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What Are The Common Problems with Septic Tanks & How To Fix Them

Updated: 2 hours ago

Septic tanks are an essential part of many households and commercial properties. They treat and dispose of wastewater, so it's crucial to keep them in good working condition. 

However, like any other system, septic tanks can experience problems that can disrupt their functioning. The most common problems with septic tanks include collapsed baffles, damaged drip pipes, varied hydrostatic pressure, slow drains, green growth, and much more. The factors that trigger these and other septic tank issues are mostly poor installation or compromised maintenance. 

In this article, we'll discuss some of the most common septic tank problems and solutions. In addition, we will also learn what role regular maintenance plays in preventing the occurrences of common septic tank problems. 

Common Septic Tank Problems 

Common Septic Tank Problems 

Damaged Dip Pipes

The dip pipe is responsible for carrying waste from the toilet to the septic tank. If it becomes damaged or clogged, it can lead to backups and overflows. Regular inspections can help catch any issues with the dip pipes before they become major problems.

Collapsed Baffle 

The baffle is a component that helps to separate solid waste from liquid in your septic tank. Over time, it can become damaged or collapsed due to age, tree roots, or excessive use of the system. This can lead to clogs and backups in your plumbing. Regular maintenance and inspections can help catch any issues with the baffle before they become major problems.

Inadequate Drain Field

The drain field plays a crucial role in filtering and treating wastewater before it enters the soil. If the drain field is too small or improperly designed, it can result in a backup. It is important to have a professional assess and design your drain field to ensure it is adequate for your household's needs.

Foul Odors 

If you notice a strong, unpleasant odor coming from your drains or septic tank area, it could be a sign of a problem. This could indicate that the system is not functioning properly and may need servicing. It's important to address this issue quickly as the smell can become more intense and difficult to get rid of.

Tree Root Infiltration

Trees and shrubs have strong roots that can infiltrate and damage septic systems. As these roots grow, they can penetrate the pipes, cause blockages, or even break them completely. This can lead to costly repairs and even a full replacement of the septic system.


Over time, solids and other debris can accumulate in the septic tank and cause clogs. This can lead to slow-draining sinks and toilets, foul odors, and even backups into your home or property. 

Clogs are often caused by flushing non-biodegradable items down the toilet or pouring grease and oil down the sink.

Varied Hydro Static Pressure 

Changes in the water table or heavy rainfall can affect the hydrostatic pressure in your septic system. This can put a strain on the pipes and cause them to crack or break, leading to leaks and other issues.

Leach Field Issues

The leach field is a crucial component of a septic system. It filters and disperses the liquid waste from the tank into the surrounding soil. If this area becomes clogged or damaged, it can result in sewage backup and other problems.

Vehicle Damage To Your Septic Tank 

While it may seem unlikely, heavy vehicles such as trucks or construction equipment driving over your septic tank can cause damage. This can potentially lead to cracks or leaks in the tank, which can be costly to repair. It's important to know where your septic tank is located and avoid any heavy traffic over it.

How Do You Diagnose Septic Problems?

How Do You Diagnose Septic Problems

Septic problems can be difficult to diagnose, as they may not show obvious signs until they become severe. However, there are a few warning signs that may indicate a problem with your septic system. 

One of the first signs that there may be an issue with your septic system is slow-draining sinks, toilets, or showers. This can indicate a clog in your pipes or a full septic tank. A soggy area in your yard above where the septic system is located may indicate a leak in the system. This can also lead to unpleasant odors from septic tanks and potential health hazards. 

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to address the issue as soon as possible.

What Is The Most Common Cause Of Septic System Failure?

Common Cause of Septic System Failure

The most common cause of septic system failure is a lack of routine maintenance and neglect. Failure to regularly pump the tank, inspect for any issues, and properly dispose of waste can lead to clogs, backups, and costly repairs or replacements. It's important to address any issues as soon as possible to prevent larger problems down the line.

How To Treat Problems With A Septic Tank? 

Treat Problems With A Septic Tank

If you have identified a problem with your septic tank, it is important to take immediate action to prevent further damage and costs. Here are some steps you can take to treat problems with a septic tank:

  • Call a Professional: The first step in treating any issue with your septic tank is to call a professional septic tank contractor. An experienced plumber or septic specialist will be able to properly diagnose the problem and provide the appropriate solution.

  • Pumping the Tank: If your septic tank is overflowing or has high water levels, pumping out the septic tank for the excess waste may be necessary. This will help alleviate pressure on the system and allow it to function properly again.

  • Bacteria Treatment: In some cases, septic bacteria tank treatment may be recommended to help restore balance in the septic tank and improve its functionality

  • Regular Maintenance: Prevention is key to maintaining a healthy septic system. Scheduling regular maintenance and inspections with a professional can help catch potential issues before they become major problems. In addition, you can schedule periodic septic tank repairs to minimize the cost of maintenance. 

Failed Septic System Cost

Failed Septic System Cost

A failed septic system can cost upwards of $15,000 to repair or replace. Therefore, it is crucial to address any issues as soon as possible.


Understanding the common problems associated with septic tanks and their available solutions is crucial for maintaining a healthy and efficient wastewater management system.

From issues like clogging and odors to backups and leaks, being aware of these challenges empowers homeowners to take proactive measures and seek professional assistance when needed.

For expert septic tank maintenance, inspection, or installation services, a professional septic system company can provide the necessary expertise and solutions for your specific needs. To ensure the optimal functioning of your septic system, contact Barnes Sewer & Septic at (765) 584-7295.

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