What Causes Your Septic Tank to Overflow?

February 23, 2021 8:42 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Septic systems are designed to hold a lot of waste, but they do have their limitations. There are some circumstances in which a septic tank can overflow, which could be due to a number of different factors. Determining the cause of a septic overflow in Strafford County, NH is important to help you fix your system and ensure it’s able to function reliably.

Here are a few examples of some of the most common causes of septic tank overflows.

Bacterial issues

Septic tanks require naturally occurring bacteria to help break down waste so it can pass through to the drainage field. When bacterial levels are low, solids do not break down, meaning the buildup of those solids will occur faster than usual, resulting in potential overflows of the tank or clogs in drainage pipes and trenches.

It’s important to keep that bacteria at proper levels. Avoid using any harsh cleaning chemicals that could kill off bacteria in the system, such as bleach, toilet cleaners and disinfectants.

Improper maintenance

One of the most common causes of overflowing septic tanks is improper or insufficient maintenance. When water flows through the septic tank, nonbiodegradable materials will settle at the bottom of the tank. Some solid waste will also settle at the bottom of the tank. As the years go on, those solids form a sludge layer that will gradually rise.

You must stay on top of regular septic tank pumping every three to five years to remove the sludge, which will prevent the system from overflowing. The frequency with which you get your system pumped will depend on the size of the tank and the amount of waste you have in the tank. People who have larger households or who have smaller tanks on their property will most likely need to get a professional out to pump their tank more frequently than people with larger tanks or smaller households.

Design flaws resulting in clogs

Clogs in your system could potentially be a result of design flaws that may cause you to want to redo some of your pipes. Drainage pipes must have a slope of one to two percent for waste to properly drain. A slope that’s too shallow will result in materials not flowing as they’re supposed to, necessitating pipe replacements.

A common type of overflow is the ground over the drainage area being saturated. This could be caused by that type of poor design, or by damaged drain pipes. In some cases, if the pipes run too close to tree roots, those roots could grow through the pipes, causing the walls of the pipe to collapse in on themselves and resulting in the aforementioned drainage issues.

These are just a few examples of some of the most common causes of septic overflow. For more information about how to prevent and deal with some common septic problems in Strafford County, NH, contact B.H. Cameron Septic Services LLC with any questions about how to proceed with caring for your system. We look forward to working with you.

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