common septic tank problems

Septic Tank Problems: The Common Signs and The Solutions

Septic tank problems can come in all shapes and sizes and identifying your issue boils down to recognizing the problems. As we know that septic tanks are widely used throughout the world, especially for dwellings without access to primary drainage. Nevertheless, tanks do experience a variety of common problems mainly associated with poor area, poor maintenance or insufficient drainage field design.

When a septic tank is not working properly and does not get proper treatment as it should do, it will lead to particular diseases. A well-functioning sewage system can prevent contamination, diseases, bacteria, and viruses contaminating water sources.

An individual can at least use 10 to 50 gallons of wastewater daily. With poor maintenance, waste materials can go below the groundwater level and pollute drinking water sources of human and animals. If the septic tank is adequate, the drinking water sources will be safe and devoid of hazardous diseases.

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Getting to Know More About a Septic Tank

A septic system is a chamber or compartment where liquid or waste like feces, urine, and other excrement is gathered for decay processes. The septic tank is made of concrete, plastic, or building construction materials that effectively contain the excrement. The excrement goes through decomposition and disintegration by bacterial activity.

Diseases and contamination might come from human waste. Because of technological developments, there is an enhancement in waste disposal techniques. The sewage-disposal tank system is hygienic and avoids the spread of diseases.

Parts of a Septic System

In urban or suburban areas, city or municipal areas, the government has actually set out sewage systems where household and building structures discard their waste. This waste material allegedly goes to the treatment system. There are four parts of a septic system. In that order are piping from the house, septic tank system, drain field, or dispersal system.

Piping Outlet

The piping outlet in a septic tank system is responsible for transporting the wastewater from the house to the septic tank for proper treatment and disposal. This outlet is a crucial component that ensures the smooth flow of wastewater into the tank. It connects the household plumbing system to the septic tank and allows for the efficient transfer of all wastewater generated within the house.

Proper installation and maintenance of the piping outlet are essential to prevent blockages and leaks, which can lead to system malfunctions or even environmental contamination. Regular inspection and cleaning of the outlet pipe are necessary to ensure the smooth functioning of the septic system and to avoid any potential health hazards.

Septic Tank

A septic tank is an important part of the septic system, responsible for treating the waste from a house. It is typically buried underground and should not mix with other water systems to avoid contamination. The tank consists of various parts, including the wastewater inlet, access risers, pump chamber (optional), maintenance hole, wastewater tank, and wastewater outlet.

When wastewater enters the tank, solid waste settles at the bottom, while lighter waste like grease and oil float to the surface as scum. The solid waste is called sludge. The tank can have one or multiple chambers, depending on the number of residents or waste utilities in the house. Access risers are installed above the tank for maintenance purposes, and the pump chamber may be necessary based on local building codes.

Drain-field or Dispersal System

The wastewater that is released is called effluent. It is released through a septic outlet ejected to the field by numerous pipes to the soil for more wastewater treatment. The t-outlet piping separates the water coming out of the sewage-disposal tank from the sludge and scum. After that, the wastewater will go through dispersion and filtration by the ground soil.

Types of Septic Tank

The septic tank differs in size, place, landscape, elevation, and local restrictions. Its matching style will depend on the kind of system because it can differ due to different elements such as soil condition, the lot size, environment, water sources around the periphery, and weather factors.

Two Common Types of Septic Tanks

To better comprehend the septic tank. Let us recognize some types of septic tanks

1. Standard Systems

  • Gravity System. This septic system utilizes gravity to move the waste from the source to the sewage-disposal tank to the dispersion outlet. The pipelines are built by inclining angles, boosting fluid flow. It is likewise the basic kind of system that you can see in early styles. Wastewater moves by natural circulation like water streams and rivers.
  • Pressure Distribution System. This kind of style utilizes a pump device to distribute the effluent to the drain field uniformly. This system is effective and is primarily used by most brand-new septic system designs.

