Uh oh! Septic system clogs aren't just frustrating, they can also be incredibly expensive. When your system clogs, effluent can begin to back-up. This liquid waste can find its way into your home or into your draining field, creating a worrying puddle in the middle of your lawn. Once your system clogs, there's little to do except have the clog removed and repair any damage that it may have caused. Simply repairing the clog won't prevent it from happening again, however, so it is important to understand why clogs happen in your septic system and what you can do to prevent them in the future.
Septic Clogs Are Different
When a drain backs up, it's usually because of a build-up in the drainpipe itself. This makes your average drain clog a bit easier to understand since there's a simple cause and effect relationship between dumping last night's dinner into your sink and having the whole thing come back up in the morning. With septic tanks, clogs can be a little bit more difficult to understand.
In general, clogs in septic systems are caused by a build-up of solid waste within the tank itself. Once this waste reaches a certain level, it can begin to exit into the drain field or even back up into the tank's inlet. This can create clogs throughout the system, ultimately leading the liquid waste within the system to back up. The actual location where septic liquid begins to back up will depend on the location of the clog.
Why Does Waste Build Up?
While your septic tank is designed to contain and ultimately release a large amount of liquid waste, the amount of solid waste and grease that it contain is considerably more limited. Under normal circumstances, the bacteria inside of your tank help to keep this solid waste in check. The bacteria consume solids, keeping the total level of solids within the tank downl. Regular tank cleanings help to make sure that solid waste does not build up over the years, but it can still reach unsafe levels if the septic system is abused.
Avoid Flushing Anything Except Waste and Toilet Paper
While many products claim to be safe for septic systems, the only truly safe things to flush into your septic system are wastewater and toilet paper. Wet wipes, paper towels, food, cooking grease, and other forms of solid waste can upset the balance inside your tank. Most of these items are solids and will sink to the bottom, creating a massive sludge layer that can clog up important parts of the tank or even make their way elsewhere into the system. Grease and oils will float to the top, and they can overwhelm the baffles which are intended to prevent scum from clogging the inlet pipes.
Ultimately, clogs are almost always caused by flushing inappropriate items into the system or waiting too long to clean the tank. While your tank's bacteria do an admirable job of maintaining your tank's solid waste levels, they will eventually be overwhelmed if the sludge is not removed. Likewise, your bacteria can do little to help with solid, non-biodegradable items that are flushed into the tank. If you are careful about what you flush, then the next most important thing you can do to prevent clogs is to have your tank cleaned regularly.
Contact a company like Eckmayer Inc in order to learn more.