.
Because of the way a septic system operates, the amount of water your home consumes on a daily basis has a significant impact on the longevity of the sewage filtering system. The flow of wastewater from the input to the output of the septic tank is responsible for the separation of solid waste. When particles and liquids of varying densities and gravity are combined, the natural separation process results in scum rising to the top of the pond, sludge dropping to the bottom, and the watery effluent in the center of the pool.
However, depending on the size of your septic tank and the size of your drain field, your septic system can only manage a certain amount of wastewater at a time (also called the leach field).
In general, to figure out how much water your home uses, multiply the number of bedrooms by 110 gallons and divide the result by the total number of bedrooms.
The unfortunate reality is that if your family overwhelms the drain field with more wastewater than it can handle, the drain field may become “suffocated.” By suffocating the drain field, it is preventing the bacteria from being able to “breathe” and effectively decompose the wastewater.
A septic system can also fail due to unseen physical damage to the drain field.
While it is uncommon, an aseptic system might collapse owing to broken or crushed pipes in the drain field, as well as obstructed pipes in the drain field. For example, heavy cars driving over the land above the drain field, or massive tree roots growing nearby, might cause this to occur. It’s a good idea to determine where your drain field will be and to avoid areas with heavy traffic and extensive plants within 205 feet of it.
Because of the elimination of clogs caused by tree roots, compressed or crushed perforated pipes, the structural integrity of the septic system will be preserved.
Of course, improper installation could be the culprit as well.
Many of the septic systems that were established prior to 1995 are incapable of handling drainage as effectively as more recent septic systems. Prior to the Title V amendments of 1995, some septic systems were placed in poor soil conditions, such as clay and silt, which can actually prevent waste water from draining adequately and cause it to back up. It’s possible that other systems were put in close proximity to groundwater. Alternatively, as a result of altering landforms, a structure may now find itself in close proximity to groundwater that was not present during the original installation.
Drain field pipes pitched wrongly or distribution boxes placed on a shaky foundation have both been observed during routine distribution box inspections, causing the drain field to appear failed when it is not.
Maintenance should be scheduled accordingly from here on out to ensure that drainage and filtration are as effective as possible.
Household substances and everyday objects can cause big problems.
Human waste and toilet paper are really the only things that a conventional septic system is capable of handling naturally (which is designed to be broken down by the bacteria in the tank). Household members and visitors, on the other hand, might flush seemingly innocent things or pour chemicals down the drain, causing the bacteria to become disrupted or clogging up the system. Examples include flushing paper towels, cigarette butts, cotton goods, diapers, feminine products, and even so-called “flushable wipes,” which can all cause actual obstruction in a septic system due to the inability of microorganisms to break down these items.
Never dispose of gasoline, paint, paint thinners, bleach, grease, hazardous oils, or significant quantities of antibacterial home cleansers in a landfill or other waste disposal facility.
The1 cause of septic system failure is due to biomaterials.
Biomaterials (also known as “biomat”) are the root cause of 97 percent of septic system failures, even in systems that are otherwise well maintained and cared for. The many varieties of bacteria found in the septic drain field are combined to form the biomat. The biotmat is responsible for decomposition of organic waste and the prevention of viruses, germs, and illnesses from contaminating your surroundings and causing illness. A healthy amount of biomat is essential for a well-functioning septic system to operate efficiently.
You transfer fresh organic germs into the environment every time you flush your toilet. Nevertheless, once the septic tank has been flushed, it might take anywhere from 1-3 weeks for the system to reestablish its optimal bacteria levels.
Watch for these signs of septic system failure.
