5 Common Septic Tank Problems and How to Avoid Them

5 Common Septic Tank Problems and How to Avoid Them

A home that isn’t connected to the municipal sewer system needs to have a septic tank to handle waste from the house’s main drain. Because it’s underground, the house’s septic system is easy to ignore until problems start to arise. Since those problems can be expensive to fix, it is best to avoid them in the first place. Here are five common septic tank problems and how to avoid them:

1. Trouble With Indoor Plumbing
Often signs that something is wrong with the septic tank occur indoors. The toilets may be slow to flush and sinks and tubs may be slow to drain. Sometimes, sewage backflows into the tubs and the toilets, and there may be a terrible smell. The pipes may gurgle or make other strange noises.

This can be caused by roots infiltrating the drain. Some plumbers recommend pouring a powdered chemical root killer down a toilet once a year to discourage them.

2. Wet Ground Over the Septic Tank
Though the grass may be greener over the septic tank, it shouldn’t look like a jungle nor should it be wet. This may mean that the tank is overflowing, and water full of nitrogen and other nutrients are entering the leach field. It can be the sign of a high water table, because there is not much room between the leach field and the underground water. This can cause wastewater to back up.

If the problem is a high water table, the homeowner should consider a sand-based filtration system to remove the contaminants from the water and reduce the risk of the leach field becoming saturated.

3. Tank is Almost Full
This can happen when a lot of water is used in the home as when everyone in the household takes a bath or shower right after each other, or many loads of laundry are done in a short amount of time. When the tank gets too much water, solids can pass straight into the leach field, and contaminate and clog it. The solution is to stagger the times of showers, baths and loads of laundry.

4. Flushing Items That Can’t Break Down
Items such as plastics won’t break down when they enter the septic tank. They only cause the water level in the tank to rise to the point where solids pass into the leach field. Avoid this problem by only flushing the right type of toilet paper and bodily wastes. Even items such as tampons, which are supposed to be able to be flushed, should not be.

5. Regular Use of Harsh Chemicals
Harsh chemicals pollute the leach field, and kill the good bacteria in the septic tank that help to break down the solid waste. Never pour solvents or car fluids down the drain, and use drain cleaners sparingly.

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