Septic tanks are a great tool for allowing us to build modern, environmentally-friendly homes in locations without sewer lines. At the same time, septic systems do require regular attention to work normally, and this includes the possibility of having to eventually replace the septic tank. Here are four signs that you may be facing this situation.

Sewer Odor Near the Tank

A working septic system generates no odor. If your tank has cracked and begun to leak, you’ll start to smell raw sewage near it. You may also see soil saturated with gray or cloudy water around the area of the tank. Slower leaks could be indicated with fast-growing, unusually lush grass near the tank. If you think there might be a problem with your septic tank, it would be worth it to try and see if you can smell anything.

Poor Function Indoors

Professionals, like those to be found at Chamberlain Septic and Sewer, can tell you that the normal function of a septic tank requires the free flow of household waste into the tank. Slow drains are a common sign of septic tank problems and can be the result of clogging and residue that has built up over the years. Slow drains, as the name implies, can be observed by how slowly water will drain out of your toilet, sink, or bathtub. They also cause these facilities to back up or leak and produce a bad smell. If you have a slow drain, it shouldn’t be surprising to wake up with foul-smelling water on your bathroom floor. This may be because the line is possibly collapsed or obstructed, or the tank itself could have collapsed. These issues can impair the flow of sewage into the tank, causing the line to back up into the house and creating slow-moving drains.

Changes in the Soil Surface

Your septic tank should have no problem supporting the soil that covers it. The area on top of your tank should remain level and smooth. If you have begun to detect sunken or uneven areas above the tank, it may be because the tank is cracked or partially collapsed. This issue is often detected when homeowners notice bumps or rough areas while mowing or walking around in their yard, and it can be a result of vehicles driving on the tank, poor tank construction, or simply age. Look around your yard for any dips or depressions, or where it’s obvious the ground has shifted.

Frequent Pumping

A family of four should have their septic tank pumped every two or three years. If you’re finding the tank getting full more frequently than that, there could be a problem with the tank. It’s normal for the tank to accumulate solids, but the liquid should be draining out of the tank and into the leach field. Problems with the tank can block this discharge and force more frequent pumping. If you feel like you just called a pumping service only to now have to call again, it may be worth it to see if there is a problem.

Septic problems can become very messy and very expensive quickly. If your tank is showing signs of failure, don’t waste time hoping it will get better on its own. It won’t! Instead, seek professional advice right away. The sooner you let an expert examine your situation and determine what you need, the less your project will cost, and the sooner you’ll get everything back to normal.