6 Signs of Problems With Your Septic Systems [With Causes]

Your septic system disposes of the wastewater from the shower, sink, and your toilet. The sewage network is made of a septic tank and drainfield disposal facilities. An inlet pipe couples with your home’s plumbing system, while an outlet line connects the tank with the drainfield’s distribution box.

Your wastewater enters the drainfield pipes and goes into the gravel bed, then the soil soaks all the material. Your septic system accounts for plenty of problems and even the smallest of signs for an error is crucial.

To replace a septic tank costs $7500 on average and your best bet is to prevent any problems from occurring in the first place. Better take care of your drainage network and maintain your sewage system to avoid such an overtime investment. 

Statistics show that 20% of all properties in the United States use septic systems. When faulty, they release methane and fecal organisms, which are dangerous for any living creature.

Signs of Problems in Your Septic System

These are the 6 most common symptoms that your septic system fails. Call a reliable plumber if you notice any of the following issues on your property. The expert follows a code to inspect your plumbing network and finds the root of the problem.

  1. Gurgling sounds in your sink, toilet and pipes show that your septic tank has an underlying problem. Maybe there is a clog in your inlet line because of a faulty drainfield.
  2. Your sink or bathroom drains take forever to empty out if there is a blockage in the waste line between your house and the septic tank.
  3. The above often goes with water that backs up through your plumbing fixtures. It’s a messy sight to see when the wastewater returns through the toilet and your kitchen drain.
  4. Sewage water collects on the surface above your leach field when the tank overfills. This also happens when excess seals the gravel pit. A large amount of bacteria forms a “biomat” that clogs your distribution box and drainfield pipes.
  5. This isn’t the type of pond you’ll enjoy bathing in.
  6. When your drainfield cannot collect more wastewater because of an obstruction, the grass above gets the saturated bright green colour.
  7. A bad odour of rotten eggs and sewage often comes with the rest of the signs. The dirty water that gathers in your plumbing system has an unpleasant smell that reminds of a shabby public toilet.

To avoid acute costs, It’s important to contact an expert if you think that your septic network fails.

Nothing good comes from a water source full of sewage waste.

Reasons for Failing Septic Systems

There are many reasons your septic system fails, and it’s best to know how these impose a risk for your property. 

There are certain maintenance rules that you must follow to prevent any damage to your home. To that, your insurance won’t cover as much as you’d like, so it’s best to know the culprit behind your sewage problems. 

It’s pretty normal to drop a thing or two in the toilet. The issue arises when you flush the item down your sewage pipe. Whether it’s a small toy or a smartphone, to get it out costs both time and money.

The list of items is long, from baby wipes to cigarettes, all these clog your pipes and damage your septic system. Not to mention the excessive cooking oil that you’ve just poured down the drain. 

Even your toilet paper accumulates for issues unless it has a “septic safe” label. Overall, try to flush nothing more than human waste and toilet paper, if the label allows for it.

9 Common Causes for Septic System Failure and How to Avert Them. 

  1. There is a clog in the inlet pipe that connects your house’s plumbing system to the septic tank. Your drains empty out at a slow pace when this tube is full of debris or congealed fat. A professional plumber can unclog the line with a drain snake and inspect your pipes for a little to no cost.
  2. A blockage in your inlet baffle occurs when foreign objects get into your drainage system. This part of your septic system slows down the water and assures that your tank operates as intended. Try to access your inlet baffle opening and remove any debris with a pole. Experienced contractors can do the job and prevent the risk of damages.
  3. When there’s a clog in your outlet baffle, the wastewater backs up through your plumbing network and re-enters your home. Sometimes, sewage waste can even form a small pond above your septic tank. A pro empties the tank and investigates for errors to avoid damages. Your best bet is to schedule an annual inspection.
  4. If there’s excessive waste buildup, your drainfield fails and pollutes the soil and nearby water sources. The telltale signs are standing waters and saturated areas above your tank and septic gravel bed. One characteristic of a faulty drainfield is a bad scent.This problem occurs when the system operates the wrong way or it’s used for a long time. A drainfield stores a certain quantity of waste before it gets obsolete.
  5. In some cases, the poor drainage of your septic system accumulates for many problems. A dense soil and strong clay material cannot absorb your processed waste. To that, check your water flow, as hydraulic overload happens when excessive water enters your drainage system. The excessive water flow comes when your water pressure is too high. A qualified specialist can analyze your plumbing and guarantee for a solution.
  6. Inappropriate sitting of your drainfield is yet another concern. There should be a distance of at least 15 meters between the components of the septic system and nearby water sources. In addition, there are certain requirements when your property sits on a slope with a 4,5-meter vertical rise.Equally important, tree roots often pierce through septic systems and cause damage to your drainfield.
  7. There are many unskilled plumbers out there and amateur septic system installation is a common issue. Before you book a service, it’s crucial to find a reliable plumber near you.
  8. Never skip the annual inspection of your septic system no matter how busy you are. The survey measures the amount of waste and sludge layers in your tank and drainfield. A septic service expert determines if it’s time to pump out the excess and renew any components.
  9. The ground above your septic tank and leach field isn’t the place to park your car. Choose another place to practice your driving skills, unless you plan on spending a fortune on repairs.

Your house insurance won’t cover all the damages, caused by problems with your septic system. It’s good to know the signs of failure and what policies cover your damages.

5 comments on “6 Signs of Problems With Your Septic Systems [With Causes]

Name *rachel frampton

I have been stressing out because I noticed an odd smell coming from my septic tank. I never knew that a gurgling sound could also be an indicator that there is a problem with the tank. It’s great to know though, that a professional plumber will be able to unclog the line using a drain snake.

Jesse Ford

I like how you mentioned that if your sink, pipes, or toilets make a gurgling sound then there could be an issue with your septic system. My brother is thinking of looking for a drain cleaner specialist because he noticed the other day that it took a while for his sink water to drain completely after washing his dishes. It seems like a good idea for my brother to consider all of his options when hiring a reputable professional to help him with his plumping issues.

Zachary Tomlinson

Thanks for helping me learn more about septic tanks and its usual problems. I find it concerning to learn that the combination of weird gurgling sounds from the toilet along with an unexplainable bad odor around the home are signs that a septic tank needs plumbing attention. My uncle told me that he’s experiencing those lately and it’s getting him worried. I’ll share this with him and suggest that he contact the nearest plumber before it gets worse.


My husband and I were talking about the different roles that plumbers could have and the topic of septic tanks came up. We have never had to deal with a septic system cleaning but we figured that plumber usually gets calls to help in residential areas. I liked that you said that sometimes there is poor drainage of the tank and that will create more problems, and if I had this happen to me I would hire a professional.

Ellie Davis

My husband heard weird sounds coming from our kitchen sink, and we are looking for advice about what could be the reason. I had no idea that weird sounds coming from your sink or toilet could indicate problems with your septic tank. I will make sure to call a professional to inspect our septic tank to prevent future problems.

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