Septic tanks provide much-needed waste management for homes that aren't connected to the main sewer line. Every home with a septic tank will eventually need septic tank repair, whether it's due to plumbing clogs, tree root intrusion, or simply the age of the tank. Here are two signs you should know that could mean it's time for septic tank repair.
1. Drains Are Slow Throughout Your Home
A single slow drain can be attributed to a clog in the drain pipe, but multiple slow drains point to a bigger problem. Clogged septic tanks are notorious for their ability to disrupt every drain in your home at once. When your septic tank is too full of debris that can't be broken down, new water and waste from your drains will have nowhere to go.
If a slow or clogged septic tank is left untreated, your drains are at risk of backing up. Sewage backups are messy problems that can damage your home and pose a risk of illness to members of your household. Pumping your septic tank is a common repair task that can fix slow drains and save you the headache of a sewage backup.
2. Your Lawn Is Saturated With Water
Under normal circumstances, your septic tank deposits liquid waste, called effluent, into the drain field on your property. The drain field is located several feet under the top layer of soil. Here, effluent waste percolates from the drainage pipes into a bed of gravel or organic material containing anaerobic bacteria. This layer is called the biomat, and it helps to further filter the wastewater from your septic tank.
When your septic tank drainage pipes are clogged, wastewater may instead rise to the surface and pool in your yard. Just as sewage backups in your home can be a health hazard, standing wastewater in your drain field may also contain pathogens. A plumber must address your flooded leach field to prevent groundwater contamination and restore your septic tank to working order.
Sometimes, the drainage pipes may be damaged or clogged with grease and debris, in which case the affected section of the pipe will need to be removed. In rarer cases, the biomat may need to be replaced once it has become oversaturated. However, replacing the biomat is usually only necessary every 10 to 20 years with adequate septic system maintenance.
Slow drains and standing water in your lawn are the two most obvious signs of septic tank issues. If you notice these symptoms, call a professional plumber for septic repairs to avoid more serious septic system damage.