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What Happens When You Neglect Your Septic Tank

Septic Tank Riser Cover
While many homes are connected to the city sewer system to eliminate waste, some homeowners rely on septic tanks and systems to store and process the waste. As long as you know how to properly care for and use your septic tank, it should get the job done. But without proper maintenance, your system can develop many problems.
Check out these possible side effects of not caring for your septic system.
Poor Drainage Inside the Home
Poor drainage inside the home can be caused when the system is full or clogged, but it can also occur when the drain field isn't working properly. The drain field is simply an area where contaminates are pulled from the wastewater. If there is a drainage problem, you'll notice when you use the drains inside the home.
One easy test is to flush your toilet. If your toilet suddenly doesn't have as much power or it flushes slowly, there may be a problem with the septic tank. If the rest of your drains (sinks, tubs, etc.) are also draining slowly, this can also indicate an issue.
Sewage Backup Into the Home
In other cases, you may actually have sewage backing up into the home. This may begin as just an unpleasant odor coming from the drains, and you'll also probably notice slow drains before the sewage begins to backup. Other signs to look for include gurgling noises from the drains and pooling water around basement floor drains.
In some cases, sewage backup is caused by a full system or clogs from flushing certain items or chemicals. However, a lot of times sewage backup is caused by tree roots growing into pipes. This is more common if the pipes are also leaking water, which attracts thirsty tree roots. If this is the case, you'll have to have the system repaired or replaced by a professional.
Overflowing Septic Tank
If you really neglect your septic tank, be prepared for it to overflow. When a septic tank isn't properly maintained, it can fail, allowing the septic system to overflow with waste. This can also happen if you fail to empty the tank when needed.
One of the first indications you have a problem may actually not be negative. The overflowing sewage works as fertilizer to make the grass around your tank lush and green. However, as the system continues to leak, you may notice an unpleasant odor and pooling, foul water on the ground above the tank.
Contaminated Groundwater
While less common, you can potentially contaminate groundwater if you neglect your septic system. This situation can be more common when a slow leak develops because you may not notice the signs until it's too late. As the system continues to leak, the waste moves further down, and if it reaches groundwater, it can contaminate it.
If you have a well on your property, and you use this groundwater for drinking, this puts you and your entire family at risk of disease from contaminated drinking water. If you suspect your water is contaminated, don't drink it, and have it tested immediately.
In severe cases, the contaminated groundwater can also reach other bodies of water, such as surface lakes. As a result, other people or animals may be affected by your waste.
Septic systems are useful for many people who can't use the city sewer system. With proper maintenance and care, your septic tank should continue to work well for years. However, ignoring your septic tank will only lead to expensive and disgusting complications. For more information about septic tank maintenance and repair, contact us at The Nibbler Company today.