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Common Reasons Why Septic Tanks Fail And How To Avoid Them

COMMON REASONS WHY SEPTIC TANKS FAIL AND HOW TO AVOID THEMMost homes in cities around the country are connected to the main sewerage system. If your home is not connected to the city’s sewerage system, it makes use of a septic tank system to deal with the wastewater generated in the toilets of your home. The Septic tank collects, filters, cleans and then returns the wastewater to nature.

Most people hardly think about how the drainage of wastewater takes place when they use the flush in their toilet. Septic tank designing is done to work for a long time without a problem. It is when they stop functioning properly that all hell breaks loose. The wastewater either stops draining completely or does so in a very slow manner. In this article, we shall try to understand the basic reasons why septic tanks fail and what can be done to avoid these problems. 

Excessive Use Of Water In The Toilet

Septic tanks for use in homes have a limited water handling capacity. Your septic tank can process a limited quantity of water daily. The problem starts when the usage of water in the toilets exceeds the capacity of the system to filter wastewater. You experience a problem when the septic tank has to handle more wastewater than it can handle. The tank fills up before it has emptied. Naturally, this wastewater has nowhere to go, and it comes back to the toilet seat. Such a scenario is not only ugly, but it can also create health problems for the family members. Wherever this happens, it is a clear indication that your septic tank is not big enough to fulfill the needs of your family. It is also possible that it is collecting water from any other source and becoming overloaded. You can visit a reliable and authentic website like septictank.com to know if your septic tank is not sufficient to handle the water use in your family. 

Many a time, the problem of overload of the septic system is caused by a dripping faucet. In many cases, the rainwater collected in the gutters on the roof gets diverted to the septic tank. Excess water in the septic tank can also result from wastewater generated through the use of appliances like dishwashers or washing machines. If you see water draining slowly from the toilet seat or backing up, it is time to call in an expert plumber to check your septic tank system. 

Damage To The Septic System

The septic system in your home has 4 main components. Besides the tank, it consists of the pipes connecting to the tank, the drain field, and the soil surrounding the tank into which the processed wastewater finally goes. Most homeowners believe their septic tank is failing because it has suffered from some kind of damage. But the thing to remember is that the failure of your septic system could be a result of damage to any of the 4 components making up this system. Tree roots are one of the most common reasons for damage to the septic tank system. These roots can grow and reach the septic system. At times, roots can puncture the pipes connecting the septic tank. At other times, these roots can damage the tank itself. Clogging of the drain pipes sometimes takes place because of these tree roots. In some cases, paving around the septic tank leads to the compacting of the soil underneath The pipes connecting to the septic tank can become damaged by constant driving near the septic tank. 

To prevent damage caused by tree roots, it is advisable not to plant trees in at least 25 feet area near the septic tank. You should avoid driving in this area and also avoid paving on this surface to prevent the crushing of pipes. Paving in the drain field makes it impossible to career out repairs to the septic system in the future. Instead of trees, you can plant grass over the drain field area. Grass absorbs some water and prevents compacting or erosion of the soil near the septic tank. 

Poor Maintenance Of The Septic Tank

The wastewater generated in the household finds its way into the septic tank. Heavy components in this wastewater get separated from water and settle down at the bottom of the tank to form what is known as sludge. On the other hand are light pollutants in wastewater such as oil and grease. Being lighter than water, these components float and get collected at the top surface of the wastewater. They are collectively known as scum. The pump fitted in the septic tank flushes out only water while holding back the scum and the sludge. Some of the scum and sludge break down over time because of the action of bacteria. The rest keeps piling up inside the tank. It is necessary to flush out this sludge and scum once after every three years. If you do not pump out these pollutants after 3 years, the build-up to the top of the tank and start to mix into the water drained out into the drain field. Lack of maintenance is one of the most common reasons for the failure of the septic tank system. 


Last but not least is improper installation of the septic tank. Installation of the tank should be carried out at a certain depth after checking the quality of soil surrounding it. This soil should be able to absorb the water pumped out of the septic tank. If the soil quality is not suitable for the functions required for the absorption of wastewater, your septic tank will not function properly. Impermeable and too wet soils are not suitable for the proper functioning of a septic tank. Other design problems seen with septic tanks are inadequate sizing and inferior quality of construction. 

Septic tanks can be wonderful parts of the plumbing system. They are designed to last very long but need proper maintenance after every few years to keep disposing of wastewater generated in the household. If you keep in mind the reasons for their failure and avoid them, your septic tank will function normally for many years to come.

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