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Septic Tank Failure

Septic tank systems that are not working effectively pose a significant health risk to home owners. Poorly working septic tanks are a source of water pollution, particularly of groundwater sources which are an important source of drinking water. Typical pollutants in household waste water are nitrogen, phosphorus, and disease-causing bacteria such as e-coli and cryptosporidium and viruses. When septic systems are properly designed, constructed, and maintained, they effectively reduce most threats posed by pollutants in household waste water.

Symptoms of Septic Tank Failure

  • Pooling water or muddy soil around your septic system or percolation area
  • Toilet or sink backs up when you flush or do laundry
  • The septic tank requires frequent emptying
  • Untreated effluent in the garden
  • Blockages in manholes
  • Odours from the septic tank or around the house
  • The septic tank is connected to a ditch or stream
  • Contamination of drinking water from a well

Reasons for Septic Tank Failure

  • Amount of waste water entering the system is more than the system can handle
  • Poor maintenance and infrequent emptying
  • Tank inaccessible for maintenance
  • System installed is unsuitable for soil type
  • Percolation areas that are paved or parked on, and tree roots or defective components that interfere with system processes
  • Household toxins and cleaners can destroy the living organisms necessary to digest and treat waste
  • Some water purification systems, including water softeners, unnecessarily pump water into the septic system. This can contribute hundreds of gallons of water to the septic tank, causing agitation of solids and excess flow to the percolation area