Common Septic Tank Problems in Indiana Plumbing

Far from the most pleasant topic, you could talk about, however, one that is absolutely necessary, septic tanks are a vital part of modern-day hygiene. When you flush, the waste content which you are disposing of is sent to the septic tank so that it can be broken down by anaerobic bacteria and essentially ferment into a sludge (effluent) formed by the bacteria that falls to the bottom of the tank while greases and oils (scum) are pushed to the top. From there, any effluent is disposed of via a drainage field while scum and other solids are contained by a filter.

Septic Tank Issues

drain field

Depending on the quality of the installation, your septic tank can last from a couple of years to decades, but you should go out of your way to make sure that you get it done right because you really don’t want a busted septic tank. If your septic tank becomes full or damaged in some way, at the very least you will begin to hear gurgling but some of the worst issues could include:

  • Unpleasant odors coming from drains
  • Sewage backing up into the home
  • Standing sewage water around the septic tank
  • Clogging in the pipes
  • Sewage line leaks

The most common septic tank problems come from the simple overuse of water since most septic tanks are designed for a specific water flow volume based on the number of bedrooms in a house, usually 150 gallons per day, per bedroom. When this volume is excessively and routinely exceeded, the septic tank can’t handle the excess, and blockages and backups begin to occur.

The Hoosier State’s Contribution

Failing septic tanks have become common in Indiana with more than 20,000 repairs needed each year and of the approximately 800,000 septic tanks in the Hoosier State, the Indiana State Board of Health has deemed 200,000 of them inadequate. The problems with Indiana’s systems are thought to stem from a multitude of issues such as inadequate soil that can’t properly accommodate conventional septic tanks, old septic tanks that haven’t been replaced, and distributing waste directly to ditches.

These issues mean that even today there are 450 small communities in the state without adequate municipal wastewater treatment and with the average cost of between $3,500 and $10,000 to replace a degrading septic tank, most citizens don’t have the money. However, the proposed House Bill 1287 has been passed which aims to aid or waive the cost of installing a new septic tank for those who can’t afford it.

Preventing Common Septic and Sewer Problems

Whether you have an older septic tank or a newer, more efficient system, maintenance is always required. First and foremost, your septic tank needs to be pumped but fortunately, this only needs to be done every 2 1/2 to 4 years depending on the size of your family.

To avoid common septic tank problems you should have your tanks inspected by a certified On-site System Maintainer but how often this needs to be done depends on your tank. A gravity system tank should be checked every 3 years while other systems such as pressure distribution and sand filter systems as well as their accessories (ATU, MBR) need to be checked annually.

If you need to schedule a septic tank cleaning, pumping, or inspection, don’t hesitate to call Strombeck Bros. at 574-834-2394 any time.

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