Many of us don’t give much thought to our septic tanks, but if not properly maintained you could face drastic damage to your property and the environment. That was the case for Michigan residents, where the Barry-Eaton District Health Department’s Water Protection Team discovered 1,000 plus septic tank failures from 2007 to 2013 as part of their move to clamp down on septic tank failures.
Luckily for Michigan residents, officials caught the failed systems in the knick of time. According to Michigan Live, health officials claimed that by catching and correcting the failed septic systems, they were able to keep 107 million gallons of raw sewage from reaching surface waters and groundwater in the two counties between Lansing and Holland.
Keeping Septic Tanks in Good Shape
When properly maintained, septic tanks are an excellent way to manage your waste. But without proper maintenance you could face septic tank failure. Septic tank failure is not only messy business but detrimental to the environment. They can contaminate the surface and groundwater resources, which leads to public health and pollution problems.
According to the Massachusetts Government Energy and Environmental affairs, “Inadequately treated sewage from failing septic systems pose a significant threat to drinking water and human health because diseases and infections may be transferred to people and animals directly and immediately. Dysentery, hepatitis, typhoid fever, and acute gastrointestinal illness are some of the more serious examples. Inadequately treated sewage from failing septic systems is the most frequently reported cause of groundwater contamination.”
Don’t wait until your sewage is contaminating your water. If you notice the following warning signs, it’s time to call a professional:
- Sewage backup in the house or yard: This is the worst symptom of septic tank failure and needs professional attention immediately.
- Slow drains: If the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower or bathtub drain slowly, it could point to a problem with either the pipes or the septic system.
- Foul odors: It is likely that you are smelling toxic sulfur and raw sewage has escaped the tank.
- Patch of green grass: This is one of the first signs that you have a septic tank leak. If you notice greener grass it is because that part is getting more fertilization than the rest of the yard.
- Pipe Gurgling sounds: If you flush the toilet or run the water and hear gurgling coming from the pipes it may be an indication the tank is full and needs pumping.
Of course, the key to avoiding septic tank failures is to take preventative measures. The simplest thing you can do to keep your septic tank healthy is conserving the amount of water you use. Use water-saving fixtures and watch your water usage to reduce the amount of water the soil has to absorb, especially during winter and spring. You should also make sure the drain field is covered well with grass to prevent soil erosion and that gutters and drain sprouts do not divert water into the septic tank. In addition, be selective of what goes into the septic system.
Do not dispose of chemicals, solvents, cleaning fluids, paint, motor oil, gasoline, and other similar substances that could kill the good bacteria in the tank and potentially pollute the environment. Finally, regularly pump your tank. This prevents solids from clogging the drainfield. Your tank should be pumped every 3 to 5 years to properly maintain your system.
Catch your septic tank problems early and use regular maintenance to avoid issues in the first place. Call Thistle Plumbing to get your septic tanks pumped and keep your system working. As a fully licensed and insured plumbing company, Thistle Plumbing will provide expert advice and high quality work for a fair price. Get an estimate today and don’t put off your septic cleaning any further.