Identifying and Preventing Septic System Problems

Troubleshooting your home septic system can be a challenge, especially if you have little or no plumbing experience. Understanding the signs of imminent septic system failure can allow you to act before the situation worsens and drastic measures are required to remediate your tank and drain field. In some cases, the problem may be as simple as a clogged or broken pipe and can be repaired with relative ease. Other septic issues may require pumping of the septic tank or increasing the efficiency of the decomposing agents present in the septic system.

Overflow problems
Standing water around the septic tank area or drain field can be caused by excessive rain, improper drainage or overtaxed, clogged or broken elements in the system. Generally categorized as overflow problems, these issues also encompass wastewater backups into the home plumbing fixtures as well as failure to drain completely or slow drainage problems within the home. The source of these septic system problems can often be identified by determining where the water is coming from; water over the septic tank area typically indicates that the tank is overloaded and requires pumping. In some cases, however, standing water may be caused by a broken or blocked distribution box that is preventing the flow of water to the drain field area. Checking pipes and other easily repaired items can help you identify and rule out various possible causes for overflow problems.

Septic tank issues
Pumping your septic tank can provide a temporary solution for overloaded systems. However, this typically does not resolve the underlying problem and may end up costing you a significant amount of money if the process must be repeated frequently. The distribution box is a frequent culprit in cases where the tank persistently overflows due to its role in transferring excess water to the drain field area for further purification and remediation. Inefficient bacterial processes inside the septic tank may also be to blame in some cases. One long-term solution is the conversion of your existing septic tank from an anaerobic environment to a healthier, more efficient aerobic wastewater treatment system.

The role of bacteria
Most traditional septic systems contain large quantities of anaerobic bacteria that are well suited to survival in a dark and airless environment. These bacteria feed upon and process the waste and particulate matter that enters the septic system. However, anaerobic bacteria are far less efficient in this task than their aerobic counterparts. By installing and maintaining an aerobic septic system, you can often improve the efficiency of your existing septic tank arrangement and improve its overall functioning capacity.

Understanding the warning signs of septic system failure can help you determine the right course of treatment for these serious problems. Implementing an aerobic septic tank system can be the first step in maintaining your septic system for increased efficiency now and over the long run.

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