Prevent Costly Mistakes: Problems With Septic Tanks

Septic Tank Dude Author at Septic Tank Dude
Jack has been working all of his life in the septic tank maintenance, cleaning and pumping business. In 2020 when COVID hit he decided to retire from pumping septic tanks and use his knowledge to help out readers of Septic Tank Dude. Jack has a wealth of knowledge to share on septic tanks, leach fields and much more.
Jack Cacy

Septic tanks are an efficient and eco-friendly way to handle household wastewater. However, if not correctly maintained and without a septic tank bacteria treatment, they can pose a significant risk to your health and property. A failing septic system can cause property damage, environmental contamination, and pose serious health hazards.

This article aims to help homeowners understand the common septic tank problems and how to prevent them and septic system failure. We will cover how septic tanks work, common septic tank problems, and maintenance tips to help avoid costly repairs.


How Septic Tanks Work

A septic tank is an underground tank that collects wastewater from your household plumbing. Once inside the tank, solid waste settles to the bottom, while lighter waste such as oils and grease float to the top. The middle layer, or effluent, is the liquid wastewater that is released into the drain field for further treatment and absorption.

don't wait for your septic to fail, prevent it

Common Septic Tank Problems

Clogs and Blockages

Clogs and blockages are among the most common septic tank problems. They occur when solid waste builds up and blocks the pipes and plumbing fixtures leading to and from the tank, causing slow drains and backups.


Overflows and septic system Backup

Overflows and backups can be caused by clogs or blockages. When a septic tank overflows, untreated sewage can seep into the surrounding soil and contaminate the groundwater around the septic tank. Sewage backups are hazardous and can pose serious health risks if not dealt with promptly.


Leach Field Failure

A leach field is a crucial component of a septic system, responsible for further treating and absorbing the liquid wastewater that leaves the septic tank. However, leach fields can fail due to a variety of reasons, including clogs, blockages, and damage to the pipes.


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Signs of Leach Field Failure

If you notice any of the following signs, it may be an indication of leach field failure:

  • Soggy areas in your yard, especially near the septic system
  • Foul odors, either inside or outside your home
  • Slow drains or backups
  • Lush green patches of grass or vegetation near your septic system

Causes of Leach Field Failure

Leach field failure can be caused by a variety of reasons, including:

  • Overuse or improper use of the septic system
  • Clogs or blockages in the pipes leading to and from the leach field
  • Damage to the pipes, either from tree root infiltration or physical damage
  • Soil compaction, preventing the soil from properly absorbing the wastewater
  • Harsh chemicals or cleaners being poured down the drain, harming the bacterial balance in the leach field

Repairing Leach Field Failure

Repairing leach field failure can be a costly and time-consuming process. In some cases, the entire leach field may need to be replaced. It’s essential to contact a professional septic system repair service as soon as you notice any signs of leach field failure to prevent further damage and costly repairs.


Foul Odors

Foul odors are a common problem with septic tanks. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including clogs, blockages, and drain field failures.


Tree Root Infiltration

Tree root infiltration is a problem that can cause severe damage to your septic system. Tree roots can grow into pipes, causing blockages and breakages.


Pumping and Maintenance

Pumping and maintenance are essential for the proper functioning of your septic system. Neglecting these tasks can lead to costly repairs and system failure.


Preventing Septic Tank Problems

When your septic system fails it can be a very disruptive time with your plumbing system no longer working. Preventing septic tank problems and avoiding septic tank failure should be any homeowners number one priority. That’s why over 21,000 homeowners flush this preventative septic tank treatment down their toilet every month.


household owner with septic tank treatmentProper Use and Maintenance of septic systems

Proper use and maintenance are crucial for the longevity of your septic system. Here are some tips to help prevent septic tank problems:

  • Don’t flush non-biodegradable items down the toilet, such as diapers, wipes, or feminine hygiene products.
  • Use septic-safe toilet paper to avoid clogs and blockages.
  • Avoid pouring cooking oils, fats, and grease down the drain.
  • Don’t pour chemicals, paints, or pharmaceuticals down
  • Don’t pour chemicals, paints, or pharmaceuticals down the drain, as they can kill the beneficial bacteria that help break down waste in your septic tank.
  • Avoid using harsh cleaners or antibacterial soaps, as they can also harm the bacterial balance in your septic system.
  • Limit the use of your garbage disposal, as it can overload your septic system with solid waste.


Regular Inspections to avoid septic system failure

Regular inspections are crucial for identifying and preventing potential problems with your septic system. A professional septic tank inspector can identify any issues early on, saving you from costly repairs down the line. It’s recommended to have your septic system inspected every three to five years, depending on usage and the size of your tank.


Regular Pumping of Septic Systems

Regular pumping is essential for maintaining the proper functioning of your septic system. Over time, solid waste builds up in the tank, and if left unchecked, can cause clogs and backups. It’s recommended to have your septic tank pumped every three to five years, depending on usage and the size of your tank.



Septic tanks are an essential component of many residential properties, but they require proper maintenance to avoid costly repairs and health hazards. In this article, we’ve covered the common problems associated with septic tanks and how to prevent them. By following proper use and maintenance practices, regular inspections, and pumping, you can keep your septic system running smoothly and avoid costly repairs down the line.



How often should I have my septic system inspected?

It’s recommended to have your septic system inspected every three to five years, depending on usage and the size of your tank.

Can I use bleach in my septic system?

It’s not recommended to use bleach or other harsh chemicals in your septic system, as they can harm the beneficial bacteria that help break down waste.

How often should I have my septic tank pumped?

It’s recommended to have your septic tank pumped every three to five years, depending on usage and the size of your tank.

What should I do if I notice foul odors or slow drains?

Foul odors and slow drains are signs of potential septic system problems. It’s recommended to contact a professional septic tank inspector to identify and address the issue promptly.

Can I plant trees near my septic system?

It’s not recommended to plant trees or other vegetation near your septic system, as their roots can infiltrate pipes and cause damage to your system.

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