What Can Damage Underground Septic Tank Lines? (TOP 5 Tips)

Cars and other heavy vehicles can cause the collapse of underground septic lines. When designing a new septic-line system, you or your contractor should avoid running septic lines under driveways and other areas where people may be tempted to drive.

  • Damage can also occur if someone drives over your septic tank, causing cracking or breaking in the tank. Heavy rainfall and standing water. You may notice that your septic tank fills up with water more quickly after excessive rain or rainstorms that last over several days soaking the ground.

What will ruin a septic system?

Any paper products like tissues, paper towels, tampons, or sanitary products, even some heavier toilet paper, will clog your system if you flush enough of it. Wet wipes are another product that you should never flush into a septic system.

What causes leach lines to fail?

Most leaching fields fail due to biological or hydraulic overload. Hydraulic overload occurs when too much water is sent to the septic tank. For this reason, it is recommended that tasks such as laundry be spread out during the week instead of doing too much at once. This prevents hydraulic overload of the system.

What causes field lines to fail?

Avoiding septic field failure. Many things can cause a septic field to fail, but the primary culprit in septic field failure is overloading, either from too much water or biological overgrowth. Flooding the septic system – and eventually the septic field – with too much water can cause field failure.

What are the signs of a failing septic field?

Signs of Septic System Failure

  • Water and sewage from toilets, drains, and sinks are backing up into the home.
  • Bathtubs, showers, and sinks drain very slowly.
  • Gurgling sounds in the plumbing system.
  • Standing water or damp spots near the septic tank or drainfield.
  • Bad odors around the septic tank or drainfield.

What will clog a septic tank?

If your outlet tee is missing, the latex may also clog the drain field on its way out of your septic tank. Latex can also clog the pump impeller and burn your septic motor. Substances like motor oil, paints, varnishes, and floor wax will damage organisms in your tank.

How many loads of laundry a day are safe to do with a septic tank?

Spread Out Laundry Loads These use less water which puts less stress on your septic system. Regardless of the type of appliance you have, you should still spread out your loads. Instead of doing several loads in one day, consider doing 1 load per day or space out 2 loads if you must do more in a single day.

How do you tell if the leach field is clogged?

Stay vigilant for five signs your drainfield does not drain correctly anymore.

  1. Slowing Drainage. Homeowners first notice slower than usual drainage from all the sinks, tubs, and toilets in a home when they have a compromised drainfield.
  2. Rising Water.
  3. Increasing Plant Growth.
  4. Returning Flow.
  5. Developing Odors.

Can a leach field be restored?

A drainfield that isn’t working properly could result in clogged drains and the release of raw sewage on the ground’s surface. A failing drainfield can, and should, be restored quickly to avoid permanent damage. Biological, organic, and inorganic additives can be used to restore functionality to a failing drainfield.

How deep is a leach field?

A standard leach line is considered to be three (3) feet wide and three (3) feet deep with a length as required.

How do you unclog a septic drain field?

Can Anything Unclog an Old Septic Drain Field?

  1. Shock the System With Bacteria. A septic system bacteria packet can help clean out a clogged drain field by allowing waste material to break down and drain through.
  2. Reduce Water Usage.
  3. Avoid Harsh Chemicals.
  4. Change to Gentler Toilet Paper and Soap.
  5. Contact a Septic Professional.

How do you clean septic lines?

Simple Cleaning Agent — White vinegar is a better option, providing a natural cleaning agent that can help keep septic drains free from mold growth and odor. It is recommended that you pour one cup of vinegar down the drains weekly and let it soak for about a half hour, then flush it through the system with water.

What are signs of a full septic tank?

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?

Why Septic Drain Lines Fail

Describe the operation of septic tanks. The following items should not be dumped into a septic tank: Septic tank upkeep is essential. Fill out a septic tank registration form to get started. The septic tank is susceptible to failure in a variety of ways. Waste water and sewage treatment are being planned with the construction of new tanks. Treatment of septic tank effluent in situations when soakaway is not an option If you are unable to have a septic tank placed on your property, there are other alternatives.

Fitting Failures

A linked line of pipes is only as strong as the weakest fitting in the chain of connections. Pipe fittings are the connectors that link one pipe to another in a wastewater or septic drain system, and they are made of plastic or metal. Fittings are also used to connect pipes to septic tank inlets and outlets, as well as to other plumbing fixtures. A multitude of factors might cause wastewater and septic-line couplings to break beneath your house and/or underground. The following are some of the most common problems with waste and drain line fittings:

  • Inadequate glue or adhesive
  • Incorrect-size fitting
  • Physical strain on pipes near fittings Water pressure that is excessive
  • Mud, obstructions, or debris clogging or blocking pipes

Waste pipes in crawl spaces and basements can be damaged by rats and other tiny animals that climb or crawl on top of or under the pipes, causing them to leak. The fittings on any misaligned or bent pipes may become loose as a result of this condition. If your property floods, it is possible that your septic tank or septic lines have been somewhat displaced in the earth as a result of the floodwaters and/or muck that has been deposited there. Any movement of drain lines or septic tanks as a result of flooding might cause fittings to become disconnected.

