Why Septic Systems Fail And How To Fix Them

Here, we’ll be looking at why septic systems fail and how to fix them.

Septic systems are essential to waste treatment requirements for homes and commercial areas. When organic waste is generated, it needs to be properly broken down.

However, this isn’t possible with septic system failure.

Reasons For Septic Systems Failure & Common Solutions

In trying to do justice to this topic, our discussion will focus on two main points; why septic systems fail and how to resolve the problem.

This approach takes a broad look at what unfolds or the underlying causes and the solutions.

Problems With Septic System Fail

When septic systems become dysfunctional, they present a lot of challenges for homeowners.

This includes health risks or hazards as pollution of water sources results from leakage. There’s also the problem of strong odor from methane gas which could be released improperly.

In a nutshell, the resulting issues from septic system failure aren’t pretty at all and need to be addressed as urgently as possible. Doing so safeguards your health and that of your household in addition to keeping your septic system in good working condition.

Why Many Septic Systems Fail

Septic systems fail for a variety of reasons. These range from physical damage, improper design, the use of too much water, and the lack of maintenance.

Let’s get into greater detail for a better understanding of what each of these reasons entails.

  • Physical Damage

Physical damage is among the common issues relating to septic system failure. Several contributory factors result in septic system failure. One of them includes tree root interference.

When a septic system is located close to the soil absorption field or drains field, such a drain field gets clogged. When clogged, absorption is affected, thus impacting negatively on other parts of the septic system.

Apart from tree root interference, physical damage of septic systems occurs when building, driving, or parking on the drain field or soil absorption unit.

What results is a compaction of the soil, making it impossible for the absorption of wastewater.

Also, important septic system components like pipes can be crushed, thus making it difficult to gain access to the septic tank for scheduled pumping.

All of these situations will negatively impact the normal functioning of your septic system, thus leading to its failure.

  • Improper Design

Septic system fails are also due to improper design. The term ‘improper design’ may sound bogus if we don’t provide the specifics. With the improper design, we’re simply referring to faulty installation and poor design.

Here, site conditions are mostly inappropriate for the wastewater. There are also issues with how pipes are laid. Such pipes could be laid at odd angles, thus preventing the free flow of waste.

Channeling of wastewater becomes a problem that could be further worsened with time.

Leaky joints as well as pooling water have largely been the case with improper design. This isn’t the way a good working septic system should function. Improper designs are caused by using cheap labor which is basically inexperienced and unprofessional hands.

The entire process of design is quite technical and needs a full assessment of the soil conditions. For instance, beneath every soil absorption unit, there should be several inches of unsaturated soils to a limiting layer.

The focus on soil condition is necessary because it is an important factor in the treatment of wastewater. The thinner the soil layer, the less likely wastewater gets treated before reaching groundwater.

Compacted soils won’t absorb wastewater. This leads to a surface runoff which also poses a problem

  • Too Much Use of Water

Is too much use of water bad for a septic system? It is!

A septic system should get just the right amount of water and nothing more. Too much of it and the whole system is put under stress. Now you may wonder how much is too much.

Well, you might have purchased new equipment that guzzles too much water.

Such water is released into your drainage and ends up in the septic system. There’s also the case of surface water draining from many places such as roads, roofs, and driveways. When such surface water finds its way to the drain field, it overloads it, thus making it difficult to function effectively.

One of the most common issues from too much water is the backing-up of drainage. Further issues result such as strong unbearable odor as well as health risks.

  • Lack of Maintenance

Maintenance is a crucial activity that needs to be done periodically. This includes repairs to any issues discovered.

Pumping of your septic tank should be scheduled every 3 years to remove its content. In the absence of such maintenance work, your septic system is likely to fail.

Pumping alone isn’t enough. A septic system is made up of various components. When these aren’t checked and repaired or replaced, they contribute to system failure. The bottom line is; maintenance is all-encompassing.

Without sustainability, your septic system would always develop issues.

Fixing A Septic System Failure

Having highlighted all the possible reasons why you’re experiencing a septic system failure, it’s now time to look at solutions. Like the problems listed above, there are also multiple solutions for fixing your problematic septic system.

Such solutions include the following;

  • Improvement of Surface & Subsurface Drainage

When surface water is allowed to flow freely, it overloads your septic system’s soil absorption unit. Your best bet is to divert all such water by building drainage away from the wastewater absorption unit.

  • Fixing Physical Damage

All physical damage needs to be fixed as soon as they’re detected. This includes overreaching roots, broken pipes, and compacted soils. Trees and shrubs should be planted away from the drain field.

  • Adopting Water Conservation Practices

Remember we earlier mentioned excess water as part of the problem. To prevent septic failure due to excess water, simply reduce the volume of water that gets into your septic system.

This isn’t a hard task to figure out. All you need to do is take an audit of what activities waste the most water.

  • Installing more Soil Absorption Fields

More soil absorption fields will benefit your septic system immensely. This is a preventive approach that can be adopted. It ensures that your drain field(s) have a greater capacity to handle wastewater coming into the septic system.

There you go! We’ve discussed the ‘why’ of the septic system fails and how to fix or remedy such problems. By adopting these simple remedial actions, your septic system is guaranteed to function much effectively.

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