If you’re a part of the 20% of Americans that rely on a septic tank to dispose of your sewage, you may have already encountered some of the horrors that a problematic tank can bring. From foul smells to gurgling sinks and toilets, the questions are always the same: how much damage has this done, and how long is it going to take to fix? Let’s take a look at the three most common septic tank issues and the best way to manage them.
- Sludge build up. The buildup of sludge is almost always the result of poor maintenance. It is vital that you watch what you’re flushing; it can be incredibly easy for solids to accumulate to the point where septic tanks can no longer hold anything else. In order to best avoid the need for septic tank repair, you should have your unit professionally cleaned on a regular schedule — usually every three to five years.
- Broken drain lines or broken septic tank baffle. Broken lines are the scourge of homeowners everywhere, and absolutely require a professional with the right equipment. They’ll need to perform a camera inspection to uncover the damage, whether it lies in broken lines or other broken parts. Broken septic tank baffles (usually as a result of sulfuric acid or rust) are an early sign that your concrete or steel septic tank is failing — you may want to consider having the whole tank replaced (though the drainfield will be fine) with a modern fiberglass septic tank.
- Tree root penetration. Unsurprisingly, Mother Nature can do a lot of damage. Tree roots specifically can cause septic tanks to work slowly, or even stop them entirely. Cutting back the offending roots won’t do the trick as they’ll simply recover, and usually with some speed; your best bet is to hire a technician who understands how to treat the problem in the most efficient way. Additionally, since roots in drainfields are treated differently, they’ll have the knowledge and experience to handle the problem for good.
Fortunately, there is a relatively simple way to prevent these events from ever occurring: by following the proper septic tank maintenance procedures, you greatly reduce the odds of facing a flooded — and stinky — backyard, or overflowing toilets. The more you can avoid septic tank repairs, the better!