Stony Soil

When preparing soil for a septic system, workers must make certain that the ground is safe for the septic drain lines to go through it safely. For rocky or construction debris-filled soil where drain lines are to be installed, a qualified contractor pulverizes the dirt or otherwise prepares the soil for the drain lines by providing a safe bed of sand or gravel for the drain lines. Drain lines must also be installed deep enough so that they are not susceptible to freezing. If the soil around and over the septic drain pipes is not adequately prepared, a variety of issues might arise and worsen.

  • Failure of pipelines caused by heavy material
  • Penetration or puncture of pipes due to the presence of rocks and debris
  • Water pipe corrosion caused by freeze-thaw cycles that displace the soil

In order to prepare the site for your septic drainage lines, you need contact a qualified and professional plumber, contractor, or septic-system specialist who is also licensed and skilled in septic system installation.

Car-Related Compression

The collapse of subterranean septic pipes can be caused by automobiles and other large vehicles. It is recommended that you or your contractor avoid routing septic lines beneath driveways and other locations where people may be tempted to drive when building a new system. Workers from tree services or cable companies who operate heavy trucks or machinery on your property, as well as tree service and cable company employees, should keep their heavy vehicles away from your septic system area and leach field in order to avoid causing damage to your septic lines and tank.

Forest Feeding

Aside from the trees that grow over and around your sewage system, there is a thriving forest developing beneath the earth that supports the pipes and septic tank. In your septic field, plants such as trees and bushes will ultimately sprout roots that will surround the tank and pipes, creating a natural barrier. In addition, forest trees and shrubs have subterranean feeder roots that stretch and probe the soil for moisture and nutrients, allowing the trees and shrubs to thrive. If a feeder root penetrates your septic system and discovers a little leak or fracture, guess where the tree will tap into a fresh supply of moisture and food?

It is possible that you will not notice anything until the septic line pipe has been totally obstructed or damaged by the spreading roots.

The grass roots will not penetrate too far into your septic system’s lines, preventing it from functioning properly.

Doomed Design

You may not have enough space or the appropriate orientation of your pipes to allow for proper drainage if your septic system was constructed by a novice, or if the drainage surrounding your septic field has altered as a result of nearby development. A septic distribution point that is too tiny may collapse or clog quickly, resulting in the failure of your system. A septic field that is not properly oriented might pollute surrounding wells and cause additional drainage problems on your property.

  1. When the winter melts and the rains come in the springtime, many homeowners are shocked to discover that their septic systems aren’t functioning correctly.
  2. Septic lines should be inspected and power roded by professionals in the spring to detect any issues and properly clean the septic lines.
  3. During a septic-line examination, your plumbing specialist will be able to determine if the drain lines are too narrow or whether any of the concerns listed above need to be addressed.
  4. With our septic line cleaning services in Illinois, we can break up tangled tree roots and stubborn grease blockages into small bits inside your sewer pipes, allowing things to flow freely again in your Illinois house.

Can Your Drive a Truck Over a Septic Tank?

Is it possible for you to drive a truck over a septic tank? Is it possible to drive over a septic tank?

Can you drive a truck or vehicle over a septic tank? The answer is you technically can, but you shouldn’t, and you should familiarize yourself with the risks in doing so.

Is it possible to drive over a septic drainage field? There is no official numerical value that specifies the maximum amount of weight that an underground septic tank can withstand. You should be aware, however, that it is strongly advised that you avoid driving or parking vehicles or heavy machinery on or near a septic system system area. Subjecting your septic tank to significant weight from trucks, automobiles, or tractors, among other things, and doing so for an extended length of time, increases the risk of damage to the system.

  • It brings with it a full slew of pricey septic system issues to deal with.
  • As a result of the weight of some golf carts, especially those that are filled with people, your septic tank may experience excessive stress.
  • The act of driving over your septic tank, septic pipe, or drain field can do significant damage to your septic system, not to mention the fact that it is dangerous.
  • Should You Park Your Car on Top of a Septic Tank?
  • Under no circumstances should sewage disposal tanks be constructed beneath garages or driveways.
  • If at all feasible, delineate the region beneath which your septic tank will be installed.
  • Indeed, parking or driving over a septic tank must be avoided at all costs, and this is especially true during periods of heavy rainfall.

What If You Built Structures or Have Existing Structures Built On Your Septic Tank?

access to a septic tank for the purpose of pumping The construction of any type of structure over any part of your septic tank is never a good decision. Due to the restricted access to the septic tank, the most common problem this causes is that septic maintenance (such as regular pumping) and repair become more difficult or time-consuming to complete. A significant number of homeowners and business owners have their sewage-disposal tanks concealed beneath wood decks, pool patios, driveways, or other structure annexes.

  1. Building over your septic tank can be remedied by installing detachable boards or trap doors, which allow for practical access to the septic tank while still maintaining aesthetic appeal.
  2. While your drain field makes use of the soil surrounding it to refine the flow from the septic tank, your septic tank does not.
  3. The fact that you would be developing over a large area that contains sewage water, which is extremely unsanitary, has not yet been brought up in conversation.
  4. Ensure that you have easy access to the tank because it is necessary for routine inspections and upkeep, as well as for emergency repairs.
  5. It is not only impractical, but it is also prohibitively expensive.
  6. It is extremely dangerous to the health of humans and animals if harmful gases leak out of the sewage treatment system and into the environment.
  7. Building over your drain field condenses the soils as well as can harm the below ground device leading to septic tank failing.

