Finding Plumbing Issues Early

What Steps Should You Take in a Septic Emergency?

by Chris Bowman

Plumbing emergencies aren't fun, but anything involving sewage takes the problem to a whole new level. If you're in the midst of a septic emergency, it can be easy to panic, especially if you don't know what to do next. Although replacing a septic system can be an expensive endeavor, experienced plumbers can repair many problems that you may face.

The best way to approach your emergency is to take a calm and methodical approach. These steps will help you determine what's causing your issue and ultimately find a way to resolve it.

Step 1: Evaluate

What issues is your septic system currently experiencing? Do you have sewage backing up into your home or visible pooling on your lawn? Are your problems limited to a noticeable odor near your tank or leaching field? If wastewater is entering your home, it's critical to stop using your drains immediately. Sewage can present a severe health hazard, and significant backups can be costly to clean.

Even if you don't have sewage in your home, you'll want to minimize your system usage as much as possible. Pooling water on your lawn or odors may indicate a clog somewhere in the system, and you can potentially make the problem much worse.

Step 2: Pump

As soon as you notice a problem, you'll want to call in professional help to diagnosis the issue. In many cases, your plumber may recommend pumping your tank as a first step. Pumping out a damaged system won't solve your problem, but it may buy a few days or weeks of usage. More importantly, it will provide your plumber with an opportunity to inspect your system.

After emptying your tank, your plumber can check for signs of leakage, cracks, or clogs at the inlet and outlet baffles. They will also check your scum and sludge levels, which can help determine if your problem is due to an overflowing tank.

Step 3: Repair or Replace

Whether you can repair your system will depend mainly on the underlying cause of the failure. A contractor can usually patch a leaking tank, especially if the leak is not too severe. Likewise, problems with the drain pipe from your home or the outlet pipe leading to your drainfield are usually repairable, although you may need some excavation to reach these lines.

Unfortunately, issues with the drainfield itself tend to be more problematic. If your drainfield pipes have become badly clogged or the field itself is failing due to saturation, then your only option may be to replace the entire field. Since drainfield replacement can be expensive, it's best to exhaust all possible repair options first. You can get a second opinion by contacting septic repair services. 

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