9 Major Septic Tank Problems & Common Solutions

Here are some septic system problems and steps to take to resolve them.

Septic tanks are designed with an estimated lifespan. In other words, they’re expected to serve for a certain number of years. An expected lifespan doesn’t mean that such tanks will continue to function effectively until the expiration of their lifespan.

It simply means with proper use, your septic tank is likely to attain a certain number of years. In between times, there may be issues that require urgent fixes, hence our topic; septic tank problems and fixes.

Here, we intend to highlight common septic tank issues homeowners face.

These issues range from the most simple to the most complex. Whatever the case is, you’ll need to seek urgent solutions. Even the simplest of septic tank problems when ignored gets worsened.

Septic Failure Starts With A Sign

Septic systems don’t suddenly develop faults without warming.

There are several warning signs you’ll need to be attentive to. However, this won’t be possible when you have no idea what such signs are in the first place. While some are very evident, others aren’t.

Common signs include backing up more often than necessary, strong odors, and pooling water. These signs will need further probing to determine the nature and cause of the problems.

Having said that, let’s turn our attention to the main topic of discussion.

9 Septic Tank Problems And Solutions

There are lots of possible issues that can arise when using a septic tank.

These issues range from damage caused by tree roots, ground movement, and inconsistency in maintenance. There could also be issues such as collapsed baffle, vehicle damage, and damage to dip pipe.

Other possible septic tank problems you may encounter include an old tank, hydrostatic pressure, improper installation, and system clogs.

For each of these issues, there are appropriate fixes to apply. These fixes help restore your septic tank to normal functioning.

i. Damage Caused by Tree Roots

One of the most common issues with septic tanks is the action of tree roots.

These roots can either infiltrate the tank through tiny cracks or cause pipes to crack. Whatever the case may be, they alter the normal function of septic tanks and require urgent solutions.

Tree root damage may further complicate issues with problems likely worsening when not fixed urgently. How you respond will determine how effective the solutions are.

  • Fixing this Problem

Multiple fixes can be offered. These range from treating your septic tank with root growth inhibitors.

Other solutions include felling down nearby trees and removing their stumps to discourage sprouting. The cracks should be fixed and more durable pipes replaced.

ii. Ground Movement

How stable is the ground around your septic tank? Sometimes, slight movements occur that alter or affect the condition of septic tanks. This situation results in cracks and fractures which may result in leakages.

When this happens, you may have a situation where your tank needs to be pumped more frequently than necessary.

  • How to Fix this Problem

In this type of situation, little can be done to repair the damage. Your best bet is to replace your septic tank.

However, you’ll need to consult with your septic technician to determine the best line of action. The new tank will need to be installed on more stable ground.

iii. Maintenance Inconsistency

Septic maintenance is a routine activity you cannot ignore. Your septic tank needs to be kept under perfect working conditions. Anything less than consistent maintenance is an invitation to trouble.

Here, your best solution is to maintain a frequent maintenance schedule. A professional should conduct such maintenance activity.

iv. Collapsed Baffle

The baffle found within the septic tank keeps solids or lumps from escaping to the soakaway. When this collapses, there’s no barrier preventing the free movement of these lumps.

This problem is likely to result in backups.

  • Fixing Collapsed Baffles

You’re only left to speculate on the causes for backups among other issues. A technician will need to be called in to diagnose the problem and apply the necessary fixes.

v. Vehicular Damage

Vehicles and other heavy machinery can be parked or driven over septic tanks. These tanks aren’t designed to hold such weights and would give way or be severely damaged. A septic tank collapse is possible here.

  • Fixing the Issue

This problem is quite easy to fix if it hasn’t deteriorated much.

A septic tank specialist will need to be called to have it checked. Apart from this, you have the responsibility of keeping vehicles and other heavy equipment off the septic tank surface.

vi. Old Septic Tank

Certain buildings have old septic tanks that need to be replaced. This may apply to you.

While outdated or old septic tanks may still serve the purpose, their efficiency is never as good as newer models. Plus, you may have recurring issues that point to the need for replacement.

  • Solution

The easiest solution to an old septic tank is to simply have it replaced. This may cost you quite a lot of money but, such an investment is totally worth it.

vii. Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic pressure is a real problem that can affect your septic tank. Conditions necessary for this problem to occur include excess water volume beneath the tank.

Even when the tank is buried underground, this pressure pushes or pops it out from its position.

  • Solution

The attention of trained professionals will need to be called.

These technicians come around to assess the current state of damage and adopt the most effective strategy. It may involve taking a different installation approach altogether.

viii. Improper Installation

When septic tanks aren’t properly installed, they develop faults easily.

Most of the issues relating to improper installation arise from the use of non-professionals. Most homeowners having these problems are likely to have opted for cheaper services which resulted in more issues.

  • Carrying out Appropriate Fixes

You’ll need to call for a re-installation of your septic tank. Although this is likely to cost you more, it’s a necessary task that needs to be done. Only this time, you’ll need the services of experts.

ix. System Clogs

Septic system clogs are problems that partly arise from full septic tanks. You’ll need to figure out when last you had your tank pumped. A septic tank is supposed to be pumped once every 3 to 5 years.

  • Solution

You’ll need to call the services of a sewage evacuation company. These services play a vital role in emptying filled septic tanks.


These are common septic tank problems and possible fixes to adopt. Different problems require different solutions. It’s best to use the services of experienced technicians as they guarantee a thorough job.

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