No, driving over your septic drain field is similarly never ever recommended.

Driving over your septic leach field when need to not create any type of long-term damage.

If you were to drive over it constantly, this will likely small the fill over the system and also jeopardize the system’s air flow.

As a safety rule-of-thumb, remember that driving or auto parking on a drain field can hinder its functions because of compaction of the soil as well as the loss of adequate air flow with the surface area.

South End Plumbing does not install, maintain, or pump septic tanks, we do however repair sump pumps and sewer/septic lines that may be clogged.

So remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize inleak detection– give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at704-919-1722or fill out theform onlineto schedule a visit.

How a Septic System Works – and Common Problems

This Article Discusses Septic Tanks are a type of septic tank that is used to dispose of waste. Field Sizing and System MaintenanceProblems with the Leach FieldSystem Performance Questions and comments are welcome. See Also: Septic System Frequently Asked Questions Articles on SEPTIC SYSTEM may be found here. In locations where there are no municipal sewage systems, each residence is responsible for treating its own sewage on its own property, which is known as a “on-site sewage disposal system,” or septic system, more popularly.

One of the most commonly seen types of leach field is composed of a series of perforated distribution pipes, each of which is placed in a gravel-filled absorption trench.


The wastewater is collected in the septic tank once it has been discharged from the residence. Septic tanks are normally between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons in capacity and are composed of concrete, strong plastic, or metal, depending on the model. Highly durable concrete tanks, which should endure for 40 years or more provided they are not damaged, are the most common. Many contemporary tanks are designed with two chambers in order to maximize efficiency. Household wastewater is collected in the septic tank, where it is separated and begins to degrade before being discharged into the leach field.

  • In the tank, oil and grease float to the top of the tank, where they are known as scum, while solid waste falls to the bottom, where they are known as sludge.
  • Bacteria and other microorganisms feed on the sediments at the bottom of the tank, causing them to decompose in an anaerobic (without oxygen) process that begins at the bottom of the tank.
  • Solids and grease must be pushed out of the system on a regular basis in order for it to continue to function effectively.
  • Each gallon added to the tank results in one gallon being discharged to the leach field, leach pit, or other similar treatment facility.

A large amount of water delivered too rapidly to the tank may discharge untreated effluent, along with oil and particulates, into the leach field, where it may block the field and cause a backup.

Leach Field

When used properly, a leach field (also known as a “drain field”) is a series of perforated pipes that are typically buried in gravel trenches 18 to 36 inches below grade — deep enough to avoid freezing, but close enough to the surface that air can reach the bacteria that further purify the effluent (see illustration below). As little as 6 inches might separate you from the ground surface, depending on your soil type and municipal regulations. It is customary to cover the perforated pipes with approximately two inches of gravel and a layer of topsoil that is 18 to 24 inches in depth.

  1. Grass is often sown above the ground.
  2. The leach field is comprised of rows of perforated pipes in gravel trenches that are used to spread wastewater over a vast area in order to further purify it.
  3. A bacteria-rich slime mat forms where the gravel meets the soil, and it is responsible for the majority of the water purification work.
  4. Despite the fact that wastewater freezes at a far lower temperature than pure water, freezing is still a hazard in cold areas.
  5. The leftover pathogens are converted into essential plant nutrients by these organisms, while sand, gravel, and soil filter out any solids that remain.
  6. If the system is operating effectively, the filtered wastewater will return to the aquifer as naturally clean water that is suitable for human consumption at this stage.
  7. Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.
  8. Special systems may also be necessary in regions where there are flood plains, bodies of water, or other ecologically sensitive areas to protect against flooding.
See also:  How Time Does It Take To Pump 750 Gallon Septic Tank? (Best solution)


Using perforated pipes put in gravel-filled trenches, the drain field is sized to accommodate the number of beds in the house. In order for the system to function successfully, the leach field must be appropriately sized for the soil type and amount of wastewater, which is normally determined by the number of bedrooms in the house. In order for the liquid to seep into the soil, it must be permeable enough to do so. As a result, the denser the soil, the larger the leach field that is necessary.

  • Better to have surplus capacity in your system than to have it cut too close to the bone.
  • Septic tank backup into your house, pooling on the surface of the earth, or polluting local groundwater are all possibilities if the ground is incapable of absorbing the liquid.
  • Dense clay soils will not absorb the liquid at a sufficient rate, resulting in a backlog.
  • If the soil is mostly composed of coarse sand and gravel, it might drain at such a rapid rate that untreated sewage can poison the aquifer or damage surrounding bodies of water.
  • Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.

These systems sometimes cost twice or three times as much as a regular system and require significantly more upkeep. Near flood plains, bodies of water, and other ecologically sensitive places, special systems may also be necessary to protect people and property.


