Common Septic Tank Problems

There are plenty of benefits to having a septic tank. Septic tank systems have been around for a long time, and they continue to be a safe and reliable way to handle waste. They save you money, allow you to live away from the city, and contribute positively to the environment. Like any system in your home, though, septic tanks require some maintenance. If they’re not properly maintained, problems that can occur.

There are some signs of septic tank issues should never be ignored. Your drains, sinks, and toilets might begin draining slowly or backing up, or you might hear gurgling coming from the plumbing. There may be some unpleasant odors near your septic tank, or worse, damp spots or standing water in the area. Your grass may grow brighter and greener over the septic tank than elsewhere in your yard. All of these signs point to problems with the septic system that you’ll need to address.

  • Shifting ground can cause pressure on the septic tank. The slightest movement of the ground around your home can potentially create fractures and cracks in your septic tank walls. When this happens, your septic tank may need to be emptied more often, or groundwater can seep in and prevent your tank from effectively separate the liquid from the solid waste. Cracks in the septic tank can result in it needing to be replaced.
  • Tree roots and plants can damage the septic tank. If your septic tank is located too near trees and shrubs, roots can grow through the tank walls, sometimes growing as far as the pipes that go from the tank into your house. This, again, causes cracks that allow liquid to escape and water from the ground to get in, preventing the tank from working properly.
  • A baffle can collapse, and dip pipes can be damaged. Some septic tanks have baffles, and some have dip pipes. Each of these things makes sure that the right kind of waste flows into the soakaway system, with nothing solid that could cause blockage. If this kind of measure fails, wastewater can back up into the house.
  • An overfull septic tank can be a big problem. To keep your tank in good shape, you need to be on a regular schedule of emptying it. The exact interval at which it needs to be emptied vary from tank to tank, so it’s important that you understand yours and get on a good schedule with your septic tank service company.
  • Vehicles can run over your septic tank and damage it. Because septic tanks are underground, people often forget where they are. They might park on the septic tank, or drive a heavy piece of machinery over it. This can cause significant damage to your system, so it’s wise to mark your tank’s location clearly.
  • Sometimes hydrostatic pressure can be a problem. If the groundwater under the tank gets too high, it can pop the septic tank out of the ground, causing major trouble.
  • Septic tanks do get old and worn. Some tanks last for 100 years, but those are not necessarily the most effective models. Newer models are less susceptible to clogs, breaks, and cracks.
  • An improperly installed septic tank can be trouble. Ultimately, the responsibility for the septic tank falls on the property owner, and if yours is installed incorrectly you could be prosecuted. If you’re having a septic tank installed, make sure a percolation test is performed to make sure the ground is suitable for a soakaway. Make sure your installation is up to code, complying with environmental standards.

When you need help with your septic system, trust Trinity Liquid Waste. A family-owned business, we’ve been proudly serving customers throughout the Bay area for over 25 years. Specializing in residential and commercial septic and sewer services, our professional team provides exceptional service at affordable rates. Whether you need routine maintenance or 24-hour emergency service, we’re here for you. Call (510) 874-6489 or contact us through our website for more information.