2. Alternative Systems

  • Aerobic Treatment System. This system utilizes external gas to break down strong wastewater parts that are tough to break by using normal natural decay methods.
  • Mound System. This system utilizes a second chamber and a pump to move the effluent water to an artificial mound that is drained pipes to the soil. There specify prohibitions to follow this system to maintain proper drain from the earth to the ground.
  • Sand Filter system. It is a system that uses raised sand filters wherein the effluent circulations through a chamber with a pump and runs effluent through the sand filter.
  • Other systems. You use these systems for climates that are extremes. An example is the evapotranspiration system. In this system, the effluent never reaches groundwater considering that the drain field is water-tight. Evaporation is key to the system. It works in arid environments.

Septic Tank Materials

Septic system collects sewage and treats it by bacterial decomposition and is typically located underground. For a better septic tank, a good sewage-disposal tank is very important which depends on the type of material utilized for its structure. To select a good septic tank, you need to learn about the different types of sewage-disposal tank materials.

Types of Septic Tank Materials

Septic tanks are classified into 4 different types based on materials utilized for manufacturing. We’ll be discussing in more details each of these four types.

1. Concrete Septic System

Concrete septic tanks are enormous and are generally pre-casted for simple installation. These precast concrete tanks have particular gravity around 2.40, that makes it strong to stand up to the resilient forces when positioned in the ground. Their strength likewise increases slowly over time.

2. Steel Septic Tank

Steel sewage-disposal tanks are made from steel and are least popular nowadays because of their expense and low toughness. The primary problem connected with steel septic tanks is they degrade easily and quickly compared to other products.

If the top part of the steel septic tank gets worn away, it can not withstand any weights on top of it and may collapse all of a sudden at any time. Hence, while inspecting steel septic tanks, care must be taken. These kind of septic systems are not suggested nowadays. 

3. Plastic Septic System

Plastic septic tanks are made from polyethylene plastic, for this reason, they are likewise called as poly septic systems. They are good options to concrete and steel septic tanks since they are lighter in weight and rustproof. The lighter weight makes it easier to deal with and set up plastic sewage-disposal tanks.

Plastic septic systems have particular gravity around 0.97 which is lesser than water particular gravity that makes the tank float when the water level is nearer to it. Before installing a plastic septic tank you need to analyze the water table of that particular area or provide anchoring to the tank so that the floating or moving of the tank can be eliminated.

4. Fiberglass Septic Tank

Fiberglass sewage-disposal tanks are used fiber reinforced plastics (FRP). They are similar to plastic sewage-disposal tanks however the reinforcement of glass fibers makes them stronger than plastic tanks. They are also light in weight and simple to handle. The lighter weight of the tank might cause floating or moving of the tank which can be eliminated by appropriate anchoring of the tank to the ground.

Symptoms and Signs of Septic Tank Problems

There are a few signs to help you know when your septic tank system is not working as it should. First things first, septic tanks have some common indication you need to observe to identify any potential issues. These include water and sewage from drain, sinks and toilets draining very slowly. Worst case, backing up into the house.

In the following paragraphs below, we’ll be talking about a few of the indication that you shouldn’t ignore:

Gurgling Sounds

When you hear gurgling noises from your pipes whenever you use your sink, shower, or toilet, it is possible that you have a stopped up drain or a blocked vent pipeline. This is often brought on by a grease and dirt that have actually built up in your plumbing, preventing your water from draining quickly and normally. This is because air bubbles are not able to survive the pipelines and so they leave through the first route they have the ability to access– hence, the gurgling sounds.

Flushing Issues

When your toilet is slow to flush or will not flush at all and a toilet plunger is unable to fix the problem, it is possible that there is something wrong with your septic tank. Slow flushing is a possible sign that your septic system is full– and the only way to address this is by having your tank pumped out. It is also possible that there is an obstruction within your pipelines.