If you take good care of your system, you will be rewarded with years of trouble-free operation. Pumping the septic tank on a regular basis is necessary to remove the particles (sludge) and grease layer (scum) that have built up in the tank. The solids will ultimately overflow and spill into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this is not done. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult, if not impossible; thus, constant pumping is essential!

  • Cooking fats, grease, and particles may also wash into the leach field if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if the tank is overcrowded on a regular basis.
  • Extra water from excessive residential consumption or yard drainage can overwhelm the system, transporting oil and particles into the leach field and causing it to overflow.
  • In addition, don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day.
  • To minimize overburdening the system, the following measures should be taken:
  • You will have years of trouble-free service if you take good care of your system. In order to remove the solids (sludge) and grease layer (scum) from the tank on a regular basis, it is necessary to pump the tank periodically. The solids will ultimately overflow and flow into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this is not prevented. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult or impossible
  • Thus, routine pumping is essential! The most common reason for septic systems to fail prematurely is a failure to pump empty the tank. Additionally, if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if it is overflowing on a regular basis, cooking fats, oil, and particles might wash into the leach field as well. Whenever fats, petroleum compounds, and solids make their way into the leach field, they can clog the biological mat that forms where the leach trenches meet the soil and prevent it from doing its duty of filtering the effluent effectively. Heavy domestic consumption or yard drainage can cause the system to become overloaded, resulting in the transport of oil and particles to the leach field. Drainage from the yard should be directed away from the leach field in order to avoid difficulties. In addition, don’t try to wash a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day. Keeping the load controlled will assist to extend the life of your system and keep it running at its peak performance. Preventing the system from becoming overloaded consists of the following steps.

In addition, refrain from flushing sediments, strong chemicals, and just about anything else down the toilet or sink other than biological waste and white toilet paper. Avoid using garbage disposals in the kitchen. If you really must have one, keep it for small non-meat bits only. Avoid flushing chemicals or paints down the toilet since many chemicals can destroy beneficial microorganisms or cause water contamination in the surrounding area. Avoid flushing the following down the toilet:

  • Grease, fats, and animal scraps
  • Paints, thinners, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals
  • And a variety of other materials sanitary napkins, tampons, and other supplies Paper towels and disposable diapers are examples of such products. Egg shells, coffee grounds, and nut shells are all good options. Antibacterial soaps and antibiotics are available.

It is preferable to put grass over the leach field and to refrain from driving or parking in the vicinity. Excessive weight placed on top of the drain field might compress the earth, diminishing its efficiency as a drain field. Drain pipes can also become clogged by trees and plants with invasive roots. In order to prevent damage to the leach field, the following measures should be taken:

  • Heavy machinery should not be driven, parked, or stored on top of the leach field (or septic tank). Placement of a deck, patio, pool, or any other sort of construction over the leach field is prohibited. Remove any large trees or other plants with deep roots from the leach field. Grass is the most effective groundcover.

Even with careful use and routine maintenance, however, leach fields are not guaranteed to survive indefinitely. It is inevitable that the soil will get saturated with dissolved elements from the wastewater, and that the soil will be unable to absorb any more incoming water. The presence of an odorous wet area over the leach field, as well as plumbing backups in the house, are frequently the first indicators that something is wrong. Many municipalities mandate septic system designs to incorporate a second “reserve drain field” in the case that the first field fails.

A well constructed and maintained system should last for at least 20 to 30 years, if not longer than that. After a few tears, the initial field will naturally heal and may be used once again when the situation calls for it to be. More information on Septic System Maintenance may be found here.


Poor original design, abuse, or physical damage, such as driving heavy trucks over the leach field, are the root causes of the majority of septic system issues. The following are examples of common situations that might cause a septic system to operate poorly: Plumbing in the home. obstructed or insufficient plumbing vents, a blockage between the home and the septic tank, or an insufficient pitch in the sewer line leading from the house are all possible causes. Sewage tank to leach field connection Septic tank and leach field blockage caused by a closed or damaged tank outlet, a plugged line leading to the leach field caused by tree roots, or a blockage caused by sediments that overflowed from the tank Piping in the leach field.

  1. Most of the time, tree roots do not make their way through the gravel bed and into the perforated pipe.
  2. Reduced flows, achieved through the use of flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures, may be beneficial.
  3. Because of the seasonal high water table, the soil around the trenches might get saturated, reducing the soil’s ability to absorb wastewater.
  4. This may frequently be remedied by adding subsurface drains or curtain drains to intercept the water flow into the leach field region and to lower the water table in the immediate area around the drainage system.
  5. Likewise, see: In order to do a perc test, who should I hire?
  6. Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime?
  7. Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test?
  8. Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the top of the page

The 5 Biggest Questions Home Buyers Have About Septic Systems

Image courtesy of istockphoto.com The word “septic system” in a home ad is well-known for scaring away potential purchasers from the property. Some homebuyers may consider the system to be obsolete, expensive to fix, or difficult to keep up to date. Septic systems, on the other hand, do not have to be frightening. A septic tank and its accompanying parts may easily endure for decades if they have a good maintenance record and are properly inspected on a regular basis. Don’t instantly rule out an attractive property because it has this sort of system buried out back if you’re contemplating booking a viewing appointment.

