Septic tank problems can be identified in a number of areas.

  1. Backing up of sewage in the drainage pipe and manholes.
  2. A high level of possible flooding of effluent in the area of the tank access covers.
  3. Dark effluent with an unpleasant odour emerging onto the surface near the tank or at some other location from the tank.
  4. A combination fo all of the above factors.

A common septic tank problem  that is encountered is the failure of the soakaway system to function properly.

As detailed in The Operation of a Septic Tank, if the system is not effectively separating solids from liquids then the effluent leaving the septic tank and entering the soakaway will in time clog the soakaway.

As more and more solid material enters the soakaway then less of the sub soil has sufficient permeability to allow dispersion of the effluent into the sub soil.

If the rate of sewage entering the tank per day is greater than can be dissipated by the soakaway, then an excess of sewage in the system will result. This will build up in the drainage pipes and manholes and/or may rise above the soakaway and break out onto the surface.

To rectify the problem a simple de-sludge of the tank and if possible a jet clean of the soakaway may be all that is necessary. It is more likely however, that some repair work to the soakaway will be required.

Please return to Septic Tanks Home Page

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