Septic Info Troubleshooting Septic Systems
Septic system failure is on the rise. Modern homes have multiple bathrooms, water softening systems and high water use. Toilets are generally flushed at every use and we often use more than one towel per shower or bath. All of these factors contribute to high water load and huge amounts of contaminants entering the septic system.
Often, homeowners new to septic systems are not informed about their limitations. Using water in the same way you would a city sewer system is problematic and can lead to blockages, back-ups and system failure.
Here are some solutions to common septic problems:
Lint plugs the pores of the drain field
Fine solids from washing machines (lint) and garbage disposals do not have the mass to settle in the septic tank. Instead, they remain suspended until reaching the drain field where they plug the pores of the soil bed.
- Solution: Install a Lint LUV-R filter for the washing machine and minimize use of garbage disposals.
The drain field fails and becomes a dead pool of water when it gets plugged and effluent can no longer migrate through the soil. In most cases, failures occur when solids that were supposed to remain in the tank enter the field.
- Solution: Learn how your septic system functions and how to properly use and protect it. Limit the amount of water used to prevent system overload. Install a Lint LUV-R washing machine filter to screen out synthetic fibers that cannot be broken down by bacteria.
Putting more water down the drain than the system can handle will result in hydraulic overload. Periods of heavy water use do not allow solids to settle in the tank, causing them to be flushed out into the drain field, which can lead to system failure.
- Solution: Install water saving appliances and practice water conservation. Leaking toilet valves are a major culprit – check for leaks regularly and repair any promptly. Spread out water usage so that you are not doing multiple loads of laundry, running the dishwasher and showering at the same time.
Many household chemicals and cleaners are harmful to septic system bacteria. If your septic bacteria die, the system will stop its treatment process and solids will no longer be broken down.
- Solution: Use chemicals sparingly. Toilet bowl cleaners are very hard on septic bacteria. Look for septic- or eco-friendly alternatives.
If baffles are not properly fitted, or if they fall off, solids can pass out into the drain field threatening the health and functioning of your system.
- Solution: Replace exit baffles with effluent filters. These cleanable filters prevent larger solids from reaching the drain field.
To learn more about septic care visit: ”Before You Construct an On-site Sewage System: Facts a Homeowner Should Know” (1 MB) & ”Homeowners Guide to Septic Systems: Your Septic System Is Your Responsibility” (19MB)