Continue reading to learn more about septic systems, including how they function, common misunderstandings about them, how to maintain them, how to locate a septic system inspector, and indicators that a septic system is in danger of collapsing.

1. How do septic systems work?

Water that has been filtered by a septic system is called effluent. There are several components, including a big septic tank, distribution box, baffles, and a drainfield, all of which are buried below ground. Septic fields and leach fields are other names for the drainfield, which is a network of perforated pipes that extends out from the septic tank and allows filtered wastewater to be released back into the environment through the soil. The wastewater from your home, including that from toilets, sinks, showers, and appliances, is channeled out of the house and into the tank through the pipes.

The accumulation of particles over time offers a luxury home for helpful anaerobic bacteria, which work to break down the materials and release the grease, oil, and fats that have accumulated on the surface (the scum).

The residual wastewater (also known as effluent) runs via outlet pipes into a disposal bed or drainfield, where it is slowly and securely filtered by the earth, allowing it to be recycled.

2. What are common misconceptions about septic systems?

A lot of people have misconceptions (and even falsehoods) regarding septic systems, and this may make it difficult to decide whether or not to purchase a property that has one. Take a moment to put some popular myths and misconceptions in their proper perspective.

  • A septic system is no longer used by most people. Actually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), around 20% of homes are equipped with a septic system, or one in every five dwellings. Septic systems fail on a regular basis. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a septic system may survive up to 40 years—and possibly even longer—with proper maintenance. Septic systems have a foul odor. It is unlikely that an improperly managed septic system will release any unpleasant smells. An odor emanating from drains or the septic system itself indicates that there is a problem. A septic system has the potential to pollute a well. Installed correctly and maintained on a regular basis, a system will not cause contamination of a well on the property. To guarantee proper separation of drinking water and wastewater, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the system be installed at least 50 feet away from a well. The septic system will be examined during a house inspection. A house inspection is often focused on the systems within the home, and as a result, it seldom includes more than a cursory examination of the septic system. Look for a professional that understands the workings of a septic system and how to do a comprehensive inspection in order to obtain a complete picture.

3. How do you maintain a septic system?

Septic systems require regular care and maintenance in order to function properly. The good news is that keeping a septic system in excellent working order is rather straightforward. Here’s how to keep it in proper functioning order.

  • Take cautious with the information you submit over the system. Pouring anything down the toilet should be avoided at all costs. This includes things like paint and chemicals, kitty litter, coffee grinds, disposable wipes, diapers, and feminine products. These are all potential clog-makers in the septic system. It is best not to use any additives in the system. Additives may be classified into two categories, according to the National Small Flows Clearinghouse, which are chemical and biological. Despite the fact that these solutions are touted to accomplish anything from speed solids breakdown to enhance the condition of the drainfield, they typically cause havoc on the bacteria that are intended to keep the system running smoothly. Keep vehicles away from drainfields and never park or drive over them, since this might cause damage to the pipes. When planting shrubs or trees near a drainfield, use caution to avoid damaging the plants. The roots of some water-loving plants, such as weeping willows, can find their way into the drainfield, outlet pipes, or even the septic tank system itself. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, a fair rule of thumb is: if a tree will grow to be 25 feet tall, it should be kept at least 25 feet away from the drainfield
  • If a tree will grow to be 25 feet tall, it should be kept at least 25 feet away from the drainfield
  • Get your septic tank pumped out by a professional septic provider on average every two or three years. An further visual inspection of the component is often performed at the same time by a qualified specialist
  • Call a specialist as soon as you see any signs of impending failure (as indicated below)! The sooner you contact, the less expensive a repair may be
See also:  Why After Heavy Rain The Septic Tank Smelled? (Question)

Image courtesy of istockphoto.com

4. How do you find the best septic system inspector?

Once an offer on a home is made, the deal is nearly always subject on the outcome of a thorough inspection of the property, which includes an examination of the septic system. Important to remember is that what is stated on a seller’s disclosure form is not a substitute for a thorough inspection of the property being offered for sale. The average homeowner does not have the necessary knowledge or equipment to conduct a thorough inspection of the system. If there are concealed issues, it is possible that the homeowner will not be aware of them.

  • One of the most common types of house inspection is a general home inspection, which evaluates the structure of the home, systems within it (such as plumbing and electricity), roof condition, and maybe some of the external features.
  • As a result, always seek the services of a septic system specialist for an inspection.
  • Your neighbors and real estate agent may be able to provide you with a few decent leads.
  • To begin, contact each possible inspector and ask them about their approach to the task; for example, some may use cameras to evaluate the distribution box and drainfield, while others may dig to complete their inspection.
  • Once the inspection has begun, the expert will search for pumping and maintenance records, examine for signs of leakage or backup, measure the levels of sludge and scum, and determine the age of the tank, among other things.
  • Depending on whether or not the property includes extensions that were built after the septic tank was originally installed, an inspector may give recommendations to make the residence more sanitary.