Slow Drains pipes

If your kitchen or bathroom sink, shower or tub are draining slowly, it might either be due to a pipes issue with the pipes in your house or center, or a problem within your septic tank. Best to consult with both professional plumbers and expert septic suppliers.

Backed-up Water and Sewage

If water is backing up when you run your laundry or dishwashing machine, or even worse, when sewage has actually backed up into the office or home, it’s absolutely time to require professional assistance. Sewage back-ups are among the worst signs of a septic system that’s not working.

Foul Odors

Do you smell rotten eggs in and around your property? Unless there are actual leftover eggs rotting somewhere, what you are most likely smelling is toxic sulfur. If you stroll outside near where the septic tank is buried and the smell intensifies, it is highly likely that raw sewage has actually escaped the tank.

Lush Plants

Among the first signs that your septic drain-field is not working is if the lawn is growing faster or appear to be much greener than grass in the remainder of the property. This is because that spot of lawn is getting nurtured by the “additional fertilizer” in the sewage that’s most likely dripping from your drain-field.

Puddles of Stagnant Water

When notice puddles or patches of standing water around the area of your drain-field, it could be an indication of a septic tank problem. Foul-smelling water is collecting at the drain-field due to the fact that the septic tank is experiencing some sort of failure, At the first sign of puddles near your septic system, call in your trusted septic system professionals.

Related Article: Signs of Septic Tank Problems – 8 Warning Indication You Need To Be Aware Of

Common Septic Tank Problems

Septic tank systems are constructed to be safe and trustworthy on-site systems for waste treatment. Nevertheless, septic system emergencies and troublesome issues are not completely impossible, specifically if proper and regular cleaning and care have been failing. We will be outlining here a variety of the most common septic tank problems that home and business owner experience and what you can do to repair and prevent them.

Most septic tank problems are brought on by things that must not be entering your septic tank through the toilet, kitchen sink, or waste disposal system, in the first place. Aside from these non-organic products finding their way into your tank, there are other causes of common septic tank problems. They include:

  • Tree roots creeping into the crevices of your septic tank
  • Tree roots infiltrating your drain-field
  • Accumulation of excessive solid waste in the sewage-disposal tank
  • Driving over or parking on the drain-field
  • Non-septic safe treatments like water conditioners
  • Chemicals, paints, grease, and so on getting discarded into the septic system
  • Bacteria and enzyme ingredients

To keep everything simple, the only things that should be flushed down the toilet, aside from human waste, and down your sinks are blackwater and greywater: blackwater is the mixture of urine, feces and flush-water. On the other hand, water coming from domestic equipment besides toilets (like your bath tubs, showers, sinks, and cleaning devices) is your greywater. If you own a waste disposal unit, this is ideally not linked to your septic plumbing system.

7 Common Septic Tank Problems and The Solution

1. Ground Movement

How steady is the ground around your sewage-disposal tank? Often, minor movements occur that alter or affect the condition of sewage-disposal tanks. This situation leads to fractures which might result in leakages. Even the tiniest push could have a big impact. Any change in ground movement can point a significant amount of pressure on your septic tank. This can potentially cause fractures in the walls of your sewage-disposal tank.

If this happens larger septic system problems can occur. The sewage-disposal tank might backup and need to be emptied much more often. This can impact you current cleaning schedule, and be thus more costly for you. If groundwater can squeeze its way through these fractures your tank will no longer have the ability to separate the liquid from the solid waste effectively. Ultimately you might need to replace your septic system.

How to Fix this Problem

In this kind of situation, little can be done to repair the damage. Your best choice is to replace your septic tank. However, you’ll need to talk to your septic professional to figure out the very best line of action. The new tank will need to be installed on more steady ground.

2. Tree Root Pervasion

This is constantly a difficult one and is not constantly the easiest to plan for. You never really know where those roots are going to grow. If your sewage-disposal tank lies too near trees and shrubs this can cause problems as the roots can in fact grow through the tank walls. They might even get through the pipelines that lead from the tank to your home.

