Septic: From A to Z

Is It Too Late To Clean Your Septic Tank?

Every homeowner with a septic tank knows that they need periodic cleaning, but what happens if you wait too long? Unfortunately, the answer can be rather messy. A backed-up septic system can wreak havoc on your lawn and cause sewage to return through the drains in your home. Not only is this a great way to ruin your day, but it can also lead to costly repair and remediation costs.

If you've waited until a worst-case scenario, then you may feel as if it's too late to schedule a cleaning. While cleaning earlier is always better, your situation is not necessarily unsalvageable once it reaches this point.

The Consequences of Septic Overflows

It's a common misconception among homeowners that high effluent levels cause back-ups. In reality, your septic tank should generally remain at a constant level of liquid waste. Low effluent levels can even be a sign of trouble. When a septic tank becomes too full, it is the solid waste (or sludge) at the bottom tank that requires removal.

Under normal circumstances, liquid effluent flows through the tank outlet and into the drainfield. If sludge builds up along the bottom of the tank, then solid waste may find its way into the outlet pipe. When this happens, your whole system backs up, and both liquid and solid waste may return through the inlet.

Once this happens, it means that at least one pipe in the system has become clogged. The severity of the clog will determine your next steps.

Why Septic Cleaning Still Matters

If your system is backing up, then the sludge level in your tank is high enough to allow solid waste into the drainfield. This flow will continue until you clean your septic tank, potentially turning a relatively minor clog into a significant headache. Solid waste can also begin to leach into the drainfield and create an environmental hazard.

Before you can even begin to address the blockage, you must first pump the system to ensure that no more solid waste can enter the drainfield. Once you've taken care of the underlying cause, you can address the clog to get your system moving again. If the clog isn't too severe, then it may be possible to clear it with a water jet drain cleaner.

Avoiding a Sludge Disaster

While it's never too late to clean your septic system, the best approach is to avoid disasters before they occur. Cleaning your septic tank on a regular schedule will ensure that sludge never enters your drainfield, ultimately allowing your system to run trouble-free for many years to come.

To learn more information, reach out to residential septic services near you.