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What are Common Causes of Septic Tank Problems?

You’ve probably said this a million times before – “Nope, I’ve never had septic tank problems.”
What a lot of people do not know is that failing septic systems do not always give you clear signs that a problem is brewing underneath the ground. In fact, your septic tank may have been having problems for a decade or two now without showing you any evident signs.

Of course, one of the best ways to figure out whether you could be having septic tank problems is knowing what causes these issues in the first place. What are the common causes of septic tank problems?

Table of Contents

Ground Conditions

It is important that the condition of the ground is considered before building the septic tank system. You have to make sure the ground is suitable and big enough to house the drainage field or soakaway. If the ground is non-permeable, then there’s a huge chance the wastewater coming from inside the tank could eventually burst out of the ground. This becomes not only a plumbing problem, but a health hazard as well.

Presence of Roots

You can never control what direction the roots of trees or shrubs will take, so make sure your drainage field is not in close proximity to them. Remember that roots can be strong enough to break into your tank’s drainage field, which will eventual cause blockage within the pipe work.

Physical Damage

If you place your drainage field around an area where there is heavy activity, then there’s a huge chance the pipe work would eventually be damaged. Heavy machinery, frequent ground movement, and other factors could be causes for physical damage like this.

Sodium Binding

Most kinds of detergents you use contain sodium, one of the toughest enemies of your soakaway. Basically, it causes silt and other clay particles to be bound, a process called sodium binding. This then forms a solid layer that would eventually refuse anything to pass through, eventually leading to complete failure of the soakaway.

Natural Water Table

Placing your drainage field under a natural water table could spell trouble, especially during the colder winter months. This means that any pipework will be laid down at the same level as the water table, which could result into flooding. If this kind of setup becomes unavoidable, a conversion system could be put into place to avoid future problems.

Increase in Flow

Septic tanks are designed to handle a certain volume of wastewater each day. This is why the bigger the structure connected to it, the sturdier and bigger the system usually is. Should there be an increase in the flow of wastewater into the septic tank, it will not only cause overflows, but physical damage to the drainage field as well.

Length of Use

The longer the septic system has been in use, the higher the possibility of problems as well. After all, the longer anything has been in use, the more maintenance it will need and the bigger the chance of the entire system failing.

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