Again, this can trigger issues since the roots might enable liquid from the tank to escape and water from the ground to get in. Both of which prevents the septic system from working properly. Not to mention all of this will create a dreadful mess in the surrounding area.

These roots can either penetrate the tank through small cracks or cause pipelines to break. Whatever the case may be, they change the normal function of septic systems and require urgent solutions. Tree root damage might even more complicate problems with issues most likely worsening when not repaired urgently. How you react will determine how efficient the options are.

How to Fix this Problem

Several repairs can be used. These range from treating your septic system with root growth inhibitors. Other services consist of felling down close by trees and removing their stumps to discourage sprouting. The cracks should be repaired and more long lasting pipes replaced.

Refrain from planting your trees too close to your drain field to avoid this happening on your home. If you experience tree roots in your system. You will need to get in touch with a septic expert to decide what is the very best strategy.

3. A Collapsed Baffle

Nope, this isn’t a medical condition. However, this is an extremely major sewage-disposal tank issue. The baffle is actually a barrier within the tank. It makes sure none of the bumpy stuff leaves into the septic tank soak-away system. So, if this collapses that solid things (effluent) could enter into your soak-away system and trigger obstruction. This could then mean all the wastewater backs into your home. Which is a huge fat no.

The baffle found within the septic system keeps solids or swellings from getting away to the soak-away. When this collapses, there’s no barrier preventing the free movement of these lumps. This issue is likely to lead to backups.


You’re only left to speculate on the causes for backups among other problems. A professional will need to be hired to identify the issue and use the needed fixes.

4. A Damaged Dip Pipe

Depending on the kind of septic tank you have will dictate whether it has dip pipelines, a baffle or both. Dip pipes perform a comparable function to the baffle we discussed earlier. It makes certain the right type of waste flows into the soak-away system.

In case you forgot, no bumpy stuff. Sometimes throughout assessments, the dip pipe is often discovered chilling at the base of the tank. This can happen for a variety of reasons, most typically it’s been knocked off during emptying. When this occurs, the wrong things gets into the septic tank soak-away system, and you guessed it, can return into your home.

5. Backups and Blockages

Out of all the septic tank system problems any house or business owner could perhaps encounter, backups and clogs are perhaps the most dreaded. Septic tank systems that go through voluminous usage and especially over a prolonged amount of time, the high accumulation of sludge may result to a major headache if the septic system is not cleaned often enough.

This happens when a high quantity of strong waste collects at the base of the septic tank without regular pumping. Without sufficiently routine emptying, sludge might start to get into your drain-field and create clogs, preventing wastewater from distributing naturally into the ground. The easiest and most guaranteed avoidance of such issues is to get your tank drained as often as is suggested by the manufacturer.

No one would ever like the idea of filthy sewage permeating back up through the house’s or facility’s drains pipes. Moreover, issues like these can be avoided by keeping non-septic-safe wastes out of your toilets and drains.

Non-biodegradable products in your septic system will occupy valuable area completely as these will never ever break down naturally. This raises the liquid levels in your tank needlessly, forcing floating strong wastes into the septic distribution system. Sometimes, even the so-called “flushable” items do not break down as efficiently as they should. Only eco-friendly compounds should be finding their way down your toilets, drains, and into your septic system.


Keep kitchen area wastes out of your septic tank. This consists of oil, fats, and grease down cooking area drains. Enabling high volumes of grease, oil, or fats into your septic system can rapidly result to clogged up pipes in your drain-field.

While a lot of systems have the ability to handle typical amounts of grease and comparable products that may decrease the drain from washing kitchenware, it pays to bear in mind that you should not be dumping grease down the drain with the function of eliminating it. 

Also, waste disposal unit units are ideally not linked to the septic tank system. The reason for this is that kitchen wastes do not break down the same way as biological wastes do. –And we can not stress this enough– regular septic tank cleaning is really crucial. 