If you begin to observe any of the following warning signals, it is possible that your system is failing:
- Sinks, bathtubs, and showers that are taking an unusually long time to drain
- Sewage backing up into your house (sinks, bathtubs, showers, and occasionally even laundry)
- Sewage backing up into your home Water-logged or spongy areas in the yard (that are not caused by rain or any other form of water source)
- Over the septic system, there is grass that is extraordinarily green
- A foul odor in the vicinity of the septic system
To avoid clogging of your drain field, space out your water consumption in your home (for example, minimize the number of loads of laundry done in one day, reduce the use of dishwashers, showers, sinks, and toilets) and have your septic tank drained at the appropriate intervals (e.g., every three years) (once every 1-8 years). Make a note of how frequently your specific tank needs to be pumped. The state of Massachusetts mandates that all septic systems undergo a particular inspection procedure before a property can be sold in order to assure that the system will work properly for the next owner.
- If you see any of the indicators of a failing septic system, it’s essential to have it checked as soon as possible to avoid disease and environmental damage.
- New technology is now available to save your current drain field and septic system with theEverlasting Septic System, which may save you thousands of dollars over the course of your lifetime.
- To establish the source of your septic system failure and return your system to functioning order, contact Grant Septic Techs at508-529-6255 or book your septic system diagnosticeasily online.
- Here’s where we’ll be providing service.
Common Causes of Septic System Failures
However, even though it is an important component of your house, suffering a septic system failure may be a very unpleasant experience. In most cases, it is nasty, dangerous, and expensive to repair. Understanding the many variables that might lead to the failure of your septic tank and taking proactive actions to prevent them is, on the other hand, extremely valuable to the average homeowner. The following are some of the most prevalent indications of a failing septic system:
- Waste backlog
- Foul or obnoxious odor in and around your property
- When the ground is moist, you have frequent difficulties with your drainage system. Drains take a long time to completely drain
- Areas of your yard that are wet and stinky
- Regular septic tank pumping is necessary. The grass above or around your sewage tank will be greener.
If you’ve spotted any of the red flags listed above about your septic system, don’t wait to contact Septic Blue’s plumbers for assistance. When it comes to septic system inspection, troubleshooting, installation, and repairs, we’re well-positioned and well-versed in the field. Furthermore, you will obtain a no-cost, no-obligation quote, and, perhaps most importantly, our services will not deplete your income or social security benefits.
Causes of septic system failures
Overloading of the hydraulic system One of the most prevalent causes of septic system failure is the entry of an excessive amount of water into the system. Homeowners should consider upgrading the capacity of their septic system when planning a home remodeling or extension project. Every septic system has a specific flow rate design, which will very certainly be adjusted if your house is expanded to accommodate more people and/or if you install additional washing machines, dishwashers, and other water-consuming equipment.
- This will result in an excessive amount of water in the septic tank and will cause the anaerobic processes that break down the waste in the system to be disrupted.
- A septic system that has been constructed without taking into consideration the amount of space available, the rate of sewage flow, or the soil conditions may fail at any time.
- Septic tanks with improper design and construction, as well as the use of inferior materials, have a shorter life duration than they should.
- Overheading the septic tank by driving, paving, or erecting a structure is prohibited.
- When automobiles, heavy equipment, or trucks are permitted to park or drive over an absorption system, the pipes and other components may be damaged, as well as other components.
- Homeowners should also be discouraged from building structures over their septic systems since this puts a strain on the system and makes it difficult to maintain.
- Maintenance on your septic system is the same as it is for any other equipment or components on your home.
- Additionally, if you discover that your septic system is not operating as effectively as it once did, you should get it inspected by a professional.
If you’re having problems with your septic tank or you want to modernize your plumbing system, contact the specialists at Septic Blue for assistance.
What Can Make My Septic System Fail?
The 12th of May, 2020 Septic systems are extremely vital to the health and performance of any home, and there are several very critical requirements that must be followed in order to properly care for your septic system and allow it to function correctly. Septic systems that are properly maintained are anticipated to last for decades without experiencing any problems. This is the perfect position for the vast majority of individuals, and it is unquestionably the road that we suggest to every homeowner.
- We also recognize that there are other people who have an unexplainable desire to cause harm to others.
- Here are five simple ways in which you may quickly damage your septic system and end up spending a lot of money to remedy the problems you have caused yourself in the process.
