Septic: From A to Z

3 Signs Tree Roots Have Damaged Your Septic Tank

If you have trees close to your septic tank, then there is a risk that their roots might grow into your system. Roots naturally move toward water. If they get close enough, they can breach pipes and even the tank itself. How can you tell if tree roots have damaged your tank?

1. Slow Drainage

If a tree root breaks into a pipe in your septic tank system, then it will cause a blockage. If this happens, then you'll usually start to have drainage problems in your home. Typically, you'll notice these problems in multiple areas. For example, water might not drain out of your sinks, showers, and bathtubs as quickly as usual. Your toilet flushes might not work as well as they should. Water might take too much time to leave the bowl, and you might hear gurgling noises as it flushes through your system. If the blockage is caused by a large tree root, then toilets might even start to back up. Water might fill them and not drain away.

2. Unpleasant Smells

If tree roots have breached your septic tank, then they can slow the movement of sewage through your system and into the tank. Rather than running cleanly through pipes, pieces of sewage might get stuck around the roots. If these materials don't flush away, then they start to pass odors back through your system. Your drains and toilets might have a whiff of rotten eggs or even pure sewage. You might also smell these odors around the tank itself.

3. Drainfield Problems

If your septic tank system has tree root damage, then you will eventually see warning signs in the drainfield around the tank. For example, if a root has broken a pipe, then the pipe will leak into the ground. The grass above the pipe will be fed by leaking waste. It will look lusher and greener than the rest of the grass over your tank.

If you have a serious break in your system, then you might also see a depressed sinkhole on your drainfield. This can be a sign that a lot of water and waste is leaking out of your tank and eroding the ground. It shifts the earth out of position and creates a hole.

Contact a septic tank system services company, if you think you have a tree root problem. If they find root damage, then they can remove the roots and repair your tank. They can also help you find ways to prevent future damage such as installing root barriers around your system.