It is essential that you have your system inspected and pumped out regularly (septic professionals advise every 2 to 5 years) to help make sure that your septic tank maintains enough capacity in order to function efficiently. You’ll require to call the services of a sewage evacuation company. These services play a crucial function in emptying filled septic tanks.

6. Excess Water in the Septic Tank

Extreme or wasteful water use forces your septic tank to hold more water than it is built for. Excess water restrains the solid wastes from breaking down prior to the increased water level in the tank needs them to lose consciousness of the tank and into the circulation lines that are built to deal with liquids, effectively obstructing the lines or pipelines.

If you have an alarm on your septic tank, you might have heard it go off and then stop. It’s taken place to us on a number of occasions. This left us to question if something has actually happened to the sewage-disposal tank. This can take place when your tank gets excessive sewage at once, and even simply wastewater from household usages like showers and dishwashing machines.

It’s not unusual in a house to have the dishwasher and washing maker going at the same time, include a shower and a complete bathtub draining pipes at one time, and you are going to hear that alarm. While this is one instance of an alarm going off, it can go off when the pump burns out, or other concerns arise. If too much water enters and the alarm has actually gone off, you might get water receding into your house.


Decrease the volume of water going into your septic system by scheduling laundry and/or meal washing over a variety of days, instead of washing in volume. Similarly, reduce the length of shower times and use efficient flow showerheads and fixtures to help preserve the maximum water circulation in and out of your septic system.

7. Septic Tank or Line Leak

It is true when they say that the greener the grass, the much better. For the most part, yes. However not when you see an especially rich spot of greenery near where your sewage-disposal tank is buried.

If you have a distinctively healthy patch of vegetation in the area, it could be an indicator that your septic tank has a leak or that your lateral lines are getting far too much wastewater from the septic tank and are overly-saturating your backyard. Worse, you might even find puddles of raw sewage on your lawn, which is a severe health and ecological danger.

If monitored and maintained consistently, your sewage-disposal tank system can last you several years. It is important for every single property owner not to let common septic tank problems to diminish the system’s life span. At the very first signs of an obstruction, leakage, or tree root infiltration, call your local septic service specialists immediately.

One way to tell if there is a crack in the tank or if it is leaking is if there is green yard around the tank. This can suggest it is leaking out. You may also see a smell around the tank location. As a rule, you shouldn’t have the ability to smell anything from your septic tank. It is a closed unit, and any smells should not be detectable.


If your tank is leaking, you will need to get an expert in to fix it because it could be a threat and classification 2 or category 3 water damage. This can also happen when you have a cesspool. Another thing that can happen is that the tank fractures and excess water from the ground start to find its way. In this case, you will need an expert to come out and address the concern depending on the crack.

How to Prevent Septic Tank Problems

If your house or business center relies on an on-site sewage-disposal tank system, you will really need to routinely carry out some particular actions to prevent problems with your system. Following these tips will help ensure the health and functionality of your system, not to mention warranties a longer life expectancy.

Preventive Maintenance for Septic Tank Problems

Preventive maintenance is crucial for septic tank systems to ensure their proper functioning and longevity. By implementing regular maintenance practices, homeowners can effectively prevent potential septic tank problems and costly repairs.

Arrange Regular Septic System Maintenance

Septic tank checks are a vital part of keeping your septic system’s general health. These regular checks will ensure that waste is not dripping from your system and into the surrounding groundwater, which could present a major health threat to everybody in your property.

Effective Water Usage

Keeping your water use conservative contributes much to ensuring that your septic tank preserves its performance. Expand your laundry (cleaning machine usage) over a period of days, instead of running everything on one go, as this could cause flooding in your septic tank.

Fundamental preservation procedures such as turning your faucets off when not in use, particularly during brushing teeth and washing hands or dishes, will go a long way. Consider, likewise, investing in water-efficient components like low-flow toilets and showerheads. Minimizing your water expense is just an added bonus to keeping your septic system healthy.