- Please do not engage in any of the activities listed below.
- Everything should be flushed down the toilet.
- Septic systems are exclusively intended for the disposal of waste, water, and toilet tissue.
- The following are some examples of typical objects that can be flushed right away: feminine hygiene products (including pads and sanitary napkins), condoms, diapers (including paper towels), LEGOS, fruit, vegetables, socks, and credit card applications, to mention a few.
- “If it fits, flush it!” is the slogan to live by if you want to completely ruin your septic system.
Typically, this is necessary every 3 to 5 years, although the frequency might vary based on water use and the number of people living in the home.
If you follow these steps, you will almost certainly experience system breakdown and will be able to produce a true septic emergency!
This will be a difficult experience for you, but it will be well worth it if you plan on parting with substantial quantities of money in the future.
You may find drain fields all around your yard, and these are the areas where your septic system dumps wastewater into the soil for filtering and distribution.
If you want to completely demolish your septic system, planting trees immediately on top of your drain field is an excellent long-term strategy to follow.
As the tree roots develop and burst through the piping, they will direct their way right into the path of your drain pipes.
Now, please be patient, since this is a long-term strategy that will take years to implement.
Water should be diverted directly into your drain field.
If, on the other hand, you want to completely overwhelm and ruin your septic system, you’ll need a different strategy.
This results in water accumulating on the ground surface, which eventually causes your system to get clogged.
More water that enters your drain field increases the likelihood that your system will get overwhelmed and eventually fail.
And please keep in mind that these tactics should only be used by people who are attempting to completely ruin their septic system.
It is strongly recommended that you avoid following the above instructions at all costs if you are like the majority of individuals who would want to take care of their septic system and prevent costly repairs!
How Can I Tell if My Septic Tank is Failing or About to Fail?
There is nothing quite as uncomfortable as a septic system that has gone bad on you. The most typical causes of septic system difficulties are sediments clogging and blocking the system, tree roots obstructing the system, damaged pipelines, and an obstruction inside the septic pipes. When large amounts of wastewater flood sludge out of the tank and into the distribution pipes, the most common cause of in-pipe blockage is a clog in the distribution pipes. One of the most common reasons for system failure is the natural aging process, which is accompanied by the formation of a biomat.
By keeping a look out for many warning signals, a homeowner can take proactive steps to prevent an approaching failure.
First Signs of a Potential Problem
A malfunctioning septic system may manifest itself in a variety of ways, including sluggish draining toilets and sinks, gurgling noises in the plumbing, sewage aromas inside, continuous drainage backups, or germs in the well water. If any of these symptoms are present, look for more pronounced signs of a septic system failure that may be present. Check the absorption field for scents that are abnormally strong. In the event that untreated sewage penetrates into the surrounding soil, gases produced by the decomposition process rise to the surface and may be clearly identified.
In most cases, the location of the greatest odor will correspond to the site of the septic system failure.
The most easily recognizable visible symptom of a septic failure is the presence of lush patches of grass or locations in which the plants are growing significantly more than in other areas. Consequently, it is possible that the effluent is seeping into and surrounding that particular location. Because of the high concentration of dissolved nitrate and phosphate in septic effluent, it may be used as a powerful fertilizer. These thriving spots of growth may be indicative of a leak. It is unfortunate because it may also suggest a system that has failed at an advanced stage and would require costly repairs.
The presence of this condition indicates that the soil around the site has gotten saturated with untreated waste material.
This condition poses a major health threat, and a licensed professional should be brought in to do an evaluation of the issue immediately.
A homeowner should never attempt to enter a cesspool or septic tank since drowning or asphyxia by the trapped gases within the tank might result in significant injury or death to themselves or others.
If the septic system fails completely, it may be necessary to replace the entire system, which can be rather expensive. It is possible to save substantial money in the long run by staying on top of early indicators of a potential problem and having a regular inspection and cleaning performed.