For example, a two-bedroom home will require a tank of a different capacity than a three-bedroom home will. Image courtesy of istockphoto.com

5. What are the signs that a septic system needs to be replaced?

It is critical to notice the warning symptoms of impending failure before they manifest themselves. For the most part, failure of a septic system goes unnoticed at first. Keeping an eye out for warning indicators will help you arrange a replacement before something goes wrong.

  • Gurgling noises coming from outside sewers
  • Interior drains in bathtubs and sinks that are slow to drain
  • Odors emanate from the sewage treatment plant, drainfield or inside drains of the house. There are wet places visible over the drainfield. Water is backing up into the home from the sewer line. Toilets are flushing more slowly
  • This is a problem. A sudden and dramatic increase in the amount of lush and full vegetation over the drainfield might indicate a probable obstruction or break in the exit pipes outside.

Image courtesy of istockphoto.com

Final Thoughts

Septic systems, which are used in around 20% of homes in the United States, are designed to remove effluent from a residence. While septic systems may need a bit more maintenance than utilizing a public sewage system, they are not nearly as difficult to maintain as their reputation would have you believe. A well-maintained septic system may survive up to 40 years if it is inspected on a regular basis and kept on the lookout for indicators of potential problems. It is critical for homebuyers contemplating a property with a septic system to have the system inspected by a professional before making an offer.

FAQs About Septic Tanks and Septic Systems

When it comes to septic systems, there is a lot to understand. Even after reviewing the information provided above, you may still have concerns regarding how septic systems operate and how to properly manage them. Answers to some frequently asked questions concerning septic systems are provided here.

Q: How does a septic tank work?

When sewage is discharged into a septic tank, the solid stuff descends to the bottom, where it is colonized by helpful anaerobic bacteria, which work to break down the solids and liberate the lipids contained within them. The byproducts rise to the surface of the tank and are separated by a series of baffles.

Q: What are the three types of septic systems?

Traditional septic systems are classified into three types: chamber septic systems, drip distribution systems, and septic systems with chambers. In most cases, conventional systems are employed in residential buildings. Typically, a chamber system is used in high water table settings due to the fact that it is comprised of a succession of closed compartments. Drip systems are often less difficult to install, but they require more upkeep.

Q: How many years does a septic system last on average?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a well managed septic system may survive for 40 years. It is essential that you get the septic system evaluated before to purchasing a property so that you can get an estimate of how long the septic system is projected to operate.

Q: What is the alternative to a septic tank?

An aerobic treatment system, composting waste, and a drip system are all options for replacing a septic tank in a residential setting.

Q: What chemicals are bad for a septic tank?

The use of chemicals such as oil-based paint, paint thinners, lubricants, gasoline, weed killers, foaming cleansers, and chlorine-based cleaners can cause damage to your septic tank. They have the potential to pollute the surrounding environment as well as destroy the bacteria that are necessary for waste breakdown inside the septic tank, making it difficult or impossible for matter to degrade. Septic systems are well-understood by professionals. Link up with reputable professionals in your region and obtain free, no-obligation quotations for your project.+

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.


  • What is the best way to determine when to empty a septic tank? How to Unclog a Drain Pipe (with Pictures)

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

Many homeowners dream of having lush, green grass, but if your lawn is vibrantly green but the plants around it are dead, it might be an indication of a septic tank leak, according to the American Septic Tank Association. Experiencing unexplained green grass might also be an indication that your septic tank is pumping out an excessive amount of water, soaking your yard. Moreover, there may even be sewage accumulating in your yard in this situation. This is an issue that should be addressed by a plumbing specialist as soon as possible in order to minimize any potential health risks and costly damage to your property.

See also:  Why Grass Die Thats Over Septic Tank? (Perfect answer)

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 using the incorrect soil in the drainfield are all examples of installation mistakes that can result in septic tank failure.

Increased Water Use

Before it overflows, your septic tank can only contain a certain amount of water. Septic tanks can collapse if there is a high number of people who depend on them for their water. If you have a big family, expect a significant number of long-term guests, or often hold parties, you should get your tank examined to ensure that it is the proper size. If this is the case, you may need to consider upgrading to a larger tank. Your septic system is capable of withstanding a lot of abuse, and it should continue to function well for many years provided it is properly maintained.

If you see any indicators of septic tank difficulties, such as clogged pipes, root infiltration, or sewage leaks, act promptly and call The Original Plumber for a septic tank check to ensure that any problems are resolved as soon and efficiently as possible.

4 Ways That Gophers Can Damage Your Septic Tank System

While septic tank systems have the potential to contribute to the protection of the environment and public health, they are only successful when the system is maintained in the appropriate manner. When it comes to maintaining the health of your septic tank system, gophers can be a bothersome little rodent. However, what are the several ways that gophers might cause harm to your septic tank? And how can we put a stop to them? Gophers may cause significant damage to your septic tank system by digging holes in your leach field, causing damage to pipes and septic tanks, and constructing burrows in close proximity to one of your installation.

Gophers can cause damage to your septic tank system in a variety of ways, which are summarized as follows:

  1. Gophers have the ability to dig holes in your leach field. They have the potential to do immediate harm to your pipes. Their burrow has the potential to obstruct the flow of wastewater. Gophers can cause foundation damage to your entire system, including your home.

