There is too much water in the septic tank but the wastewater is not going anywhere. Well, that’s concerning because something bad is going to happen soon!
But you are not alone with the issue of the septic tank full of water not draining. Plenty of people are facing this already.
So, I will talk about why this happens, what are consequences, and what to do about it including some home remedies for your full septic tank.
Stay with me for a while.
Why Is The Septic Tank Not Draining Fast Enough?
When you are aware of the possible causes of having a full septic tank, it will be easier to take corrective measures.
So, let’s talk about some of those common possible reasons first:
- A Clogged Septic System
Ask yourself first – ‘When was the last time you pumped your septic tank out?’
If the answer is within the last 2 years, probably there is nothing wrong with the septic tank itself. Yet, if you are experiencing a problem where it’s not draining well, there may be a clog somewhere between the septic tank and your home.
Let’s figure out where is the clog…
Most probably, there is something wrong with the drains or the effluent filter. If your drains are draining slowly, there is a clog in one of the pipes.
If you flush stuff like diapers, smaller packets, hair spools, etc. down the toilets, they will clog those pipes and you will have a slow draining septic tank.
However, if the drains are draining well but the septic tank is not draining water and the sewage is gathering near the septic tank – there is a clog in the effluent filter.
But if the effluent filter seems okay, there may be something wrong with the inlet baffle of the septic tank. You can access this part of the septic tank and be sure about this.
Just push the inlet baffle through the access port to unclog it. If you don’t know how to access any of the above, call a plumber.
- Malfunctioning Drain Field
The drain field in the entire septic system plays a crucial role in keeping the entire septic system working and sending the treated effluent back into the soil.
If you have a flooded drain field from a heavy rainfall or snowmelt, the water flow will back up and the water level in the septic tank will rise.
As the soil can’t absorb incoming treated wastewater, the septic tank will have trouble draining.
- Septic Tank Installed Wrong
It’s important to install the septic tank properly to keep it functioning years after years. Only an experienced professional septic company can have it installed the right way.
It’s not so uncommon when people buy a really old home and have no idea who installed the septic system in the first place.
Since it’s installed deep underground, you don’t know its present condition as well. Many things can go wrong like having the wrong soil for the drain field or installing the wrong septic tank size.
So, it’s always wise to have your septic tank inspected by a professional to figure out whether there are any installation mistakes in the first place.
- Don’t Forget The Tree Roots
The tree roots can infiltrate the drain pipes and cause clogged drains which will lead to a backed-up septic tank that won’t drain easily.
Other than the drain pipes, tree roots can infiltrate sewer pipes as well. So, it’s important to treat your pipes with root growth inhibitors if there are larger trees nearby the septic system.
Besides, you can have a new drain pipe that can withstand and prevent such infiltration in the first place.
- Sudden Increase of Water
Having a septic tank full of water when it rains is normal but sometimes it can be due to increased use of water suddenly too.
Your septic tank has a certain capacity. So, if you have any long-term guests or you are having regular parties, there will be too much water in the septic tank and it will overflow.
If your septic tank water is pooling in your yard, that’s a potential reason!
Just make sure you have the right size of the septic tank and you will be fine with extra people using your household fixtures.
Misconception on Slow-draining Septic Tank
So, how do you know you have a clogged septic tank?
I am asking this because a lot of people make this mistake where they believe they are having drainage problems from the clogged pipes.
I admit it’s hard to know for sure.
But before you can take any definitive action to deal with your not-draining full septic tank, you need to be sure about this first.
Your septic tank is potentially clogged if all the lower drains in your house become really slow draining suddenly. Sometimes, they will make gurgling sounds too.
It happens because the lower drains (used by the toilets, shower, etc.) are close to the septic tank. So, with a backed-up septic tank, those drains got affected first.
But if you have a slow draining sink or one or two other fixtures but the rest of the fixtures are functioning just fine, you don’t have a clog in the sink.
There is a clog somewhere in the house (usually in the pipe leading to your house).
Fixing Your Clogged Septic Tank Full of Water
By now, you know all the possible reasons for having an overfilled septic tank that is not draining. In my experience, it’s either the clogged drains or the saturated leach field.
If you believe the clogged drains are causing the malfunctioning of the septic tank, then you are welcome to follow my solution.
This is what you should do…
Get baking soda and white vinegar. If you don’t have them, collect them from your local store.
Now, put the baking soda first (½ cup) down to the drain pipes and wait for a few minutes. Then, add 1 cup of white vinegar and wait for at least 30 minutes or until the bubbles stop.
Lastly, flush the drains with boiling water. That should fix the problem.
I have talked about such home remedies for full septic tanks in detail. Go there and read about some other solutions if you are interested.
If it does not, it’s time to call a professional septic system company. I do not recommend dealing with the septic tank directly unless you have the required training.
Lots of bad things happen when an inexperienced person tries to pump or clean the septic tank. Look it up on Google and you will understand the potential risk.
You should call the professional and let them have a look.
Keeping Your Septic Tank Draining
Many people tend to forget to pump out their septic tanks on a regular basis. They won’t pay attention to it until they end up with a backed-up septic tank.
Yes, there are plenty of reasons responsible to have a full septic tank, but you can avoid this just by having it pumped out on a regular basis.
Every 3 to 5 years, almost all types of septic tank need to be pumped out. Of course, the interval depends on some factors like the size of the family, septic tank size, the volume of solid waste, and so on.
When you hire a professional septic tank company to pump it out and do some cleaning, lots of problems associated with the septic tank will get automatically fixed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Stop sending water from your house down the drain immediately. Now, if the drain looks clogged, you can try to unclog it yourself.
But to pump or clean the septic tank, you should always call the septic tank service company.
A septic tank may not drain due to some reasons like the drains can get clogged from the sludge and dirt, saturated ground from heavy rainfall, etc.
Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain and wait for a while. Then add 1cup of white vinegar and wait for 30 minutes. You will notice plenty of bubbles. Lastly, flush the drain with boiling water.
Don’t try to unclog the septic tank directly by yourself. Call a professional.
Your toilets or drains are backing up, slow drainage, foul odor, unusually green grass in the lawn, pooling water, etc. are some of the signs of a problematic septic tank.
Being covered underground completely, the flooding won’t damage the septic tank. But it should be cleaned by a professional if it is filled with silt and debris.
You need to keep calm when your septic tank is full of water not draining and try to figure how exactly what’s causing this. You do not want to see what happens when the septic tank is full!
Pumping out your septic tank once a year or once every 2 years should be more than enough to avoid this situation.
But shit happens and when it does, just call a professional septic system company to solve the problem.