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What are some common problems with a septic tank?

A:

Quick Answer

Common problems with a septic tank are sludge in the drain field and holes, excess water in the drain field, inability of the tank to process solids, compaction of the soil over the septic tank, and plants growing near the septic tank location. Accumulation of non-biodegradable products inside the septic tank and growth of algae in it are other problems.

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Full Answer

Sludge that enters the drain field blocks the drain holes, which can lead to septic tank contents backing up in the home. This issue is resolved by pumping out the tank regularly.

Water entering the drain field in large quantities within a short span of time leads to saturation of the field with waste water. If this water is allowed to accumulate, it can cause backing up in the pipe fixtures. Also, the extra water prevents the solid matter from being processed, and the solid matter can then clog the distribution pipes.

Another reason for the inability of the septic tank to process solid waste is the addition of vinyl, paper and non-biodegradable products to the tank. These materials occupy tank space, cause the water to fill up quickly, and push the floating solid matter into the distribution pipes.

Compaction of soil over the tank occurs when heavy vehicles and equipment are placed on it. Compacted soil causes damage to the components of the septic system and does not allow the drain field to disperse effluents easily.

Phosphates present in detergents introduced in the septic tank promote growth of algae that clog the distribution system. Roots of plants growing near the tank can damage the tank, its pipes and the drain field.

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