SEPTIC SYSTEM FAILURES
- Leaking interior fixtures, especially toilets.
- Excessive water use.
- Large volume of laundry water in one day. Laundry loads should be spread out through the course of the week.
- Water conditioning equipment going through septic may harm bacteria growth in septic tank and deteriorate the tank itself, and may shorten the life of absorption facility in certain clay-type soils.
- Excess number of people using septic system for extended period of time, beyond the system’s design.
- Metal septic tanks. Metal tanks WILL corrode and ruin the leach field. There is no warning and the tank will eventually deteriorate. Once the tank does go, the entire septic system must be repaired (including leach fields) which can be extremely costly to repair.
- Too small of a septic tank will cause a system failure.
- Not servicing (pumping) septic tank properly. Only use a reputable company. For safety, a service pumping and inspection should be done every 3 years at the very least. Insist on a written report with every pumping and inspection. It’s best to use the same service contractor for each pumping and inspection since they can spot changes in the system between service calls. For example, a couple buys a small house, with a septic system that can support two people. The couple then has children, which means usage of water has now increased. Your service contractor will be able to see if the system can still handle the excess waste water imposed upon it. Like a family doctor, your service contractor will know if your system is remaining healthy.
- Poor landscaping. Final grading, if not done properly around and over the septic system, can contribute to system failure.
- Storm water from gutters, overland flow, footing and floor drains, etc. should NEVER enter the septic system.
- Don’t put food, paper towels, sanitary napkins, etc. into the septic system. It is not a landfill.
- Heavy use of high strength disinfectants including colored dyes harm the growth of bacteria in the septic tank.
- Don’t rinse paint brushes, rollers, etc. in the sink. These types of chemicals can harm bacteria growth and ground water.
- Dirty water or suspended solids should not leave the tank.
- High seasonal ground water (high ground water normally occurs in the spring).
Signs of Septic System Failure:
- Dark green grass over leach field area.
- Septage odor.
- Back-up in house or gurgling noise / slow flush.
- Septic water surfacing in yard.
- Sludge on top of baffles in septic tank.
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