The Common Septic Tank Problems Explained

Having specific tank problems? Maybe your system is making some odd noises or perhaps it’s producing an overwhelming smell.

Whether they’re surface-level issues or problems that run deeper, we’re here to explain to you some of the most common septic tank issues. Let’s jump into it.

“Surface” Level Septic Tank Problems

We’ll start with the “surface” level problems. These are issues that are easy to recognize and somewhat easy to resolve. Consider these issues internal problems, meaning they have to deal with the septic tank itself.

Lack of Maintenance

This problem is one of the easiest to recognize. Have you been up-keeping your septic tank? Emptying your septic tank should be a regular occurrence.

Of course, it should be done whenever it needs, but you should usually empty it one or two times every year. If you don’t, this could be a simple reason as to why you’re having some issues with your septic tank system.

Incorrect Installation

How did you get your septic tank installed? Did you have it done by professionals? Did you get some of you and your buddies together to install it to save money?

Unless it was a shoddy and sketchy company, if you had it done professionally, this likely isn’t your issue. But if not, then this is a possibility and it can have some problems as small as the soak-away system being too small for the property to as high as being prosecuted for your system not complying with laws and regulations. If it’s been installed incorrectly, be sure to consider septic tank replacement.


Did you inherit some land with a septic tank already installed? It’s possible the septic tank on your property could be very old. We’re talking 50 to 100 years old.

Depending on the age of your septic tank, it could be outdated. Some tanks may not have had dip pipes that long ago and the structure of the tank itself may be different.

In comparison to today’s septic tanks, older ones may not be as efficient or effective as our modern ones. Due to the older technology, those septic tanks may also have problems more often than modern septic systems.

External Septic Tank Problems

These issues are due to external sources. In other words, they have nothing to do with the septic tank itself. These problems can not only affect the septic system itself, but also the surrounding area. Let’s take a look.

Too Much Water

To start off the common external septic tank problems, an excessive amount of water in your septic tank is another common problem. This stems from the inefficient use of water in your household.

What happens is that the solid waste in the system can’t break down before the excess water fills up the tank. The solid waste will then get passed into the distribution tubes that will get blocked up by the waste.

To help prevent a septic tank full of water, do your best to watch, monitor, and minimize how much water goes into your septic system. You can do this by using the low flow toilets, spreading out laundry, and managing the length of showers and the utilization of low flow showerheads.

Tree Roots

Have you ever kicked or tried to dig up even a small, thin tree root? It’s seemingly impossible, isn’t it? Well, imagine that, but more difficult and in your septic tank.

Tree roots can grow through the walls of your septic system and cause all sorts of problems.  The groundwater can infiltrate the septic system and the wastewater from inside the tank can leak out into the ground and surrounding area. If this is happening, you’ll be able to tell because of either vibrant, thriving grass around the area your septic tank is, or dead spots in the same area, which are both products of the grass consuming the nutrients and/or chemicals from the wastewater.

All of the problems created from tree root damage in your septic tank system can definitely prevent your septic system from working and can cause a mess.


Over time, your septic tank is going to build up bits of solid waste which will eventually clog up the system. Results of a clog can include slow drains, the septic tank not draining at all, and even sewage backups.

To prevent clogs, it is a good idea to get your septic tank routinely pumped. How often you should get your tank pumped should depend on your household. How many people are in your household?; how much wastewater does your household produce?

As long as you get your septic system checked by a professional and make sure all is in order, you should only have to pump your system every three to five years.

Preventing Septic Tank Problems

No matter what the issues are with your tank, septic tank problems are no fun for anyone. That’s why we can help you out. Although we don’t provide septic tank pumping, you can check out all of our available services to see how we can help you.

You can also contact us today to get a free estimate. Did you like this article or find it helpful? If so, be sure to share it with others who may find and helpful and if you’d like to see more content like this, be sure to check out the rest of our blog.

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