Septic System Problems
During the operating life of a sewage disposal system the soil structure within the soil absorption field will gradually begin to seal with solids. These solids come from the sewage waste itself, bacteriological buildup or waste by-products. As the soil pores seal over the soil gradually loses its ability to absorb sewage eventually causing the system to fail. Wisconsin State Statutes identify the presence of the following conditions as indicators of septic system failure:
When sewage backs up into a dwelling or business a blockage or collapse of the conveyance pipe between the building and septic tank, or between the septic tank and soil absorption field may be the cause. It might also be caused by the run-back of sewage from the absorption field (the field itself is clogged).
If a clogged conveyance pipe is the problem, it will be necessary to remove the blockage or replace the pipe.
If the sewage back up stems from a clogged or overloaded soil absorption field, you may have to replace it if water conservation measures and more frequent septic tank pumping no longer solve the problem. Any soil absorption field will eventually fail with age and use. Once this happens, it’s necessary to replace the soil absorption field. Contact a certified soil tester to find out the type and location of the replacement system suitable for your property.
Any sewage disposal system that uses a soil absorption field works efficiently because it is designed with a minimum 3-foot separation between the bottom of the field and the water table or bedrock. The 3-foot separation is necessary so that wastewater containing bacteria and viruses is filtered before it reaches groundwater or bedrock. An existing soil absorption field installed in soils where the 3-foot separation does not exist is considered a failing system. When these unsuitable soil conditions are verified, you must install a replacement sewage disposal system that complies with plumbing code requirement
Sewage on the Ground Surface
When the soil absorption field becomes clogged or overloaded, sewage may seep onto the ground surface. Although this sanitary waste has been partially treated in the septic tank, when it reaches the soil absorption field it still contains many thousands of bacteria and viruses per milliliter of liquid volume. These pathogens can cause illness, and create odors. The pooled sewage can also become a breeding area for insects.
As a septic system ages, the soil in the absorption field gradually loses its ability to absorb wastewater. Eventually wastewater flows in faster than it can be absorbed. Sewage can then appear on the ground surface over the soil absorption field, over the septic tank or elsewhere on the property. Once this happens, it’s necessary to replace the soil absorption field. Contact a certified soil tester to find out the type and location of the replacement system suitable for your property.