Troubleshooting A Blocked Septic Waste Pipe

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A blocked water pipe between your home and septic tank can be a frustrating and messy problem. It's important to fix it quickly since raw sewage also poses a health concern.

Signs of a Blocked Waste Pipe

Blockage symptoms usually surface inside your home first. Wastewater will come back up drains and toilets, or the drains may not empty at all if the blockage is severe. Often, bathtub or floor drains are the first place backup flow appears. Minor blockages can lead to gurgling toilets and drains or sewage odors coming into the home.

Depending on the location of the block in the waste pipe, you may also find standing water or sewage in the yard as waste begins to leak out around the joint ahead of the blockage. These puddles may be near the tank itself if the blockage is at the baffle leading into the tank, or they may form out in the yard between the tank and house if the blockage is in the main length of the pipe.

Causes for the Blockage

The most obvious cause for a blocked pipe is that the sludge level in your septic tank is too high. Tanks require periodic pumping to remove the excess sludge, otherwise, it backs up into the waste pipe or overflows into your drain field.

If the blockage is in the waste pipe itself, there can be several causes. Tree roots are a common problem. The smallest roots can often wiggle their way through the joints in the pipe. Then, they grow quickly once inside until they form a large obstruction. Putting the wrong types of waste into the pipe can also cause blockages. Diapers, sanitary wipes, hygiene products, and excessive food waste (including grease) are the common culprits for a blocked-up waste pipe.

Repair Options

A blockage caused by an overly full septic tank can only be repaired by scheduling a prompt tank pumping. Your service technician will then help you determine the best schedule to pump on so you can avoid future blockages and backups in the system.

If the blockage is in the pipe, your tech will begin by removing it using either an auger or a high-pressure jet of water. Once the blockage is removed, the pipe is inspected so any damage or leaks can be repaired. Your tech may also advise using treatment to reduce root growth or to change your habits on what goes down the drain.

Contact a septic system service in your area for more assistance.

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