Septic Tank Problems

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Septic tanks and systems are, by nature, designed to function properly without problems or the need of human intervention or maintenance. For well over 100 years, septic tank systems have been serving as a simplified solution to a never-ending supply of waste which is produced in the hundreds of millions of tons per year range.
Septic tank treatment every month

Since their inception, septic tanks have worked very much the way they were designed and have functioned so well that they were the leading choice of officials and regulators – second only to public wastewater systems where buildings are directly linked to municipal lines.

Septic tank systems are not foolproof and can run into problems. Most systems are connected to a leach or drainfield at some point and the connection is usually made by buried piping and lines that allow safe passage for the wastewater to travel from the tank, to the filed. The buried lines and the tank itself can be damaged or shifted as a result of heavy weight (such as heavy equipment driving over the area where the tank is located), ground movements such as natural shifting and severe storms can also saturate soil to a point that the system shifts. A damaged system may not function at 100% and can lead to odors, wet spots and back-ups.

Tree roots also play a major role in septic tank problems. Root systems can easily break through piping and tank walls and can act as a mesh shield preventing waste from flowing properly. Planting trees or large shrubs around your drainfield can result in unwanted roots within your system that can lead to sever problems – even complete stoppage.

Septic tank systems often see a massive accumulation of Bio-Mat (Black tar like substance that clogs the lines and filed soils) due to improperly digested raw sewage. Modern anti-bacterial products kill off the naturally occurring strains within all systems – leading to undigested sludge clogging the field and resulting in the same odor, wet spot and backup problems.
Picture of an exposed septic tank lid

If your home or establishment is connected to a septic tank system, keep these handy tips in mind so as to prevent a costly unnecessary repair bill in the future. • Never allow heavy equipment to drive on or near your septic tank, lines or drainfield. • Don’t use the area above your septic system as a parking area. Even lighter automobiles can shift surface areas causing damage below ground. • Avoid planting trees or shrubs within the surrounding areas of your total system. Deep rooted foliage can enter a systems barrier within a few years and can cause massive damage. • Avoid using anti-bacterial products unless you are on a monthly bacterial boosting maintenance treatment. Anti-bacterial products kill off healthy bacterial and can completely stall a healthy system. • Never pour paints, oil or grease down into your system. Again, these chemicals kill bacteria rapidly and quickly clog lateral lines, gravel and subsurface soils. • Never enter your septic tank system; Toxic gases are deadly and can kill in seconds. Use common sense in controlling the area around your system and keep any access covers in tip top shape. Loose fitting tank covers are an accident waiting to happen and can be a severe hazard for small children and pets.

If your system is failing or running into problems, consider a bacterial treatment for sludge digestion for in most cases, sludge and roots are the number one cause of backups. If your problem is due to mechanical damage, seek the assistance of a reputable septic technician in your area and be sure to get at least three opinions before digging up your tank or field.

By: Bradley Skierkowski

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