Signs You’re Dealing with a Failing Home Septic System

December 31, 2020

A well-designed and well-maintained septic system should be able to last you for decades. But all systems will begin to fail eventually, and if you think you’re starting to reach the end of your system’s usable life, it’s important to know whether the troubles you’re seeing are indicative of a need for repairs or signs that you need to replace the system entirely.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the most common signs that indicate you’re dealing with a failing home septic system. If you spot any of these signs, reach out to honest plumbing contractors in Conway, SC to schedule service.

Water pooling on your property

There are circumstances in which significant rainfall or a high water table can result in the drain field being saturated, which will prevent the septic tank from draining properly into the drain field. Allow your septic system a chance to catch up by using it less after periods of heavy rain.

If the water is pooling on your property even when there’s no rainfall, this could indicate a problem with your septic system, whether it’s a clog or a poorly-designed drain field. Make sure you have rainwater runoff directing away from the drain field, and that all water lines are at least 10 feet away from the septic system.

Bad smells

If you’ve started to notice the rotten egg odor of sewage, this could be a sign that your system is failing and that some of the sewage gases are backing up through the system into your home.

Make sure you check all exposed fixtures, and then perform a smoke test to see if there’s a leak in the lines. Otherwise, there’s always the possibility that these smells are the result of a dried-out wax seal on a toilet (which seals the bowl to the floor) or a dry trap in the floor drain.


Have you been having more problems with water or sewage backing up into your home? It might come up through the drains in your kitchen, bathroom or basement.

This could be a result of the tank or drain field being too full. In the septic tank, your solids and liquids separate from each other, with the wastewater flowing out into the drain field, where the bacteria get absorbed by the soil. However, if your tank gets too much water too quickly, the tank or the drain field could be overloaded, resulting in backups.

Blockages in pipes can also cause backups in your home. It could be a result of something going down the drain that shouldn’t have, or the roots of trees or shrubs starting to interfere with your distribution lines or drain field.

Slow drains

If you have slow drains, this could indicate there’s a clog or other blockage in the pipe that flows into the septic tank. You should avoid using a drain cleaner to clear out these blockages, as the harsh chemicals could deteriorate your pipes and throw off the balance of bacteria in the tank. Instead, use a natural product or a drain snake.

For more information about septic system problems and how to resolve them, contact Rooter Express today to speak with our honest plumbing contractors in Conway, SC.

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