Few things can be more distressing for a homeowner than a problem with the septic system. Even householders who are vigilant about reducing the water load and ensuring that the tank is pumped regularly can find themselves facing an unpleasant situation if something goes wrong. While there are many things that can go wrong with a septic system, they can be roughly grouped into a few common scenarios.
Clogs and blockages are a routine problem for septic tank systems. Blockages at the inlet can prevent waste from entering the tank, causing it to back up; blockages at the outlet prevent liquid from entering the leach field and will eventually cause the tank to overflow. Sometimes these arise because the wrong items are being put into the system: cooking oil and grease can cause major problems, as can feminine hygiene products and the wrong kind of toilet paper. Algal blooms and biofilms can also form barriers that stop the tank draining properly. Blockages may be often resolved by snaking the system but sometimes the tank needs to be opened up and the clog removed.
Minor Repair Scenarios
Septic systems are made up of several different elements. Over time, one or more of these may begin to fail an will need to be replaced. These include the pipes and fittings; septic tank risers (connections between the septic tank and the surface, facilitating pumping); baffles, which prevent solid waste from escaping once it has entered the tank; and filters, which can become clogged over time.
Major Repair Scenarios
While septic tanks are minutely inspected before being installed, cracks and weak spots can form over time. A septic system only has a finite lifespan, typically around 20-25 years. Systems can fail faster if they are not properly maintained or if the homeowner uses the system incorrectly (for example, by pouring caustic chemicals such as paint thinner down the drain). The tank will need to be dug up and exposed for repairs to take place; in the worst case, it may need to be replaced all together.
Using a professional civil engineering company to assess the situation on your property can be extremely valuable in the long run. Hiring an experienced firm to come out and evaluate a septic system is extremely important before purchasing a new property, whether it’s residential or commercial. If your hiring an engineering company for new construction, they will take your septic design from a plan to a design and gather all legal permits along the way. For more information about a septic repair on your property, click here.
– Conduct regular maintenance on your tank
– Routinely pumping the system
– Use the system correctly to reduce the number of repairs.
– Conduct minor repairs involve fixing or replacing components such as filters.
– Major repairs will require the replacement of the septic tank.