To begin understanding how gophers may cause damage to a septic tank system that is otherwise unaffected, let us first take a brief look at both the wastewater system and burrowing creatures involved in this situation. Just to be clear, if you buy through links on Pest Pointers and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the retailer. Amazon Associates receive a commission on eligible sales made via their website.

Is it Possible for Gophers to Damage a Septic Tank?

As a result, gophers may inflict a significant amount of damage to septic tanks. It’s critical to grasp the fundamentals of septic tank operation as fast as possible in order to have a clear understanding of the harm that gophers may inflict and the consequences of this damage on your property. Gophers are known to go underground on a regular basis, and they also spend the most of their time underground. The following is how septic tanks function: Septic tanks are designed to collect and treat wastewater generated by a home or business.

  • In most cases, this leads in the creation of three different layers of material.
  • Scum is the term used to describe this layer of sediment.
  • The heavier waste progressively descends to the bottom of the tank, forming the third and final layer, which is also known as sludge in certain circles.
  • Finally, the lowest layer of sludge must be cleansed every three to five years, depending on how much sludge has accumulated.
  • As a result, when gophers are discovered in your yard, they may become a significant annoyance to your septic system.

An unmitigated stinking disaster, to put it politely. But what exactly are gophers, and why would they want to interfere with a septic tank system in the first place? Let’s go a little further into this.

Gophers Burrow in Your Backyard

Pouch gophers, sometimes known as pocket gophers, are little rodents that go underground in search of food and refuge, digging up the soil as they go. Gophers, being burrowing rodents, prefer to dwell underground in the comfort of darkness and the earth beneath our feet, as opposed to above ground. Gophers consume everything and everything that comes into their field of view, however they are particularly fond of worms and insects that are already alive and ready to be eaten by them. Given that pocket gophers like their surroundings to be as black as ink, they seldom display their adorable nose above the surface of the earth.

When they do come face to face with the wonders of the world above, they typically do so in order to swiftly transfer themselves to another tunnel, to avoid a specific danger, or to supplement their repetitive diet with a few plants and seeds from above.

It’s likely that by the time you realize your backyard has been bombed, it’s been done so by a covert squad of rats rather than an airborne assault.

How Gophers Cause Septic Tank Damage

The presence of a gopher is clearly discernible by the destruction they cause in their wake. When pocket gophers are conducting a secret operation beneath your backyard, they have the ability to change the flatness of your grass into a freshly erupted minefield, leaving countless piles of dirt in their path, according to the homeowner. The fact that they can cause serious damage and cause septic tank system disruption may not be immediately apparent in a garden patch or freshly cut grass, but it is worth noting nonetheless.

Digging Holes in Your Leach Field

Gophers are known to make a variety of alterations to the stability of your private sewage system as they are going back and forth between the leach field and the house in search of worms. Because pocket gophers are capable of digging holes and tunnels of significant size, it will only be a matter of time until they unintentionally infiltrate your system. They may already be causing a disturbance in the operation of the pipes at that time, in addition to the possibility of causing physical damage to the pipes themselves.

This, in turn, may result in a blockage of the sewer line or a general shift in the amount of wastewater flowing through it.

Causing Direct Damage to Pipes

Certain liquids must be evacuated from the sewage system in order for the system to operate at peak efficiency. The alternative is that waste becomes blocked inside the pipes, flows back to the tank, or leaks out completely. It should come as no surprise that gophers may cause damage to a rusted pipe, given that they have been known to live in rocky places and burrow their way through whatever comes in their course of travel. Pocket gophers are often well-equipped to dig through or around obstacles, thanks to their powerful paws and claws and their ability to dig quickly.

On top of that, liquids that are meant to flow freely into the soil may begin to return to the surface instead of flowing freely into the soil.

After that, it’s simply a matter of waiting for the swamp monster to arrive and the terror will be complete.

Apart from your lawn being a complete mess – and the funny stares from your neighbors – you can also forget about your entire private sewage system, which will come to a complete halt as a result of the blockage.

Finally, if the tank or pipelines are in need of repair, it will be an extremely expensive venture. All of this, of course, should be avoided at all costs, like a cockroach.

Burrowing Disrupts The Flow of Wastewater

If gophers choose to develop their burrow in close proximity to your tank or pipelines, they might cause additional problems for you. As previously stated, each modification has the potential to cause a halt in the activity under consideration. Burrows that are extremely vast and wide may create a sinkhole of sorts due to their size and width. Without a doubt, this will have a significant impact on the overall balance of your system and will result in numerous interruptions in the flow of wastewater into the drain field.

Foundation Damage to Your Entire Septic System

Overall, gophers may be a major burden on the upkeep of your overall system, especially if you don’t know what’s wrong with them. Whether they choose to dig holes, destroy pipes, or disrupt wastewater flows, the damage they do can prevent a septic tank system from working correctly as a result of the harm they have done. All that remains is a movement in soil compression, or the shifting pressures between layers of dirt beneath the surface of the earth. Unfortunately, anything that compromises the structural integrity of a properly installed septic tank system can result in the system suffering substantial damage, particularly over time.

