Do you have a septic tank that’s over forty years old? If so, it may need replacing as part of natural aging. Unfortunately, age isn’t the only reason why you may need a new one. If a previous homeowner (or you) didn’t properly care for the system, it may need replacing much sooner. Here, we’ve compiled the top seven signs your septic tank needs replacing.
First, the basics
The septic tank holds and disposes of household waste. When waste enters the tank, organic material floats to the surface of the water inside the tank, where bacteria turn it into a liquid and leave solid material to fall to the bottom of the tank and form a layer of sludge. The leftover water then moves to a separate absorption area in the yard.
Sign #1: Toilet flushing issues
One of the first signs of a problem is when a toilet is slow to flush or won’t flush, and a plunger doesn’t fix the issue. It could be because your septic tank is full, and simply needs a pump out. Or it could be a sign of bigger problems, such as clogged pipes. Since raw sewage is extremely hazardous, you will want to get to the bottom of this issue right away.
Sign #2: Stinky yard
Step outside and take a good whiff near the leach field. If it smells like rotten eggs or sulfur, it’s a good sign that raw sewage has escaped the septic tank or the pipes.
Sign #3: The grass is always greener
If you notice your grass growing greener or faster in one area, this is not a good sign. When your leach field is failing and may need replacing, it’s because it’s getting extra fertilizer (waste) at the roots.
Sign #4: Soggy leach field
During the initial installation, your septic tank will be placed in your yard in an area called a leach field. If you notice that your leach field is soggy or flooded, this could indicate that it’s time for you to replace your system.
Sign #5: Slow drains
If your kitchen or bathroom sink, shower or bathtub are draining slowly, it could point to a problem with the pipes in your home (a plumbing company issue) or worse, the septic system.
Sign #6: Well water contamination
When you have a test of your drinking water or well water, and it shows that it contains nitrates, bacteria or other contaminates, you may need to replace the entire system. Bacteria from your septic system can pose a serious health risk to you and your family.
Sign #7: Gurgling sounds
Listen carefully the next time you flush the toilet. If you hear gurgling coming from the pipes, it may be an indication the tank is full, needs pumping or has other problems that may lead to a full septic system repair.
Call a septic system installation professional
Problems with septic tanks can be messy, expensive, and bad for nearby water sources (including your well water.) When any of these signs appear, it is critical to call in a septic system professional to have a full inspection and get their recommendation for a potential replacement system.