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10 Reasons Why Your Septic Tank May Be Filling Too Quickly

10 Reasons Why Your Septic Tank May Be Filling Too Quickly

As a homeowner, a properly functioning septic tank is essential for maintaining a healthy and hygienic living environment. These simple pieces of equipment make a huge difference in our everyday lives. Additionally, they are full of living, breathing organisms that treat your wastewater so that it is safe to be released back into the environment. 

However, if you've noticed that your septic tank is filling up more rapidly than usual, it could be a cause for a septic tank emergency. Understanding the reasons behind this issue is crucial for taking appropriate action to address it. 

How Do Septic Tanks Work?

To be able to understand why your septic tank may be filling up too quickly, it is important to first have some basic knowledge about how septic tanks work on a basic level. Septic tanks are concrete or plastic tanks buried somewhere near your home. These tanks are built to the specifications required for the size of your house.

When you do additional construction, especially if you are adding new bedrooms or an additional bathroom, you will want to be sure that your septic tank still fits your house. If your tank does not meet the requirements for your home's square footage, then it will need to be upgraded to a model that can handle the size of your home. 

All of your waste that goes down the drain from your home ends up in your septic tank. Everything from water, chemicals, and human waste is added to your tank regularly. It is essential to be careful about what you're putting down your system as it can cause clogs and create other issues. 

Once inside the septic tank, the wastewater undergoes a series of physical and biological processes to separate and treat its components. The tank is designed to retain the wastewater for a certain period, allowing solids to settle at the bottom and oils, grease, and lighter solids to float to the top. This process creates three distinct layers within the tank.

  • Scum Layer: This layer consists of oils, grease, and floating solids that rise to the surface of the wastewater.
  • Liquid Layer: The middle layer contains the partially clarified liquid portion of the wastewater, also known as effluent.
  • Sludge Layer: Heavy solids and organic matter settle at the bottom of the tank, forming a layer of sludge.

Anaerobic bacteria will get to work breaking down the organic matter present in the sludge and scum layers. These bacteria thrive in the oxygen-deprived environment of the tank and play a crucial role in decomposing solids and reducing the volume of waste.

Once wastewater has made it through the septic tank, it is discharged into the drain field, where it slowly reintegrates back into the environment. 

Why Does Your Septic Tank Fill Up Too Quickly?

If your septic tank is filling up too quickly, then there is something wrong. We have put together ten reasons why your septic system is filling up too quickly, as well as how to avoid said issues.

1. Excessive Water Usage

One of the most common reasons for a septic tank to fill up quickly is excessive water usage in the household. Activities such as long showers, running the dishwasher frequently, and doing multiple loads of laundry in a day can significantly increase the amount of wastewater flowing into the tank.

To reduce water usage, consider installing low-flow fixtures, fixing leaks promptly, and spreading out water-intensive tasks throughout the week.

2. Undetected Leaks

Leaks in your plumbing system can result in a continuous flow of water into your septic tank, causing it to fill up more rapidly than normal. Common sources of leaks include dripping faucets, running toilets, and damaged pipes.

Regularly inspect your plumbing for any signs of leaks, such as damp spots, water stains, or unexplained increases in water bills. Promptly repairing leaks can help prevent unnecessary water wastage and reduce the strain on your septic system.

3. Clogged Drain Field

A clogged or saturated drain field can hinder the proper drainage of wastewater from your septic tank into the soil. This can lead to backups and overflows, causing your tank to fill up faster than it should. 

Common causes of drain field clogs include the buildup of solids, soil compaction, and root intrusion. Professional inspection and maintenance of your drain field are necessary to ensure its proper functioning. Techniques such as aeration, bioaugmentation, or mechanical rejuvenation may be used to restore the functionality of a failing drain field.

4. Lack of Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your septic system, including routine pumping and inspection, is crucial for preventing issues such as sludge buildup and clogged pipes. Neglecting proper maintenance can result in a faster rate of tank filling and potential system failures. Schedule regular inspections with a qualified septic service provider to identify and address any issues before they escalate.

5. Flushing Non-Biodegradable Items

Flushing non-biodegradable items such as baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, and paper towels down the toilet can lead to clogs and blockages in your septic system. These items do not break down easily and can accumulate in the tank, causing it to fill up more quickly. Educate household members about proper waste disposal practices and provide marked bins for non-biodegradable items.

6. Tree Root Intrusion

Tree roots seeking moisture and nutrients can infiltrate septic system pipes, causing them to become clogged or damaged. This can impede the flow of wastewater and result in a faster rate of tank filling. 

Regular inspection and maintenance of your septic system can help detect and address root intrusion issues. Techniques such as root cutting or chemical treatments may be used to mitigate root intrusion and prevent further damage to your system.

7. High Soil Water Table

A high soil water table can prevent proper drainage of wastewater from your septic tank into the surrounding soil. This can cause backups and overflows, leading to a faster rate of tank filling.

If you suspect that your soil water table may be contributing to the problem, consult with a professional septic service provider for guidance. Solutions such as installing a raised drain field or implementing water diversion techniques may help alleviate the issue.

8. Faulty Septic Tank Components

Faulty components within your septic tank, such as broken baffles or damaged inlet/outlet pipes, can impede the proper flow of wastewater and cause the tank to fill up more quickly. Regular inspection and maintenance can help identify and address any issues with your tank's components.

If necessary, consider upgrading to more durable components or retrofitting your tank with additional features to improve its efficiency and longevity.

9. Excessive Grease And Oil

Pouring grease, oil, and fat down the drain can lead to the formation of grease clogs in your septic system, reducing its capacity and causing it to fill up faster. Proper disposal of grease and oil in designated containers is essential for preventing this issue.

Avoid washing greasy dishes or cooking utensils in the sink, and use absorbent materials such as paper towels to wipe up grease spills before disposal.

10. Household Chemicals

The use of harsh chemicals such as bleach, drain cleaners, and antibacterial soaps can disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in your septic tank, hindering its ability to break down waste effectively. This can result in a faster rate of tank filling and potential system failures.

Opt for environmentally friendly alternatives whenever possible to minimize the impact on your septic system. Consider using natural cleaning agents such as vinegar, baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your tank.

A septic tank filling up too quickly can be a sign of underlying issues that require attention. By understanding the potential reasons behind this problem, homeowners can take proactive measures to address them and prevent further damage to their septic systems.

Regular maintenance, proper waste disposal practices, and professional inspection are essential for ensuring the continued functionality and longevity of your septic tank.

Viking Septic Services - The Septic Solution

If you're experiencing issues with your septic system or need professional inspection and maintenance services, don't hesitate to contact Viking Septic Services today. Our technicians are here to provide reliable and affordable solutions tailored to your specific needs.

Schedule your service appointment now and ensure the continued health and functionality of your septic system.