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What causes septic systems to fail

Owning septic systems in areas like Clearwater can present a lot of challenges. It’s hot and moist here, so you’ll need to take extra precautions when you install your system. Not doing so can lead to a myriad of failures – of which we’ll outline in greater detail below.

Here are some of the most common reasons for septic system failure and what you can do to make sure you give yourself the best possible chance at never having to deal with them in the first place.

Let’s jump right in!

An overloaded system

When a house or building generates more waste water than the system can handle – then it’s not at all uncommon for sewage to seep up to the surface of your soil or back up into your drains. At the end of the day, sewage is liquid and it needs somewhere to go.

This can also happen temporarily when you do things like run multiple appliances at once, deal with leaky toilets or have too many large loads of laundry being run consecutively. Just be mindful of the stress you’re putting on your septic system.

Physical damage

When too much pressure is put on your system – it can cause failures in the system. Those failures can range from crushed pipes to compacted soil. In most cases – this is a function of poor design or planning – largely not due to the system itself but rather construction over the system – things like parking, pavement, driving, etc. Also, nature isn’t always your friend when it comes to septic systems. Trees, roots, errant rocks and the like can wreak havoc on your system if you don’t take your surroundings into account.

Poor maintenance

We have hammered this one home on this blog and in multiple sources and we can’t restate this enough: make sure you perform ongoing maintenance on your system. The usual inspection should occur at least every 3 years and they’ll need to be pumped every 3 to 5 years. That being said – just having someone do an annual walkthrough doesn’t hurt. Yeah you might pay a little more up front, but the nominal amount you pay to be pre-emptive is minimal compared to what happens if a problem occurs.

Poor installation

No matter how good the system might be on paper – if it’s not put together properly, it’s going to fail. It’s a 100% guarantee. Some common issues with regards to poor installation include improper sizing, bad construction, soil layers that are impermeable or that are too thin, and steep grading. Also – if you’re installing your system in a place that’s frequently oversaturated with moisture, then it’s a virtual guarantee that you’ll experience some sort of malfunction.

Part of being ahead of the game – we think – is all about knowing what’s coming next. Knowing what’s coming next is being pre-emptive in your maintenance and taking the proper steps up front to give your system the best possible chance to run at optimal performance. If you’re thinking of adding a lift station or septic system to your next building project, give us a call and we’re happy to help you through the process!