Can You Repair a Failing Septic System?

- Thursday, May 20, 2021
Morse Engineering and Construction - Failing Septic System

Before you jump to any conclusions about your septic system, hire a plumber with a speciality in septic to come assess yours. The plumber will look for any of these common issues, and can determine whether your system is salvageable. It could be that:

You’ve neglected to maintain the system.

Homeowners should regularly hire a professional to inspect and pump the septic system, every three to five years. If you can’t remember the last time you had your system serviced, poor maintenance might be the culprit.

How to fix it:

Hire a professional to pump and thoroughly clean your septic system to reverse its failure. The cost to clean a system varies based on tank size, but it will generally cost between $295 and $610. If a deep clean doesn’t do the trick, sometimes replacing the baffle, the component that prevents scum buildup in the tank, can help. However, this likely won’t work if the system’s been grossly neglected.

Too much water is rushing your septic system at once.

Septic system tanks are designed to manage water based on the size of the home. So, when your water use exceeds capacity, the system can’t handle it. This can cause wastewater to back up into your pipes, drains, the home itself, or the surrounding property.

How to fix it:

Pump and clean the system, as recommended above. However, if the septic system is too small for your home, you might have to consider a full replacement (more on that below) to increase its capacity.

Tree roots or other outdoor landscaping has damaged the system.

Tree roots seeking moisture and nutrients or certain paving materials in the wrong place can unintentionally damage your septic system. Roots may grow into the system, or even just grow nearby, and as a result crush and damage components of the system directly or indirectly compact the soil around the system, preventing proper discharge or damaging pipes. Installing a paved driveway or car park too close to the drain field can yield similar damage.

How to fix it:

Depending on what component is damaged, there’s a chance of repair.

Your septic tank was never installed correctly.

If a septic tank was improperly installed, there’s little to keep it from failing. It might be the wrong size, in a bad location, or not watertight.

How to fix it:

You might choose to replace the drain or leach field to prevent further failure. Replacing the field entails digging up your septic system and placing it in a new, uncontaminated field on your property. However, this solution only works if the septic tank is in good condition and can be repurposed.

Depending on the condition of your septic system, you may be able to fix it with one of these repairs. You won’t know what’s wrong with it until a professional starts to dig in. However, a repair is oftentimes preferable to replacement, in terms of price and the scope of work required.

For information or to make an appointment, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.