4 Environmental Drainage Issues That Can Flood Your Septic Tank
For the average household with a properly sized system, a septic tank should only require pumping every few years. If your tank seems to fill up so quickly that pumping is needed every few months to once a year, then there may be an issue with drainage into the tank.
1. Badly Routed Rain Gutters
Rain gutters are designed to route water away from your home so that it doesn't collect against the foundation. While this is a good thing, it does matter where the water eventually ends up. Ideally, the gutters will empty into a nearby garden bed, a rain garden, or a drainage system that routes the runoff to the stormwater system. If the gutters route water toward your septic tank or leach field or, worse, are connected right into the sewer line, then your tank will fill up too quickly.
2. Poor Site Grading
Every home site should be graded so that water runs away from the home. This prevents soil and water pressure against the walls of the foundation while also minimizing the chances of basement leaks and flooding. One direction the site shouldn't be graded toward is the septic and leach field exclusively. If all water runs toward your septic system, it can overwhelm the leach field so the tank can't drain into it properly. The result will be effluent trapped in the tank, leading to an increased need for regular pumping.
3. Sump Pump Outlet Mistakes
Many homes with basements also have a sump pump if the conditions are wet enough for periodic flooding. Sump pumps move the water out of the basement, usually directly into an exterior drainage system. This system must be routed into a storm drain system or retention pond, not into the main sewer line or towards the leach field. Otherwise, the water will overwhelm your septic and lead to sewer backups and the need for frequent pumping.
4. Irrigation Issues
Watering your lawn and garden isn't an issue for septic systems generally, as the tanks are sealed so that exterior water can't easily get in. The problem occurs when heavy watering leads to runoff that floods the leach field and prevents effluent from flowing from the tank properly. Although over-irrigation can cause this, a more common problem is a leak in an irrigation line that floods the soil and leads to runoff. Inspecting irrigation systems and using a time to minimize overwatering can help.
Contact a residential septic tank service if drainage issues are causing your tank to fill too quickly.