Why Does Your Septic Tank Keep Overflowing?

Posted on: 11 November 2016

When your septic tank is functioning properly, water should slowly flow out into the drain field, which is the area of your yard into which the tank empties. You should not notice any wet or soggy areas, and there should not be any odors. If the area near your septic tank is becoming wet and flooded—and if you're noticing a sewage odor in your yard—then your septic tank is overflowing. There are a few reasons why this might be happening.

The tank needs to be pumped.

Septic tanks need to be pumped out every few years. Depending on the size of your tank and the number of people in your home, your tank may need to be pumped every year, or it may be able to go five years without pumping. At some point, however, solid waste is going to build up in the bottom of the tank to an extent that there's little room left for liquid waste. So when you let a lot of water down the drain (such as when you shower or wash clothing), there's no space for this water. It flows immediately out of the tank, flooding your drain field.

When the septic company comes to pump out your tank, they'll remove the solid waste, leaving more space for the liquid. You can help extend the time between pumping appointments (and reduce solid-waste buildup) by:

  • Only flushing toilet paper down the toilet. Tampons, paper towels, and facial tissue take a long time to break down and will just add to the solid-waste volume in the bottom of the tank.
  • Minimizing your use of the garbage disposal. Any food waste you rinse down the sink accumulates in the tank.
  • Reducing your use of harsh chemical cleaners. These harm the bacteria that help break down the solid waste in your tank.

The tank is too small for your family size.

Do you have five people living in a two-bedroom house or twelve people living in a four-bedroom home? Septic tanks come in various sizes, and builders typically choose the size based on the expected number of people who will occupy a home. If your home has more than the expected number of occupants, you may simply be generating too much waste and using too much water for the tank to accommodate. The tank fills up prematurely, and then any other water you use flows right out into the yard. There are a few possible solutions to this problem:

  • Try spacing out your showers and laundry washing so you don't overwhelm the tank.
  • Take drastic steps to cut back on water use, such as washing laundry at a laundromat or only showering every other day.
  • Have your septic tank replaced with a larger one.

If your septic tank keeps overflowing, then something is definitely amiss. Contact a septic-care company such as Ace Sanitation Service in your area to learn more.  

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Exploring Septic Services

Hello, my name is Samuel. Welcome to my site. I am here to discuss all of the things you need to know about septic services. When I moved into my home, I had to learn about septic maintenance on my own through several emergency repair situations. If I had done my research ahead of time, it is highly likely I would have been able to avoid these situations altogether. I would like to use this site to talk about the septic services you can use to keep the need for emergency repairs at bay. Please come by often to learn more and to keep your property safe.