Septic Tank Backup: 7 Common Signs & Solutions

Septic tank backup is a situation most homeowners will want to avoid at all costs.

However, the success of curtailing this possibility relies heavily on information. This article is all about providing you with such information.

Here, we’ll be discussing septic tank backup as well as signs and solutions.

Septic tank backups don’t happen in a vacuum. In other words, this problem is mostly due to malfunction often caused by sub-par conditions. This results in waste returning through toilets and sinks etc.

About Septic Tank Backup

A septic tank backup mostly arises when a drain field is flooded. This could be due to rainfall among other things.

Apart from a flooded drain field, a backup may occur when a septic tank gets cracked. Tree roots further widen such cracks, thus leading to an influx of water into the tank.

This causes the tank to fill up faster than usual. Too much water in the tank overloads the drain field and leads to back pressure which causes backups.

Having explained what is, it’s necessary to consider the common signs of a septic tank backup. There are several signs to look out for.

Signs Of A Septic Tank Backup

When septic tank backup occurs, it leaves behind a plethora of signs you can easily pinpoint if you know what to look out for. These can be taken as warning signs needing urgent action.

Signs include awful odors, sewage backup, lush growth of algae or weeds, and contamination of water sources such as wells.

Multiple drains running slowly, wastewater seepage, and standing groundwater.

Let’s get into the finer details of these symptoms for better understanding, shall we?

  • Awful Odors

When you begin to perceive septic tank odors within your home, it could be a strong sign of a backup. Hydrogen sulfide which is part of the gases released from the breakdown of waste smells like a rotten egg.

This makes your surroundings very unpleasant. You’ll need to find solutions by having the problem fixed.

  • Sewage Backup

It’s much better to deal with a slow-moving or clogged drain than experiencing sewage backup. Such backups are gross and leave all sorts of mess around.

Plus, the health risks are significantly higher when faced with sewage backups.

Effluent comes up your drain pipes thus ending up in your toilet bowl, sinks, and bathtub. It’s no secret that such effluent contains harmful bacteria that could result in illnesses.

All drains and toilets cannot be used until the issue is fully resolved.

  • Lush Growth of Algae and/or Weed

One of the conditions caused by a septic tank backup is the lush growth of vegetation around the septic tank area.

Also, an increased presence of algae is seen in water bodies or ponds. In the case of the latter, heavy rainfall may lead to a flooded drain field.

With nowhere to go (by way of absorption) some of the effluent coming from the septic tank gets washed away into depressions or slopes. There may be ponds or rives around such areas.

When this happens, the effluent which is rich in nitrates encourages the growth of algae. A look around water bodies may reveal this situation.

Upon noticing this, it’s necessary to take urgent steps to have the problem fixed. Fixing the problem on time makes for a more efficient septic tank and safer surroundings.

  • Contamination of Water Sources

Wells are among water sources that may get contaminated during a septic backup.

When a septic tank gets flooded, part of the effluent gets washed towards wells. This is even more likely when the well is situated around a depression.

However, there’s no way of finding out without testing. So, a test for nitrate among other contaminants like fecal coliform bacteria, etc must be carried out.

When water tests positive for these, you’ll be able to point to its remote cause; septic tank backup.

  • Multiple Drains Running Slowly

Drainage systems in homes are likely to develop faults at some point. This could be due to clogs or a much complex problem such as septic tank backups.

So, how does one know if a slow drain is due to a clog or as a result of septic tank backup?

A clear distinction between the two can be established when multiple drains are seen to be running slowly. This situation points to a much bigger problem than a clog. All drains cannot automatically run slow at the same time.

The possibility of a septic tank backup is greatly increased.

You’ll need to call your plumber to verify what the exact problem is.

  • Wastewater Seepage

Sometimes, water seepage appears around your septic system.

This is seen in water seeping from the ground which could be smelly (not always having an odor).

  • Standing Ground Water

Noticing standing groundwater after it rains isn’t something new.

However, when this appears in the absence of rain, you may be faced with a much complex situation in the form of a septic backup.

Solutions For Septic Tank Backup

So far, we’ve dwelt on the signs pointing to septic tank backup issues.

Now, the focus is on finding lasting solutions to the problem. The fixes to this problem are sometimes as simple as using certain toiletries over others.

Most are preventive actions that go a long way to keep your septic tank in optimal working condition.

For example, you can improve your septic system by enhancing the biological condition.

One of the ways to do this includes the avoidance of antibacterial cleaners and soaps that get into the tank.

You may have to give a call to a reputable septic company to come to take a look at the situation.

Limit the use of your garbage disposal system. This reduces what goes into your septic tank. It’s also necessary to adopt water conservation practices. Install water-efficient toilets and appliances.

Only run your dishwasher and washing machines at full loads.

Septic tank backups are real problems to homeowners. Having to fix such will require knowing the signs and how to go about addressing them. All this should be possible for you if you’ve read to this point.

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