Septic tank maintenance

Septic system failed

Help! My septic system failed within weeks of moving into my new home! Your phone conversation with your sister lingered in your head. She just declared the worst investment that she had made in all her born days. She just bought a home in an area that she dreamed of since she was in college. It was the perfect house. It was painted cream. The yard was green. It had a perfect view of the lake. It even had a gazebo just like she pictured. You thought she had the best taste ever. Two days after she moved in, she hosted a house warming party that lasted an entire weekend. Even her boss was there. But three weeks after that, she called you up and frantically asked for you to be there because of a huge crisis—her septic system failed. With some knowledge on real estate, you asked her if she really asked for a septic system inspection like you told her. She said she did but when you asked her who did the inspection; she said that only a house inspector did it. You just shook your head and agreed to visit her that weekend.

There can be a myriad of reasons as to why a septic system failed in just s few weeks of usage:

  1. The previous owner could have just plainly neglected the system and pumped it out a day before the purchase. This is common unethical behavior by homeowners who just want to have the purchase done. They really don’t care if the next homeowner will be happy with the property on a long term basis. To prevent misinformation on your septic system, check with the local septic expert to clarify any possible problems that the property’s septic system could have had untreated and have them corrected before you pay for the property.
  2. There could be mechanical failures that comprise of pipe collapse, deterioration of the system, and blockage by roots. You may never know if there are any structural anomalies in your septic system until the day it actually fails. A good septic inspection should be performed before you move in so that you will know what could potentially cause the failure. If ever there are problems to deal with, any amount spent in making things right should be factored with the amount of the property.
  3. There could be an alteration to the condition of the anaerobic and aerobic bacterial population. The killing off of the bacteria may cause septic odors, sewage ponding, overflow, and septic backups. Bacteria are the basic workers in the septic system. They are the ones that break down the solid wastes and purify the resulting effluent. The alteration of the septic system’s internal bacterial environment could be brought about by the use of harsh chemicals; antibacterial detergents and soaps; and the wrong use of drains, toilets, and sinks.
  4. The unmaintained septic tank could increase the bio-mat level in the drain field that will eventually lead to the system’s failure. As you know, the septic tank should be pumped out and treated regularly. If the previous owner failed to perform regular maintenance then the entire system was bound to fail.
  5. Increase in the septic system’s water load could also be a main cause of septic system failure. If you don’t have a dry well that will take in the grey water from the washing machine and dishwasher, then you would have trouble with how much water actually goes into the septic tank. You should regulate your laundry loads or have a dry well to keep things stable.

By the time you arrived at your sister’s house, the septic expert you contacted was already there. He said that the septic system failed and could still be restored but an aeration system and a dry well should be installed afterwards. It really cost a lot more for your sister to keep an inhabitable house. You took care of the septic service while she covered the treatments and installations. It was the least you can do. Hopefully, she won’t neglect the newly restored system like the previous owner did.

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