A well-maintained septic system can last three decades. However, it’s also primarily underground, so how do you really know if it’s failing or still functional? Knowing critical warning signs of a failing septic system helps you determine the effectiveness of your current setup.
1. Slow Drains
Slow drains indicate a stoppage of the pipe that flows into your septic. Commercial drain cleaners are tempting but not the way to go because their harsh chemicals can make the pipes deteriorate over the course of time. A natural product that adds enzymes and bacteria will eat up the pipe gunk giving you issues.
2. Sewage or Water Back Up
If you have water or even black liquid that is gurgling up in your kitchen or sink drains, then you might have several problems. The system might have gotten hit with a lot of water at once, but there might also be a blocked pipe. This is a very common reason for people to call for a drain cleaning service.
3. Rotten Egg Odor
Smelling something like rotten eggs doesn’t always mean the system is failing. If your toilet’s seal has dried out, that might make the smell emanate. Check your exposed fixtures for issues, and test your lines for leaks with a smoke test.
4. Spongy Green Grass
If grass right over your septic is tying, that’s not always a bad thing. Grass can get more easily parched there due to less soil dept. However, if the grass there is far healthier than the rest of your yard, then you might have an issue. Liquid wastewater might be leaking and working as fertilizer. An annual system inspection and pumping in three-, four-, or five-year intervals should prevent or catch issues related to this.
5. Water Pooling Outside
Excess rainfall or a high water table might get your drain field saturated to the point that your septic tank won’t drain properly. If you think that heavy rains might be making your yard have a series of little lakes, then just use your septic system less for a while. However, if that doesn’t remove the standing water or even put a dent in it, then it might be time to consult a plumbing professional. Your rainwater runoff should be directed away from your designated drain field if you can.
6. Shrubs and Trees are Close to Your Septic System
Wanting to have nice landscaping is only natural, but tree roots probe for water sources. That includes condensation and leaky pipes. If they find water and good sources of nourishment, they can crack open septic tank pipes. Before you plant anything, figure out its maximum root radius at maturity and keep it that distance from your septic system.
Why It Matters
A failing septic system runs the risk of contaminating not only your own well water but also waterbodies that are close to your property. Human diseases can result, so your family and your neighbors might fall ill from this. Left alone long enough, this situation can even impact local wildlife and recreational waters.