Septic tanks are an integral part of rural life for many. They are usually out of sight, but they can be hard to see. Then, something goes wrong and your septic tank bursts. There’s then a problem, and it can be a very messy situation. Then there’s the question of how to fix it. Here are some steps to take if your septic tank backs up.

How a Septic Tank Works

Understanding how a tank works is the first step in addressing a septic issue. A septic system is made up of three components:

  1. Your toilet, sink, and tub have lines or pipes that carry waste out to the tank.
  2. This is a holding tank that functions as a bacterial chamber and breaks down solids.
  3. The disposal field distributes liquids into the ground. Septic backup can be caused by a blockage or obstruction of any one of these sections.

Types of septic tanks

There are three types of septic tanks materials. Concrete, fiberglass and polycarbonate are the main types. The difference lies in their price ranges and in their durability or strength. They all do the same job, separating liquid from solids and holding waste. However, their materials don’t have any bearing on back-up.

The type of septic system you have is what makes a difference to septic tank backups. There are two types of septic systems. The first is very simple. It works by gravity draining your waste to the tank. The liquid is then drained out by gravity when the tank reaches its maximum capacity.

Because it is pressurized, the second septic system can be more complicated. The main tank is where waste is taken to by gravity. Solids then separate from water and settle at the bottom. The liquid that has accumulated is gravity fed to a smaller tank further downstream. This pump, however, presses the liquid to the top and blows it out evenly over the drain field.

How to Fix a Septic Tank

You now know the basics of septic systems and which type you have. Now you can diagnose the problem and follow these steps to fix it.

  1. Remove the blockage. Open the tank lid to check the contents. If the tank level is too low, it could indicate that there is an upstream obstruction between your house and the tank. You will have a downstream problem if the tank is full.
  2. Look for an interruption in power or a stuck floating switch. This will usually get your system back up and running.
  3. Get help from a professional to remove the blockage externally. This includes using cameras to pinpoint the cause and place, as well as augers and augers to get rid of the obstruction.

Septic Tank Backup Prevention

Preventing a septic tank backup is the most important thing you can do. These are some prevention tips:

  • Make sure that your septic tank remains biologically active. Do not use soaps or cleaners that drain into the tank.
  • Do not put trash or other foreign objects in the system. Raw food scraps, on the other hand, are biologically active. Human waste is bioactive by nature. Garburators can be terrible offenders.
  • Do not plant trees near your septic line. Tree roots can be dangerous as they seek water and nutrients from the sewer lines. They can puncture or block pipes quickly.
  • Do NOT run heavy machinery on sewer lines. Lines can be easily crushed and destroyed.

It’s possible to let your septic tank run indefinitely without any maintenance by being proactive. It’s meant to do that.


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