Septic tank problems can often be a nightmare. Not only do you have to deal with your drain field potentially backing up into your lawn, but many problems indicate a serious underlying issue with your tank or with the capacity of the system. These major problems often require partial or complete replacement of the system, which will require septic system repairs that can easily run into four figures. Luckily, not all problems with septic systems are quite so disastrous. These three common septic issues can be easily fixed without costing you an arm and a leg.
Septic systems can get clogged just like any other pipe in your home. The simplest clogs to fix are located inside the house, but clogs in the sewer lines leading to the septic tank can also be fixed. Serious clogs usually result in similar symptoms to clogged laterals in homes that use a city sewer. If you notice foul odors from any of your drains, it's likely that you have a clog somewhere deeper in the system. As with city sewer clogs, the problem is usually most pronounced at drains that are on lower levels, but as the clog worsens the problem will likely become evident throughout the house.
Drain Field Blockages
A more serious type of clog can occur in the drain field. The pipes in your drain field are designed to carry liquid from the septic tank and release it to be safely filtered away. In order to perform this job, solids and grease must remain in the septic tank. If the tank's solids level becomes too high, however, then solids can potentially make their way into the drain field along with the liquid effluent. The drain pipes aren't designed to carry solids, so this can quickly cause a blockage. Once the underlying cause has been repaired, however, the drain field lines can be snaked or otherwise cleared to return them to their normal operation.
Surprisingly, this problem isn't about too many bacteria existing in your septic tank, but rather too few. Your septic tank relies on a population of bacteria to help break down the solid waste and keep its levels under control. Under normal circumstances, this bacterial population is self-sustaining and does not require any additional help to perform its function. Flushing certain chemicals through your septic system can kill off your bacterial helpers, however, ultimately leading to a much more rapid build-up of solids in the tank. This can be a difficult problem to diagnose, but it can usually be solved by pumping the tank and, in some cases, using bacterial primers to restore your tank fauna.
Many homeowners choose to ignore septic problems for too long because they fear that they cannot be repaired or that a replacement will be much too expensive. Many septic issues can be repaired, however, and waiting to deal with the problem can cause it to become much worse over time. Contacting a septic tank professional as soon as you notice any issues with your system is the best way to cheaply fix the problem and get your septic system working properly again.