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Common Septic Tank Problems

Ground Conditions

If a soakaway is constructed in ground conditions which are non-permeable such as clay, this could result in the wastewater that discharges to the soakaway, filling the soakaway and subsequently flooding the septic tank, or effluent bursting out of the ground causing a health hazard.

To identify whether the ground conditions are suitable for a drainage field/soakaway and to determine the size required it is necessary to conduct a Percolation Test. 

Tree and Plant Roots

If septic tanks are located too close to trees and shrubs, the roots can grow through the walls of the tank, the soakaway or the pipes that lead from the tank to the property. The damage caused by the roots allows liquid from the tank to escape and water from the ground to get in, both of which prevent the tank from working properly.

Damage to Dip Pipes

The dip pipe or T-pipe performs a similar function to the baffle and works to ensure only the correct type of waste flows into the soakaway system. It is not unusual for the dip pipe to be found resting at the base of the tank, often after being knocked off during emptying.

Damage from Vehicles

If the septic tank is placed in an area where it has vehicular traffic over it, this can cause damage to the tank. The tank can crack or collapse due to the pressure.

Collapsed Baffle

A baffle acts like a sieve inside a septic tank, ensuring that solid waste remains within the tank whilst allowing the wastewater to flow into the soakaway. If the baffle becomes damaged, then the solid waste escapes into the soakaway system and causes blockages.

Lack of Maintainence

It is important that your septic tank is emptied regularly, usually annually. Delaying emptying can cause issues with the soakaway.