Issues You Might See With a Septic System

January 16th, 2016

Not every home is hooked up to the city water supply; there are millions of homes out there that rely on a septic system to collect waste. The last thing you want is to have the septic system back up and cause flooding or other problems inside and outside your home, so it’s important to be aware of some of the most common issues you may see, learn how to spot them, and how to fix them early.

Overflowing & Soakaway Issues

Perhaps the most common issue that most homeowners face is an overly full septic tank. A properly functioning septic tank is designed to filter out black and gray water from your home, clean it, and distribute it safely into the ground so it can get filtered and eventually mix with groundwater without causing any health issues. During the cleansing process, water will separate into a “scum layer” of things that float, a “sludge layer” made of things that sink, and a water layer in the middle. To maintain a clean system you should have the sludge emptied at least annually.

Signs of a problem with overflowing sludge include:

  • Overflowing toilets
  • Drains that make gurgling noises
  • Draining from one area (e.g., a sink) causes water backup in other areas (e.g., a shower or bathtub)
  • Slow draining toilets
  • Foul smells coming from drains or out in the yard

If you see these signs, contact a plumber in Salt Lake City right away to diagnose and help you clean up the problem before it gets worse.

Tank Deterioration

Another common problem that homeowners often encounter is tank deterioration. While your septic system is designed to last for a long time, it likely won’t last forever, which means your tank will eventually need to be replaced. It’s hard to spot any early signs of tank failure, though, which is why regular inspection and maintenance are so important.

Broken Drain Lines

 If you suspect you might have a broken drain line, it’s something that needs to be addressed immediately. Left unrepaired, it can allow wastewater into soil and groundwater near your home, which is hazardous to your family’s health. A Utah plumber can help you find the leak with specialized camera equipment, septic dye, or possibly by digging up the drain area.

Damaged Baffles

The baffles have the important job of ensuring proper wastewater flow, but over time they will deteriorate from sulfuric acid and rust. When that happens it can also be an early warning sign of septic system failure. Talk to a plumber if you suspect you might have a problem.

The worst thing you can do is cross your fingers and hope for the best when it comes to your septic system. The best thing you can do is get yours inspected annually, or whenever you suspect a problem, and get it repaired immediately if you do find something.