A properly designed, constructed and maintained septic system
should be virtually trouble free. Unfortunately things do go wrong and problems
with the septic tank are usually the cause. But since they are buried, out of
sight out of mind so to speak, it’s not until a nasty odor starts to hang over
the property that the homeowner is aware that something is amiss.
There are several things to watch for that will indicate if you are indeed
having issues with your septic system. First, as mentioned earlier, is bad
smells emanating from various areas of the house. The smell may be coming from
toilets or drains, or it may just be lingering with no real identifiable source.
Toilets that flush slower then normal or backed up drains may also indicate a
problem. Of course this may be nothing more then a clogged drain or pipe but if
plunging or snaking doesn’t fix the problem then it is probably a septic system
How to do it
You may also notice the proverbial “the grass is always greener over the septic
tank” actually coming to life. If the grass over the septic drain field is
noticeably more lush then surrounding areas, particularly during dry weather,
this may be an indication that there is an issue with the tank.
There are a variety of things that may cause these problems and we have listed
them out below.
1. Failure to get the septic tank pumped out at regular intervals. Proper
maintenance will keep most septic systems running smoothly and number one on the
maintenance list is regularly scheduled removal of built up solids and sludge.
2. Flushing non-biodegradable or slow to degrade items down the toilet or sink
drains. Sanitary napkins, paper towels and cotton balls are all able to cause
clogs in the systems pipes and the tank. Plastics and Styrofoam are even harder
on septic systems as they are nearly impossible to break down and should never
be flushed if at all possible.
3. Pouring cooking oil and grease down the sink drain will also cause major
issues. It does not break down quickly and will cause clogs in the inlet and
outlet drains as well as in the upper chamber. It can also cause odors and make
pumping out the tank more difficult.
4. Limit the amount of food particles put into the system. While garbage
disposals are a great convenience septic systems aren’t designed to break down
5. Too much or too little water in the system can also create problems. Excess
water in the system can force sludge and solids into the drain field pipes
resulting in clogs and environmental hazards. It can also cause a system failure
resulting in expensive repairs.
Not enough water is also detrimental and can lead to a die off of the bacteria
that breaks down the sewage. These bacteria are responsible for neutralizing the
nitrogen that build up in septic tanks.
6. Inadequate tank ventilation can be another problem. Vents are used to ensure
adequate airflow through the system and keep the pressure within the tank
equalized. If these vents get plugged or don’t work correctly there is a good
chance that bad odors will result.
7. Dumping chemicals, paints, solvents, herbicides or pesticides into a septic
system can cause un-repairable damage resulting in a complete system replacement
elsewhere on the property. It can also cause harmful damage to the environment
that could take many years to fix before returning to normal.
The best way to prevent septic tank problems is to follow the 7 points listed
above and get the tank pumped out and inspected regularly. For most systems this
is about every 2 to 3 years. Doing so will minimize potential problems and
ensure that your system will work efficiently year after year.
For millions of people living in rural settings septic tank
pumping is a fact of life. With the closest municipal sewage hookup miles away a
properly maintained and working septic system is vitally important and getting
it pumped out at regular intervals is a part of that maintenance.
article we will look at why getting it pumped out regularly is so important, how
it is done and about how much you can expect to pay for this service.Septic Tank Maintenance
Living the rural lifestyle has its advantages for those who wish to avoid the
hustle and bustle of a more urban environment.
It also means that certain
services aren’t readily available including access to a municipal sewage system.
In these cases a self contained waste management system or septic system is
needed and the septic tank is the most important part of this system. It only
makes sense then that regular maintenance is an important part of keeping the
tank and the rest of the system in good working order.
Septic tank installation is a pretty straight forward process but homeowner’s
need to be aware that there are codes, regulations and zoning ordinances in
place to ensure the entire septic system is installed correctly. To make sure
that these rules are followed and the system is suitably designed for the
property in question it is a good idea to hire a designer or contractor who is
very familiar with all local, state and federal codes.