Are you worried your septic tank is leaking? A leaking or failing septic tank isn’t always easy to spot. You might not see any signs of a problem. Routine maintenance or an inspection can uncover a leaking tank, but most homeowners won’t be aware of a leak until it becomes a major problem.

Other failures are obvious and require the help of a professional. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you have a septic tank or cesspool on your property.

Common Causes of Septic System Failures

The most common cause of leaks and failures is clogged solids. Blockages can be caused by broken pipes, tree roots, or sludge in the distribution system. Some tanks fail because they’re poorly designed. For instance, a system with a drain field won’t work in areas with a high groundwater table or too much slope.

Failure to properly maintain your system can lead to failure. Routine care includes pumping the septic tank every three to five years. If you don’t pump the tank, solids may clog the system or enter the drain field. A properly maintained system is the best way to avoid failure. Yearly inspections by a professional can identify small leaks or other problems before they lead to major failures.

Signs a Septic Tank is Failing

Is your sink or toilet draining slowly? Is the plumbing backing up frequently? These may be signs your septic system has a problem. Look outside to check for further indications of a failing system. The following situations are serious and require the immediate attention of a professional.

  • A strong smell of sewage: A leaking tank or failing system can result in untreated effluent (liquids) entering the soil around the tank or cesspool.
  • Areas of greener or more vigorous growth: Look for areas where the vegetation around the drain field is particularly verdant. When soil is saturated with effluent, plants grow more quickly. The effluent contains nitrogen and phosphate, both of which are an effective fertilizers.
  • Effluent pooling on the surface of the ground: This means the drain field is completely saturated and can’t absorb any more liquids. Pooling effluent is a serious health and safety concern. Untreated sewage is hazardous and saturated soil is unstable and prone to collapse.

Regular inspection and pumping of your septic tank by a professional are the best ways to care for the system. Apollo Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning’s technicians and plumbers can assist you in caring for your tank or cesspool. Whether you suspect a problem, or simply want to maintain the health of your septic tank, contact us for a free estimate: (503) 395-0256

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Brandon Bird
Brandon Bird

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