Proper Waste Disposal Unit

You need to never be liberal about enable kitchen scraps to decrease your sink drain. Particles like potato peels, morsels of food, and bone splinters are leading culprits in causing blockages in your pipelines and drain-field. Make it a habit to dispose of food particles in the trash or compost heap. Only permit water and basic waste down your drains.

Never Overlook “Warning”

As a homeowner, you have a duty to area and determine any facility problems before they grow out of control into larger issues. It might be simple to ignore weird odors, gurgling noises, puddles, slow drains around your property, however you should never be lax. These are the indication of a potential problem forming or already existing within your septic tank. Call for expert consultation and support as without delay as you are able.

Running faucets and flushing toilets may have become routine, causing us to overlook the path our black and greywater take in our drainage system. However, it is crucial to ensure the proper functioning of your septic tank system in your home or business for everyone’s safety. Seek professional advice and assistance promptly to diagnose and address any septic issues before they worsen and become more costly to fix.

Septic Tank Maintenance

Septic tank systems are continuously working to treat and get rid of waste from homes. By failing to maintain your system routinely, you can experience numerous issues including overflows, undesirable odors, backed-up toilets, and the presence of harmful sewage inside your house.

By scheduling routine repairs and maintenance visits, you can enjoy lesser expenses in the long run, just like with other kinds of household equipment. Septic maintenance is a routine activity you can not overlook. Your septic tank needs to be kept under perfect working conditions.

How Often Should You Have Your Septic Tank Cleaned?

Most experts concur that septic tank systems must be cleaned every 2 to 5 years. A number of factors will affect how often you require maintenance, such as the system’s general health condition, the number of family residents, and the leach field’s status.

The Importance of Regular Septic Tank Emptying and Repair Work

One of the main factors to get sewage-disposal tank services frequently is to prevent problems consisting of backed-up pipes. When this occurs, you’ll have a bad odor throughout your house which you most likely do not desire.

Maintaining your septic system is also beneficial for the environment. If you disregard your system, the hazardous wastewater from your septic tank might reach wells, groundwater, and local environments. This should be extremely considered since it can put the environment and its inhabitants at risk.

Related Article: Septic Tank Maintenance Tricks

Benefits of Getting Septic Tank Routinely Maintained by Professionals

Here are the advantages of having your sewage-disposal tank system properly maintained:

Expense Decrease

The minor septic systems issues you neglect can lead to leaks or burst pipes which is pricey to repair. You will likely be required to have your landscaping and home repaired. Opting for routine septic system repair will substantially decrease the risk of expensive emergencies.

Protection for Your Family’s Health

If you currently have a defective septic tank, poisonous sewage may enter or around your residential or commercial property. Aside from producing an unpleasant smell, the direct exposure to waste puts the health of your family at risk.

Longer Septic Tank Life-span

Having your sewage-disposal tank maintained will extend the life of your system and keep its performance optimal. Some house owners think that getting replacements is cheaper, however this is not the case. With specialist assistance, you can rest assured that your septic system is in top condition.


Septic tanks are created with an approximated lifespan. It merely implies with proper usage, your septic tank is likely to achieve a particular number of years. In between times, there may be problems that need urgent fixes. Even the easiest of septic tank problems when neglected gets aggravated. 

Trying to figure out what problem you are having with your septic tank can be a tricky thing. There are lots of potential problems that can arise when using a septic tank. These problems vary from damage brought on by tree roots, ground movement, and inconsistency in maintenance. There could also be concerns such as collapsed baffle, vehicle damage, and damage to dip pipe.

Other potential septic tank problems you might come across include an old tank, hydrostatic pressure, improper installation, and system obstructions. For each of these problems, there are appropriate repairs to apply. These repairs help restore your septic tank to normal functioning. Wish this article would help you recognize and solve the problems. 

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