How To Prevent Gophers From Damaging Your Septic and Leach Field

Generally speaking, gophers can cause a significant amount of stress to the overall operation of your system until the cause of the problem is discovered. Whether they choose to dig holes, destroy pipes, or disrupt wastewater flows, the damage they do can prevent a septic tank system from working correctly as a result of the harm they have caused. All that remains is a movement in soil compression, or the shifting pressures between layers of earth beneath the surface of the ground. Unfortunately, anything that compromises the structural integrity of a properly installed septic tank system can result in substantial damage to the system, particularly over time.

  1. Install a perimeter fence around the septic tank system. Weeds should be planted carefully around the perimeter of the fence. Make use of natural gopher repellents to keep them away. Planting anything on top of your septic tank system is not recommended. Close the gaps they’ve created for themselves.

Set Up a Fence Around Your Leach Field or Backyard

It is usually recommended to use a fence to keep creatures such as gophers away from your property. If you are unsure about the material to use, it is usually advisable to go with galvanized metal wire if at all possible. It is lightweight and portable, making it simple to set up and take down, yet it is sturdy enough to prevent rats from getting through. Furthermore, if you do not already have a galvanized fence, it is highly advised that you get one galvanized. The procedure of putting a protective layer of zinc coating to the iron wire results in a more durable fence overall.

For further information, theBSTOOL Chicken Wire Netmight be exactly what you’re looking for.

Fences that are effective against burrowing rodents must be installed 12-18 inches deep into the ground and oriented OUTWARDS at a 90-degree angle toward the area where the gophers would attempt to dig.

It is recommended that you dig a trench around your leach field and septic tank in order to carry out this activity.

Plant Weeds Closely Around The Fence

It’s always possible to try to dissuade animals from getting drawn to your garden by planting some weeds along the perimeter of the fence, which will both adorn it and provide an additional layer of defense. You might wonder why you shouldn’t just plant the weeds on top of the septic system, because they serve to repel pests. For the simple reason that whatever is placed on top of your system has the potential to cause your entire structure to become unstable and fail. Weeds can have roots that grow for a long time.

It is thus recommended to sow weeds at a distance of at least 40 feet from the house.

Perhaps you could also experiment with using acoustic spikes in conjunction with the fence.

Make Use of Natural Gopher Repellents

It’s always possible to try to dissuade animals from getting drawn to your garden by planting some weeds along the perimeter of the fence, which will both adorn it and provide an additional layer of protection. You might wonder why you shouldn’t just plant the weeds on top of the septic system, where they will help to repel pests and animals. Quite simply, anything is placed on the roof or beneath your system has the potential to cause the entire system to malfunction. It is possible for weeds to establish extensive root systems.

Consequently, it is recommended to place weed seeds at least 40 feet away from the main crop.

In addition to the barrier, you might want to experiment with using sonic spikes as a complement to it.

Avoid Planting Anything on Top of Your Septic Tank System

One should avoid putting anything on top of the tank or pipes once again, for the simple reason that whatever grows on top of the tank or pipes may not be as healthy as one would think. Indeed, small traces of waste may be found in fruits and vegetables that are produced in close proximity to septic systems, particularly in those that are planted in close proximity to the leach field, where liquids are re-introduced into the soil. Furthermore, gophers may be drawn to the plants and seeds that you would be offering them, so it is advisable to avoid planting anything near your system if at all possible.

Close Their Holes Behind Them

It is usually beneficial to shut the gopher’s little entrance in order to hammer the point home. It is best to switch holes in order to avoid them from inviting themselves again. The use of a natural repellant can make the process of sealing a pocket gopher’s hole more straightforward. You can have a quick glance at the following for further information. MoleGopher Repellent (Victor M7001-1 MoleGopher Repellent). In comparison to other methods of tunnel flushing, it enters mole and gopher tunnels far more quickly than other methods of tunnel flushing.

You may also opt to contact our countrywide network of pest and animal management specialists to locate a contractor near you in a matter of seconds using our simple online form. Thank you for taking the time to read this!


Case, R. M., and Andelt, W. F. (2003). Taking care of pocket gophers (Doctoral dissertation, Colorado State University. Libraries). T. R. Bounds, et al (1997). Design and performance of septic tanks are important considerations. Site Characterization and Design of On-Site Septic Systems are two topics covered in this course. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Case, R. M., and Jasch, B. A. Case and Jasch (1994). Pocket gophers are a kind of gopher. The Handbook on Wildlife Damage Prevention and Control is a comprehensive resource for wildlife damage prevention and control.

Gunn, R.

Shewmaker, S.

Ellis collaborated on this study (2011).

Oregon State University Extension Service is a service provided by the university.

J., Hansen, R.


Northern pocket gophers are responsible for the movement of rocks.

49, no.



Patterns and processes of pocket gophers in ecosystems are discussed.

38, no (11).

Koehler, Rex E.

Salmon collaborated on this project.


Kolenosky, A.

Kolenosky, A.

Kolenosky, A.


Naturalist in the field in Canada.



Reichman and E.

Seabloom are two of the most well-known scientists in the world (2002).

Ecology and evolution are on the rise.




An investigation of the effectiveness of fencing to keep pocket gophers out of experimental plots.

14, No.

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