If you have not been cleaning your septic tank, have been flushing chemicals or undegradable items into your system or have been subject to severe weather, then you are going to have septic tank issues. Identifying problems can be pretty easy, unfortunately remedying them can be an expensive, exhausting process.
There will be some tell-tale signs if you notice that your septic tank is blocked or not functioning properly. First of all you may be able to see that it is overflowing onto the surrounding surface area. Another sign is that you may experience issues flushing the toilet. Other household utilities such as laundry machines may experience difficulties operating too. If the tank is not overflowing, but there are issues with utilities, it may be the case that a pipe is blocked or has collapsed. You can check for blocked or collapsed pipes using sewer rods. When you’re satisfied that the pipes are the issue, you will need to call in an expert to assess the situation. They can then unblock or fix any sewage pipes so as not to cause any further blockage or damage to your septic tank.
If this is not a once off occurrence and indeed happens quite regularly, the most likely situation is that there may be a percolation problem. If there is almost a pond of water gathering around the tank, percolation issues are certainly the cause. Are you using a soak pit? It may need to be replaced in this instance. Soak pits are not suitable for long term wastewater disposal and so have to be changed and replaced regularly or blockages will occur. When your soak pit fails, substances and underground water can build up causing your septic tank to back up or become unable to empty.
If after installation, your soak pit is instantly filled and is backing up the system, this may be due to soakage problems of the surrounding land. This is why percolation testing of the soil prior to installation is ever so important. If your septic tank is blocked not in the pipes but in the system itself and there are incredibly bad odours being excreted, it may be due to negligence. A tank that isn’t regularly de-slugged will start to enter the percolation system as it will be unable to process them into wastewater. This can cause a foul smell and unhealthy excretions.
If there has been excessive rain, quick melting snow or other harsh weather conditions, it is important to have your septic tank checked. Excessive rain and fast melting snow can cause overflowing. Other harsh weather conditions such as a deep freeze can cause cracking or falling of pipes. Another possibility if your tank is consistently overflowing is that the size of the tank does not meet the demands of the house. If you have consulted an expert on installation however this is highly unlikely as they would have been able to advise a more than adequate size of tank. However, if your house is an old build, it may be the case that the tank holds less than 4,000 litres of wastewater and so is unsuitable for modern living. In this case, your only option will be to upgrade your system.
Like with any situation, should a problem arise with your septic tank it is best left to the experts to resolve, as soon as possible. The longer you leave an issue, the more damage it will cause and the further the financial implications will increase.