top of page

What Are The Common Aerobic System Problems And Its Solution

Aerobic systems are a popular choice for wastewater treatment in residential and commercial settings. They use oxygen to break down organic matter, making them efficient and environmentally friendly.

However, as with any system, there can be issues that arise over time. In this article, we will discuss some of the common problems that can occur in aerobic systems and their solutions.

What is an Aerobic Septic System?

What is an Aerobic Septic System?

Before we explore the problems and solutions, let's first understand what an aerobic septic system is. An aerobic system is a type of wastewater treatment system that uses oxygen to break down organic matter. 

It consists of a tank where the wastewater is initially collected, followed by a second tank where bacteria use oxygen to digest the waste. This process produces less sludge and has a higher treatment efficiency compared to traditional anaerobic systems.

What are the Common Septic System Problems?

What are the Common Septic System Problems?


One of the most common problems with aerobic septic systems is clogging. This can occur due to a buildup of solid waste in the system or if the pump gets clogged with debris. 

Clogging can lead to backups and overflows, causing unpleasant smells and potential health hazards.

Solution: To prevent clogs, it's essential to have your system regularly inspected and pumped every 2-3 years. Also, avoid flushing non-biodegradable items such as paper towels, wipes, or feminine hygiene products down the toilet.

Failure of the Air Compressor

The air compressor is a crucial component of an aerobic system as it supplies oxygen to the bacteria for waste digestion. If it fails, the bacteria will die off, and the system will no longer function effectively.

Solution: Regular maintenance of the air compressor is necessary to ensure its proper functioning. If you notice any strange noises or decreased airflow, it's essential to have a professional inspect and repair the compressor immediately.

Tree Roots Growth

Tree roots can grow into aerobic septic systems, causing damage to pipes and even clogging them completely. This issue is more common in older systems with clay or cast iron pipes. 

Tree roots can cause damage to your septic system if they grow too close to your drain field or pipes resulting in blockage or clogging.

Solution: Plant trees away from your septic system and regularly check for any root growth. If you notice roots getting too close, have them removed by a professional landscaper.

The Spray Head not Working 

You might have noticed the aerobic septic system sprinklers not coming on, it might be due to the system’s spray head not working. 

If the spray head on your septic system is not working properly, it can lead to clogs and backups. It is also one of the common aerobic septic system problems. 

Solution:  Check the spray head regularly for any clogs or debris and clean it out if necessary. If the problem persists, contact a professional to repair or replace the spray head.

Submersible Pump Issues

If your septic system has a submersible pump, it is important to keep an eye on its performance. A malfunctioning pump can lead to backups and overflows. It is mostly caused due to bad wiring and bad float. 

Solution: Have the pump inspected regularly and replace it if necessary. It is also recommended to have a backup pump installed in case of emergencies.

Power Outages 

Aerobic septic systems rely on electricity to pump and aerate waste within the tank. During power outages, the system can back up, leading to potential backups and malfunctions.

Solution: Installing a backup generator can help prevent issues during power outages. It's also essential to conserve water usage during these times to avoid overloading the system.

Clogged Chlorinator

The aerobic septic system is built to manage water wastage by systematically killing the bacteria and then moving the anaerobically treated water to the home sprinkler for reuse. 

Before it happens, the water is also chlorinated to make it clean and germ-free. This chlorinator works for a year or more but could end up clogging due to debris buildup. An aerobic septic system alarm going off might be indicative of the clogged-up chlorinator.

Solution: Regularly check and clean the chlorinator to prevent clogs. If you notice any damage, contact a professional to repair or replace it. This will ensure that your septic system is consistently providing safe and healthy wastewater treatment.

Aerobic System OverFlowing

Aerobic system overflowing is one other issue with such systems. It happens if the debris or sludge has built up leading to blocked sewer pipelines or drainfields. It can also result in poor maintenance and excessive usage of water. 

Solution: Regularly monitor your water usage and avoid excessive use. Also, make sure to regularly maintain your aerobic system by scheduling regular inspections and pumping as needed. If the problem persists, contact a professional for further assistance.

How do you Reset an Aerobic Septic System?

How do you Reset an Aerobic Septic System?

If you are experiencing issues with your aerobic septic system, such as septic tank foul odors or backups, it may be necessary to reset the system.

Here are the steps to follow for resetting an aerobic septic system:

  • Turn off the power: The first step in resetting an aerobic septic system is to turn off the power supply to the aerator and any other components of the system.

  • Access the control panel: Locate the control panel for your aerobic septic system. This is typically located near your house, above ground level.

  • Reset the alarm: If there has been an alarm triggered on your control panel, press the reset button to silence it. This will allow you to proceed with resetting the system.

  • Check the pump: It is important to check the pump for any clogs or damage before proceeding with resetting the system. Clean or replace the pump if necessary.

  • Reset the timer: The timer on your aerobic septic system controls when and how long the system operates, so it may need to be reset if there has been a power outage or other issues. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for resetting the timer.

  • Turn on the power supply: Once all components have been checked and reset, turn on the power supply to your aerobic septic system.

  • Monitor for changes: After resetting your aerobic septic system, monitor its operation closely for any changes or irregularities. If you notice any issues, contact a professional septic system maintenance service for further assistance.

How Often Should An Aerobic Septic System Be Pumped?

How Often Should An Aerobic Septic System Be Pumped?

An aerobic septic system should be pumped every 3-5 years, depending on the size of your household and usage. However, if you notice any signs of a full tank or slow draining, it's best to have it pumped immediately. Regular septic tank pumping will help prevent clogs and maintain the efficiency of your system.

How Long Do Aerobic Septic Systems Last?

How Long Do Aerobic Septic Systems Last?

Aerobic septic systems can last for up to 20-30 years with proper maintenance and care. However, this lifespan can vary depending on factors such as the quality of the system, usage habits, and environmental conditions.

Regularly scheduled maintenance is crucial for extending the life of your aerobic septic system. Inspecting and pumping the tank every few years will help prevent any major damage or costly repairs in the long run.


Addressing common aerobic septic system problems is crucial for maintaining a healthy and functional septic system. From effluent pump issues to septic tank baffle problems, timely and effective solutions are essential to avoid disruptions and ensure environmental safety. 

It's important to work with experienced professionals who can provide reliable services and expertise in resolving these issues. 

Barnes Sewer & Septic stands out as a reliable and experienced partner, offering comprehensive solutions to help you maintain your septic system. Contact the septic crew at (765) 584-7295 for top-quality portable restroom rentals and products.

1,245 views0 comments


bottom of page