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Top Things to Watch for in a Failing Septic System

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

A septic tank is a buried tank that treats wastewater from homes and businesses. It is a vital part of the wastewater treatment system, and it is important to keep it in good working order. If a septic tank fails, it can contaminate the soil and groundwater, and it can also create a health hazard.



Here are the top things to watch for in a failing septic system:

  1. Slow draining toilets, showers, and sinks. If your drains are draining slowly, it could be a sign that the septic tank is full. The tank is designed to hold a certain amount of wastewater, and if it gets too full, the solids will start to back up into the drain lines.

  2. Sewer gas odors. If you smell sewer gas in your home or yard, it could be a sign of a failing septic tank. The tank is designed to hold wastewater and solids, but if the solids start to break down, they can release methane gas, which has a strong sewer smell.

  3. Water pooling in your yard. If you see water pooling in your yard, it could be a sign that the septic tank is failing. The tank is designed to drain wastewater into the soil, but if the soil is saturated, the water will start to pool on the surface.

  4. Green, lush grass around the septic tank. If the grass around your septic tank is suddenly growing greener and lusher than the rest of your lawn, it could be a sign of a failing septic tank. The grass is getting nutrients from the wastewater that is leaking from the tank.

  5. Dry, cracked soil around the septic tank. If the soil around your septic tank is dry and cracked, it could be a sign that the tank is not absorbing wastewater properly. This can happen if the tank is full or if the soil is compacted.

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to have your septic tank inspected by a professional. A professional can diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of action.


In addition to the top 5 signs listed above, here are some other things to watch for that may indicate a failing septic system:

  • Backflow of wastewater into toilets or other fixtures

  • Rising water levels in the septic tank

  • Effluent (treated wastewater) seeping to the surface

  • Mosquitoes breeding in the area around the septic tank

  • Algae blooms in nearby lakes or ponds

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to have your septic tank inspected as soon as possible. A failing septic system can contaminate your water supply and pose a health hazard to you and your family.


Here are some tips to help prevent your septic tank from failing:

  • Only flush human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Don't flush anything else, such as feminine hygiene products, diapers, or grease.

  • Consider using a monthly additive like SunSeptic Products to help maintain a healthy septic system

  • Pump the tank regularly. Have your septic tank pumped out every three to five years, or more often if you have a large family or if you overload the tank.

  • Protect the tank from damage. Plant trees and shrubs away from the tank, and don't drive heavy equipment over the tank.

  • Have the tank inspected regularly. Have a professional inspect your septic tank every few years to make sure it is in good working order.

By following these tips, you can help keep your septic tank in good working order and prevent it from failing.



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