Early identification of septic tank problems allows you to address the issues before the damage worsens

Septic tank problems can be hard to spot. But, with a bit of knowledge, you can identify early symptoms and contact Proseptic before the damage becomes worse.

Understanding Septic Tank Systems

Because septic tanks are buried underground, they can be easy to forget about and it is difficult for the untrained eye to know when something is wrong with a property’s sewage treatment system. Property owners are often unaware of small changes which can signify that a septic tank is damaged, cracked or blocked. But, by understanding how septic tanks work and learning to identify the early warning signs of issues, you have a better opportunity to contact Proseptic before minor issues can cause further damage.

Septic tanks contain two compartments. Effluent from your property enters the first compartment, where solids will remain. The waste then passes through into the second compartment sometimes via a baffle. This acts as a filter and keeps all solid waste in the first compartment. The second compartment works to clean liquid waste before the final product – cleaned effluent waste water – is drained into the drainage field.

Older systems may release the waste water into a ditch or watercourse. However, this system is both outdated and now illegal. Property owners still using this method of effluent disposal should contact Proseptic to discuss installing a soakaway to keep the property in line with current Environment Agency legislation.

Septic Tank Problems and Their Causes

The three main reasons for septic tank problems are;

1. Damage, such as cracks or misshaping;

Septic tanks can become weakened due to repeated pressure on the external walls. This can be from plants and tree roots growing in the direction of the system and putting pressure on the walls, or may even be from vehicles being driven over the site of the septic tank. Sometimes, this cannot be avoided, as property owners may not be aware of the exact location of the septic tank, or it may even be situated under a neighbour’s property.

2. Internal issues, such as blockages, clogging and dirt build-up.

Over time, the sludge and solid waste can build up within the septic tank. Consequently, this can cause the filters and pipes to become blocked. Even a low build-up will make pipes narrower and slow the efficiency of the system significantly. The build-up can also cause pressure internally and, in extreme cases, may result in the walls or filters splitting and breaking.

3. Age and a lack of maintenance.

All sewage treatment systems see wear and tear over time. The age of your septic tank is a major factor in how well it performs and how likely it is to see issues arise.

Similarly, septic tanks which are not properly maintained or have been neglected for some time are more likely to experience problems because of issues which could have been repaired sooner. To avoid septic tank issues as a result of either age or negligence, we advise scheduling an annual septic tank inspection to keep it up-to-date and to tackle potential issues before damage is caused.

Signs of a Septic Tank Problem

Septic tank problems such as small cracks, leaks and blockages give early warning signs and should be picked up on as soon as possible. Contact Proseptic immediately if you spot any of the following signs;

  • Strong/unusual odours in the septic tank area.
  • Damp/squashy ground around the septic tank location
  • Dark spots of grass in the area.
  • Dead or unhealthy grass in the area.
  • Slower draining than usual.
  • Waste flowing back into the property.
  • Unusual weeds or plants growing around the location of the septic tank.
  • Unusual sounds from the pipes or septic tank.
  • Dips or bumps in the ground surrounding the septic tank
  • Needing to schedule more regular emptying or maintenance appointments than usual.