Overflowing septic system

Help! Why is My Septic Tank Overflowing, & What Do I Do?

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You wake up one morning thinking it’s the same as any other day. Then you notice some drains aren’t acting the way that they should, and it hits you. Your septic tank is overflowing and causing all kinds of problems in and around your home.

Alright, so your septic tank is overflowing into your yard, and you’re freaking out. Don’t panic, though! Close your eyes, and take a deep breath (without inhaling the smell, that is).

The First Thing You Should Do

The first thing you want to do is stop using the water in your house. Make sure all of the faucets and showers are turned off and that nobody flushes the toilet. You want to eliminate the chance that even more water enters the system and causes an even worse overflow. 

Now that you’ve gotten that out of the way, you can take a deeper breath and assess the situation. Identifying the leading cause of the overflow will help you determine your next course of action.

What’s Causing the Overflow?

For homeowners looking to get a handle on their overflowing septic systems, identifying the leading cause is imperative. Knowing what to look for in terms of potential causes can help fix the issue more quickly and get your home back in working order. In a nutshell, there could be several things causing your septic tank to overflow:

Infographic explaining common causes for an overflowing septic tank

Higher Than Usual Water Usage

Your home septic system has been designed to handle a certain total of gallons per day. More specifically, if you go over this amount on a daily basis, it can cause an overflow. This can be especially common during holiday vacations, where more people than usual are using the shower, the bathroom toilet, and the faucet than what would be typical. Likewise, heavy seasonal rainfalls can cause water to leak from your yard into the tank, which can cause an overflow.

Heavy Rainfall

Your septic system represents a complex interconnected system that requires each part to work in harmony to function properly. The drainage field absorbs the incoming wastewater and disposes of it underground. However, when there is heavy rainfall, the drainage field runs the risk of oversaturation. An oversaturated drainage field can lead to significant overflow and blockages that negatively affect your home and the surrounding environment. 

Alternatively, your tank could be leaking or even clogged because a) your tank hasn’t been pumped for a long time or b) the helpful bacteria naturally found in septic tanks, and that helps break down solids has itself worn away. Fortunately, there are methods you can use to help fix these problems.

Irregular Maintenance Routines

Your septic system is a well-oiled machine that requires you to perform regular preventative maintenance to maintain that efficiency. It’s recommended that your system gets pumped every one to three years. In the case of infrequent maintenance routines, having a respected septic pump company come out and pump your system should help your situation. A trained staff, such as the one found at Delaware Valley Septic, Sewer & Storm, can come to your home and pump your septic system quickly and safely.

Improper Chemical Use Killing Helpful Bacteria

When it comes to keeping the helpful bacteria in your septic system alive and working to break down the solid waste, be mindful of what chemicals you pour down your drains. Often, the same chemicals we use that are considered toxic to humans will end up killing the helpful bacteria in your tank. To help give the bacteria in your tank a fighting chance, avoid pouring cleaning products into your drains, such as bleach, disinfectants, and toilet cleaners.

What Can I Do to Fix the Problem?

That depends.  If you are maintaining your septic system properly then there has to be another culprit such as a clog or something environmental. While there are ways you can help prevent the problems in the future, a professional service will be required to service your septic tank right away.

In the meantime, try to relax, and call Chester, Delaware & Montgomery County’s leading septic installation crew if you need assistance! The Delaware Valley Septic, Sewer, & Storm team specializes in septic tanks, sewers, and storm inspections for your property. Contact us today to receive your quote!