3 Common Septic System Problems Explained

When it works, your septic system is a dream come true. When it doesn’t, it turns your home and yard into a sludgy nightmare. Before you call the septic system specialists, here are three common problems that often occur.

Problem: Every now and then your septic system belches all the sewage and icky stuff back into your basement, turning it into a sludgy swamp that smells like a pit toilet.

Solution: You’ve probably had the stupid thing snaked again and again. The “snake” is a giant, snake-like thing that’s used by plumbers to clear clogged drains. It winds its way through, and the problem is solved. But sometimes, with a really backed up septic system, you can snake it again and again, and the problem keeps coming back.

A great way to solve this situation is to have it scoped with a camera. A tiny camera inserted into your pipes can show if there is another problem, other than just a clogged drain. You may have corroded pipes or some other type of blockage that a snake can’t remove.

Problem: The septic system is doing its job of holding waste and not backing up, but the ground around the tank has lost a lot of its vegetation, making you wonder if the tank has a mind of its own and is poisoning your yard.

Solution: In this case, it’s not the tank that’s poisoning your yard – it’s you! If you’re seeing vegetation disappear around the tank, this means that some kind of toxic material has gone into it. These systems are designed to handle human waste, and nothing toxic should go into it.

The list of toxic items you should never put in there include paint thinner, heavy chemicals, gasoline, motor oil, any kind of grease and cleaners that use logs of chemicals. When cleaning your tank and pipes, always use something that’s organic and all-natural. If you’re seeing a plant apocalypse around your tank, this unfortunately means that the damage is already done and you’ll probably need to get it replaced.

Problem: You checked the ol’ septic tank as you regularly do, and you’ve found lots of solid stuff floating at the top where it’s not supposed to be.

Solution: You’ve probably got too much water in the tank. Of course, it’s designed to handle water, but most of us push it to the limit. A good number of these systems were designed in the 1930’s back before we had dishwashers, multiple showers, washing machines and other modern conveniences.

If this is the case, you don’t need to get the whole works replaced. Just keep tabs on how much water you use at one time. Space out your showers and laundry days. Try to cut down on how much water you use in one day, and your septic system will be able to handle it easily.

If all else fails, or if you feel like you’re over your head in sewage goo, give a septic system specialist a call. It’s their job to do the dirty work, and they’ve got the tools and expertise necessary to get your tank running the way it’s supposed to. Just hurry up and get it done quickly so you don’t have to live in your own stink for long!