Septic systems can sometimes hold something of an unsavory reputation with homeowners. Many people believe these systems are messy, high-maintenance, or outdated. However, the reality is much different. Modern septic systems are a highly efficient and environmentally-friendly way to dispose of waste when municipal connections are unavailable or too costly.
Most of the perceived negatives of septic systems arise from poor maintenance or a misunderstanding of how to use the system in the first place. A well-maintained, properly operating system should be relatively trouble-free, but life can happen, and sometimes your system may back up. In these cases, you shouldn't panic. The solution is often easier than you might expect.
Why Is Your System Backing Up?
Septic system backups can range from minor annoyances to frustrating and messy disasters. The earliest warning signs will usually be unpleasant odors from your drains, especially those drains lower in your home and closer to the main waste line. If the problem becomes severe enough, wastewater may begin to back up from sinks, showers, or other drains in your home.
A backed-up septic system can have numerous causes, but an overfilled and clogged septic tank is the most common. Your septic tank collects all the waste that goes down your home's drains and naturally sorts it into solid, liquid, and grease layers. Liquid waste (effluent) exits the system through your drainfield, where the surrounding medium naturally treats and sanitizes it.
However, the greases and solids remain in your tank. Microfauna (bacteria and other organisms) in the tank manage their levels, but these waste elements will build up over time. Without cleaning your septic tank every few years, solids may begin to clog the inlet or outlet sides of the tank. As a result, the system will clog up, and you'll experience wastewater backing up into your home.
What Should You Do?
The good news is that a backed-up septic tank isn't necessarily a critical situation, so don't panic! In many cases, it's a sign that you've waited too long to clean your tank or flushed inappropriate items into your septic system. In either case, the solution is the same: schedule a professional septic cleaning company to clean your tank as soon as possible.
If this hasn't happened before, there's a high likelihood that a thorough cleaning will solve the problem and restore your septic system. However, repeatedly deferring septic tank cleanings can eventually result in more severe issues. For example, frequent clogs will cause solid waste to enter your drainfield, potentially destroying the aerobic environment and forcing you to pay for a costly repair.
The best way to avoid this situation is to keep on top of your septic tank maintenance. Scheduling a cleaning every few years will prevent clogs, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained septic system with none of the downsides.
For more information, contact a local company like Integrity Septic Solutions LLC.