A failed septic system is one of the most unpleasant experiences for a homeowner. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell if your septic tank is failing until your home is hit with an overwhelming stink and some serious toilet problems. It's best to catch the septic failure before that happens. These signs provide valuable clues - and can let you know that it's time to call a professional.
1. Toilet Draining Problems
If your septic system is clogged or struggling, one of the first signs is a problem with toilet flushing. The water will suddenly flush much more slowly, and it may take multiple flushes to remove wastewater where once it took only one or two. If nothing else has changed, then the problem is probably your septic system. It sounds gross, but sometimes a bit of blackish sewage may even back up out of the drain. Other drains in your house will also be affected, like your shower and sink, but the toilet will probably be the most noticeable and reliable sign.
2. Sewer Gas Around the Drainage Area
Before a failed septic system causes serious odor problems, there is usually a pungent buildup. This typically occurs in the soil around the septic tank and drainage field (a.k.a. leach field), where sewage leaks out into the soil. If you notice a smell like human waste or decomposition in this area, your system has probably backed up or sprung a leak.
3. Healthy Plant Growth
This may seem odd, but it's a very important clue: Septic system fields tend to stay pretty arid and drainage areas are usually covered with gravel or rock. If you notice lush grass growing in these areas, it's time to call up a contractor. Leaking wastewater will dissolve into nitrates and phosphates, which you may recognize as key fertilizer ingredients. This causes a quick uptick in surrounding plant growth, usually in odd patches.
If your septic tank/drain field area is overgrown with trees and shrubs, this could be a cause for worry, as roots may reach down and damage your system.
4. A Poor Septic Tank Inspection
Ideally, you should have your septic tank inspected every three to five years. There are small ports that an inspector can quickly dig down to measure slime, sludge, connections and other important factors. A poor inspection means it's time for repairs, cleaning, or a good old-fashioned septic tank pump before you end up with a failed septic system.
5. Dangerous Well Water
Septic systems and water wells often occur together, because both are necessary away from a city system of sewage and water. Your well can provide valuable insight to the health of your septic system, too. You should have your well water regularly tested to ensure it's healthy. If contamination or algae suddenly show up with a vengeance, your well is trying to tell you that something has gone wrong with the septic system.
For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today!