One important part of your septic tank is the baffles. The baffles are designed to direct the flow of effluent so that new waste and solids end up where they belong in the system. If a baffle fails, the entire system stops working properly.
Types of Baffles
There are two baffles on every septic tank. The inlet baffle is located where the main drain inlet attaches to the tank. It's designed to route incoming waste to the lower section of the tank instead of letting it sit on top of the present fluid. This allows the solid waste to settle out before being passed through the system.
The outlet baffle connects the tank to the drain field. It very much acts as a filter by preventing any solids from draining into the field where they could cause a clog.
The style of baffle depends on the age of your tank. Older septic tanks have integrated baffles made of concrete, called wall baffles. Newer tanks will have tee baffles, which are made of a durable molded plastic. Tee baffles are preferred because they are easier to repair.
The most common issue is a clogged baffle. Solids from the effluent can get lodged in the baffle, especially the inlet baffle if things other than toilet paper are going down the drains.
Baffles may also wear out over time. The baffle may crack or wear down in one area, allowing solids through or misrouting the effluent. In some cases, the baffle may break off completely.
Symptoms of baffle damage can be severe. If the inlet baffle is malfunctioning, then the tank may fill up faster than usual as solids are processed through too quickly. A clog may lead to sewer backups in the home.
Outlet baffle damage affects the drain field. Your field may become flooded or raw sewage may float on its surface. If the outlet clogs, then effluent won't flow out of the tank and it will overfill, leading to backups in the home.
An inspection is necessary to determine whether the baffle is to blame for the problem. If it is clogged, your technician can clean it out. You may also need to have the tank pumped to remove the buildup of solids that may have resulted from the clogged baffle.
Damaged baffles require replacement. Tee style baffles are easy to replace, but concrete baffles may not be replaceable. In this case, you will need to replace your entire septic tank.
Contact a septic repair service for more help.