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8 signs your septic system is failing

Septic systems can last for decades. However, they also need to be maintained regularly to prevent health hazards and to prevent them from affecting the local environment. A failed septic system is a health and safety hazard.

Exposure to the pathogens found in the sewage water can make humans and animals sick. Faulty septic systems can also contaminate the water bodies and make them unsafe for drinking and use in agriculture, as well as damaging the local marine ecosystem.

8 signs your home septic system is failing

It's important to visually inspect your septic tank and leach field every week and if you observe any of these warning signs, take immediate action to get in a septic system specialist.

  • Slowly draining water from shower, bathtub and kitchen sink
  • Gurgling noise from the drains and plumbing fixtures
  • Sewage backing up into the home
  • Waste overflows from the septic tank
  • Wet areas or standing water near the septic tank or the leach field
  • Strong sewage odour around the system
  • Lush green grass over the septic tank or the leach field
  • Collapsing soil over the leach field
Prevent Septic system failure Let our septic system experts help you.

What happens if your septic system malfunctions?

Septic systems consist of wastewater with a large amount of pathogens and nutrients. When your septic system fails, sewage can make its way into your yard and even your home! Sewage can also make its way into groundwater, lakes and ocean leading to water-borne diseases in humans and animals.

As a septic system owner, you are responsible for the maintenance of your septic system. Take immediate action if you notice any issues and get your system maintained regularly by a wastewater expert.

Why does a septic system not work properly?

Clogged Pipe - if the pipe from the house to the septic tank is blocked, water will drain away slowly and may not drain at all. It may be clogged by root intrusion, foreign objects or grease build up.

Blocked inlet baffle - The inlet baffle to the tank may be blocked by toilet paper resulting in septic system failure. It can be fixed easily by a wastewater professional.

Clogged outlet baffle - A clogged outlet baffle may cause sewage water to back up into your home. This issue can be resolved by cleaning or replacing the outlet baffle.

Failed leach field - The drain field can get saturated with waste over time. It can also fail if you are flushing harmful chemicals, bleach, paint or due to excessive water usage. Driving vehicles over the absorption area can also lead to leach field collapse. A failed leach field can cause the sewage to back up into your home or you might have standing water around the system. Contact a wastewater specialist to assess the damage.

For more information, check out this article - Why do septic systems fail?

How to prevent septic system failure?

Regular maintenance will ensure your septic system works properly 365 days a year. Make sure you get the system pumped out every 3-5 years. Your local wastewater experts can provide specific advice on how often you should get your system desluged. Always replace or repair any leaky fixtures or pipes as soon as you find them and conserve water and be mindful of what you flush down the drain to keep your system healthy.

Take a look at the specifications of your septic system any time you have a change in your household (e.g. renovations to include additional water fixtures, or another person moves in) to see if the arrangement you have is suitable for your added needs.

Check out more tips here on preventing septic failure - Do's and Dont's of Septic Systems?

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If you would like some assistance with your septic system in South East Queensland, give Express Wastewater Solutions a call on 1300 722 517 or complete our online septic system enquiry form and we can discuss your wastewater needs today.

8 signs your septic system is failing Let our experts help you.

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Why Use Express Wastewater Solutions?


    Because we are not a manufacturer and not tied to one particular system we can always offer the best solution for your wastewater needs.


    Because we do this every day we have developed a close knit expert team for every step of the process – from plans and council paperwork to excavations, electrical and plumbing. We handle it all to make the whole process as stress free and quick as possible.


    Most people have never installed a home sewerage treatment plant and don’t know the next step, that is why we offer a free 30 minute phone consult with one of our experts to point you in the right direction.


    We handle your wastewater installation from start to finish we can deal with all the trades, council everything so you don’t have to worry about a thing.


    Have peace of mind knowing that Express are licensed, insured professionals that will do your job right the first time.


    Not sure what system is right for you, or want to know if your system is working properly? Just give one of our friendly wastewater experts a call and they will be more than happy to help.


    We will always look to repair your system rather than replace it if it does not need to be, which will generally save large amounts of money sometimes up to and over $10,000.