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October 18, 2018

6 Common Septic Problems and How-to Avoid Them


Domestic septic systems are built to last for a long time, as long as they are maintained and cleaned on a regular basis. There are some problems that are difficult to predict or avoid, but many of the most common septic issues can be prevented with minimal effort to property owners. Don’t hesitate to contact a professional plumbing and sewer expert if you have any questions about your system or if you notice signs of any emerging issues.

Excessive Water Consumption

Adding new appliances or members of the household can put an extra strain on your septic system, particularly if it was designed for an older house. Between showers, washing dishes and cleaning laundry, it’s easy to overwhelm the septic tank with too much waste water. This causes solid material to rise quickly and potentially block the lines leading to the leach field.

Homeowners should try to avoid using an excessive amount of water in a short time period. Laundry should be spread out over the course of the week, and low-flow fixtures or toilets can be installed to further cut down on consumption. Reducing water consumption also cuts down on utility bills, which can save a lot of money in the long-term.

Non-Biodegradable Material

As any professional plumber will tell you, you should never flush anything that isn’t completely biodegradable. Plastic wrappers, diapers and cat litter are just a few examples of household waste that is not appropriate for disposal through the sewer system. Make sure all residents understand what they can and can’t flush to prevent serious septic issues.

Algae Growth in the Tank

Overuse of phosphate-rich laundry detergents can contribute to the buildup of algae in the septic tank. Algae can clog up the lines around the tank and reduce the available capacity for waste. Households that make frequent use of the washing machine should consider switching to a detergent that doesn’t contain phosphates.

Chemical Damage to Bacterial Filter

There are a wide range of toxic chemicals that can deal serious damage to your septic system. Gasoline, oil and solvents are just a few of the substances that can kill bacteria, which are essential for breaking down waste in the tank. Avoid using the toilet or sink to dispose of toxic chemicals.

Failure to Pump Solid Waste

Consistently pumping your septic tank on schedule can spare a lot of expense and headache down the road. Pumping the tank of solid waste only costs a fraction of the price of replacing a broken system. Talk to a plumber about how often you should pump based on current household demands.

Broken Sewer Line

A cracked or broken sewer line can allow waste material to leak too close the home, contaminating the surrounding soil and creating a health hazard. Breaks can result from a serious drain clog that is left untreated, encroaching tree roots or natural disasters. Homeowners should always keep their plumbing system free from blockages and monitor the growth of nearby trees to ensure they don’t interfere with the sewer line.

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