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7 Common Septic Tank Issues

Have you noticed an unpleasant whiff in your garden? Maybe your toilets are not flushing properly, and you’re worried there may be something bubbling in your backyard. These are some of the most common septic tank issues, and a lot of homeowners have to deal with an issue at one point.

About 60 million Americans are served by septic tanks. It can be quite disheartening for you to think about digging up your septic tank, so it’s always good to know what kind of problems to watch out for before it gets to that point.

First, it’s vital for you to know what warning signs to watch out for, like unpleasant odors around the tank and gurgling sounds from your plumbing system. You should also watch out for bright, lush grass growing around the tank and damp spots or standing water close to the tank.

If you experience slow draining sinks and toilets, or worse, water or sewage backing up, then you should be very worried. Here is a list of the top 10 septic tank issues and how to deal with them. 

1. A Collapsed Baffle

A lot of homeowners have no idea what a baffle is, but when it comes to septic tank issues, a baffle is a barrier within the tank that stops all the lumpy stuff from escaping into the soakaway. If the baffle was to collapse, all that lumpy stuff and the solid waste would get into the soakaway system, which would, in turn, cause a blockage.

This is one of the worst things that could happen to your property because all that wastewater will back up into your home. It could turn out to be a disaster because the soakaway of a septic tank is only supposed to deal with liquid. Septic tanks are designed to work in a way that they separate waste into three different layers, with the solid waste in the bottom and fats or oils on top.

The liquid goes into the middle, and it’s the only waste required to go through the outlet pipes and soakaway system. With a collapsed baffle, there would be no barrier, and the solids and fats will get into the soakaway, causing a major septic tank issue.

2. Ground Movement

Ground movement is arguably one of the most common septic tank issues, and even the slightest shift can put pressure on the tank. This is usually not a good thing because the pressure could cause cracks or fractures on the walls of the tank, creating two major problems.

The first problem you’ll have to deal with is the tank backing up, and you’ll have to empty it a lot more often. The second problem is having the groundwater enter the tank through the cracks, which can be a significant problem because the tank may not be able to separate the solid waste from the liquid effectively. The worst-case scenario is that you may have to replace your septic tank altogether.

3. Damages From Tree Roots

Navigating the septic tank issues that arise from tree roots can be quite tricky. It’s basically impossible to know where the roots of a tree will grow. However, if the current position of your septic tank is close to trees and shrubs, it can be a problem because the roots could penetrate the tank walls.

They may also penetrate and intrude on the pipes that connect the tank to your property. Once penetrated, you may experience liquid leaks from the tank, and the groundwater could get into the tank.

Both issues are negative because they will prevent the tank from working effectively. Even worse, such a problem can create an incredibly messy background and a problem you would have to clean up. 

4. Damaged Dip Pipes

Dip pipes or T-pipes are designed to carry the right wastes to either the outlet system or the soakaway. These are almost similar to a baffle and carry out a similar task, and depending on your septic tank, you could either have a baffle, a dip pipe, or both. If the dip pipe is knocked off its position during a routine emptying, it could cause the same problem a collapsed baffle causes.

5. Hydrostatic Pressure

One of the most common septic tank issues is hydrostatic pressure, which happens when the volume of the water on the ground is so high that it places pressure on the tank. In an extreme case, the pressure could cause the tank to pop up and out of the ground. The tank would detach from the drainage system and the waste could back up into your home.

6. Lack of Maintenance

A lack of maintenance is possibly one of the most common septic tank issues, but it also happens to be one of the easiest to avoid. It’s of utmost importance for you to empty your septic tank on a regular basis, and depending on the type of tank you have, it could be anything from once every year to five years. You can make a booking for the same day every year to avoid forgetting, and an emptying company will come and do it for you.

7. An Old Tank

If you’re living in an old home or bought an old property, chances are that the septic tank will be quite old as well. Some septic tanks back up as far as 100 years ago, and they vary from the newer modern models.

If you’re dealing with an old tank, chances are you’re going to run into a few problems every so often as it would be more susceptible to breaks, clogs, and other similar damages. The best thing you can do in this case is to invest in a new septic tank and save yourself the trouble of constant repairs.

Top Signs of Septic Tank Issues

If you have been wondering what the most common septic tank issues are, then now you’re well aware of what to look out for. These are some of the top signs of septic tank issues, and if you’re vigilant, you can avoid major problems.

If you notice any of these signs, call our water systems experts immediately and have the issues resolved before things get out of hand.

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