The home septic system requires so little of the homeowner's attention that it is sometimes nearly forgotten. But even this silent, hard-working system can benefit from an occasional visual inspection, just to make sure that it is continuing to hold and process wastewater and solids correctly.
Homeowners who take time to do a periodic visual inspection will be better able to note potential issues in the early stages and minimize the scope and expense involved in making any needed repairs. If you are interested in learning the visual clues of a looming septic tank or system repair issue, the following information will help.
Look for color changes in the lawn
The appearance of a darker green area in your lawn is one of the first visual clues that the septic tank, drain field, or one of the feeder lines has been damaged and is now actively leaking. The combination of extra moisture and the nutrients it offers can quickly create a lush, dark green area of the lawn that is easily noticeable.
Look for changes in the soil
A damaged or leaking septic system can also cause notable changes in the soil over or near the septic tank, waste pipes, and drain field. Some examples include:
- noting an area that seems to stay moist, wet, or muddy, long after the most recent rainfall
- noting an area that suddenly looks depressed, or bowl-shaped, even though it was previously much flatter
- noting an area that has an accumulation of standing water and a detectable odor
Any of these clues noted during a visual examination of the area in which the septic tank and drain field are located can indicate that the septic tank or one of the pipes is damaged and wastewater is being diverted from the system into the soil. The formation of a depression, especially if located over the top of the existing septic tank, can mean that a more serious problem has occurred, such as the complete collapse or rupture of the tank.
Look for indications that wastewater is backing up
Part of visually examining your septic system should always include removing the caps on the clean out ports and using a flashlight to look into the openings. In a healthy septic system, peering down through the clean out ports should not result in seeing any water standing in the lines because it should all be draining quickly into the septic tank when a toilet is flushed, or sink is drained.
Homeowners who look into their sewer clean out ports and see standing water or sewage are seeing a sign that their septic system is failing, and a sewage backup is in their near future.
The fastest, easiest way to deal with any septic system problems is to contact a reputable septic tank repair service as soon as possible.