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So how do I how if my septic tank is not working?

There are some sewage systems that are easy to diagnose as not working however some systems may need a trained eye to make the call. Below are some signs that your sewage system may not be working:

    Blockages in manholes or slowly draining toilets
    Wet patches in the garden
    The septic tank requires frequent emptying
    Surface water entering the sewage system or leaking manholes
    Wet areas around the septic tank or percolation area
    Nitrates and bacteria in your drinking water test results
    The septic tank is connected to a ditch or stream
    Odours from the septic tank or around the house

Common Faults and Good Maintenance

Being sure that your septic tank is working correctly can be a tricky one if its not being maintained. There are many, many different types of faults that can occur even with the most basic types of septic systems. Causes generally result from incorrect or poor quality, design, installation or just a lack of maintenance.

Let’s look at one very common example of poor maintenance;

Over the years I heard a lot of local myths and tricks that homeowners had implemented to keep their septic system running smoothly. The statement I found to be most common was “I was told that you don’t have to go near a septic tank”. Sometimes just because the homeowner hasn’t had to get their septic tank cleaned for many years does not mean everything is working perfectly!

The best way to think of your septic system is like your car. Let’s say for example, if your car is due a service at 50,000km and you let it run on until 70,000km, would it still drive? It probably would. But the damage would be done in the longer term. The same applies to your septic tank. When excess sludge builds in your septic tank or advanced treatment system the excess build up will continue through the system and into your percolation area or polishing filter. This will eventually result in the percolation area / polishing filter blocking and backing up to the septic system.


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