Septic System 101: Potential Problems

Familiar OutdoorsA septic system is a basic system for waste removal in the home, but its simplicity doesn’t mean there is an easy fix when problems occur. In fact, if you are a homeowner with a septic system, you’ll want to use exceptional care to avoid the following potential problems associated with septic systems. By keeping some useful tips in mind, you can extend the longevity of your system and help ward away major problems with expensive price tags.


You should avoid flushing various chemicals down your toilet that can harm the anaerobic environment in your septic tank. These bacteria are essential for breaking down waste into liquid that can then be drained from the tank. When chemicals reduce these good bacteria, you wind up with sludge that can fill your tank and possibly drain into your leach field where it can clog pipes its pipes. Silver nitrate, for example, can kill the whole bacteria colony. Products with bleach or lye and also significantly reduce the good bacteria in the tank.

Cooking Oils

Grease and cooking oils should not be introduced to the septic system. These liquids may block up the systems inlet drains. Moreover, they do not easily degrade and can make the periodic draining of the septic tank difficult.

Non-Biodegradable Materials

It’s important to avoid dumping anything down the toilet that is not biodegradable. Items like cigarette butts, baby wipes, cotton balls, or sanitary napkins will cause clogs in your system. Problems like this can be expensive to fix. Be sure each member of the household understands the importance of respecting the septic system’s maintenance needs and requirements.

Trees and Shrubs

Trees and shrubs can wreak havoc with any sewage system. The roots of these plants seek out water sources. For this reason, it’s best to avoid planting trees or shrubs anywhere near your leach field where the roots could cause problems for the buried pipes.

Garbage Disposal

If you use a garbage disposal in association with your septic system, you may definitely have to have your tank maintained more frequently or the food could cause clogs and drainage problems that will lead to costly repairs. In fact, you might be reducing the longevity of your drainage system by using a garbage disposal. Consider composting food items for the garden and landscape instead.

Too Much Water

Introducing too much water into the septic system can be harmful for the system and lead to problems. For instance, if you do multiple loads of wash in one day, you could overwhelm the tank. The tank could release effluent that is not adequately decomposed. This matter could then clog the pipes of the leach field. It’s best not to make a practice of doing all your wash in a single day or using the washing machine and dishwasher at the same time.

Keep these potential problems in mind so you can more effectively ward them away. If you do experience a problem, be sure to contact your professional septic system service provider to apply the fix you need.

Atlanta GA Septic Tank Repair

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