Did you know that over one in 5 households in the United States rely on septic systems? These underground tanks allow homeowners to have their wastewater treated on-site.

Septic systems are more common in places without access to or are far from public sewer systems. However, their long-term cost-effectiveness has also raised their popularity in urban areas. Well maintained, they can last at least 40 years and usually have no property taxes imposed on them.

The keyword here is well maintained, which involves routine septic tank pumping. This is an essential part of its upkeep, which, if not done, can lead to groundwater contamination.

So, as a responsible septic tank owner, it’s imperative to learn the signs you need to get your system pumped. This guide discusses what you need to know, so read on.

1. Last Cleaning Was 3 Years Ago

Your septic system has a tank that stores and treats wastewater. Solid waste, called sludge, sinks to the bottom of the tank, while liquids, called effluent, leave it. The system discharges the treated effluent into a buried drain field nearby.

With solids remaining in the tank, they will collect and pile up over time. If not removed, they can cause septic tank issues, including overflows.

You don’t want that, as wastewater contains hundreds of different types of microorganisms. Many are pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria, viruses, and parasites. They can cause water-borne diseases if they contaminate groundwater.

That’s why you must get your septic tank pumped every 3 to 5 years to keep your home and neighbors safe. You may need this septic tank service more often if you produce more wastewater. For example, you have a large household, but your tank is small.

So, if it has been three years or more since your last septic tank cleaning, please schedule one ASAP.

2. Multiple Slow-Moving Drains

If there’s only one slow-moving drain in your house, it’s likely due to a clog in its drainpipe. Likewise, if you only have one slow-flushing toilet, the problem may be a blockage in its drain line. In this case, you can use a plunger or a plumber’s snake to resolve the issue.

But if such problems occur in more than one drain, the culprit is likely the septic system.

A full septic tank can cause home plumbing issues, such as multiple slow-moving drains. It can also make toilets take a long time to flush (if they’d even do so at all). Aside from inefficient draining, the problematic drains may also produce weird, gurgling sounds.

Please hire a septic tank pumping company as soon as these problems occur. They’re among the most common signs of a clogged or full tank.

3. Sewage or Wastewater Backs Up

When a septic tank fills up completely or becomes blocked, it can no longer accommodate new waste. So, the wastewater will have nowhere else to go but back to your home. It may back up from your floor, shower, or bathtub drains.

Please don’t delay calling a reliable septic system service provider if that happens. Have them come on the same day you experience these issues. This way, they can inspect, pump, and clean your tank ASAP, and you can start using it again.

4. Rotten Egg Smells

Septic tank problems, particularly clogs and overflows, can produce foul odors. The most common is a rotten egg smell generated by hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in sewage. The stench it creates comes from its sulfur content.

Such odors from a clogged or overflowing septic tank are more noticeable near the system. You may also smell them near the drains inside your home.

Even at low concentrations, H2S is a highly toxic gas that can cause health effects. It can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat. It can lead to even more severe health problems at high levels, which can occur in a tightly sealed home.

Please know that sulfur smells can also come from a natural gas leak. If you use natural gas at home and hear bubbling or hissing from a gas pipe, it may be behind the rotten egg smells.

In that case, turn off the gas valve, open your windows, and exit your home immediately. Then, inform your natural gas provider about the potential leak.

If you don’t use natural gas, but your home smells like rotten eggs, the culprit is likely your septic tank. Have a septic system professional pump it as soon as possible.

5. Smelly Water Above or Near the System

An overflowing or damaged septic tank can leak wastewater into the surrounding area. Any excess waste the soil can no longer absorb will then rise. You’ll notice this as damp spots or smelly water pooling above or near your septic system.

Call an expert to deal with and repair your system without delay.

6. Flourishing Flora Near the System

Wastewater contains high levels of “plant food,” namely nitrogen and phosphorus. So when your septic tank leaks or overflows, the wastewater it allows to leave nourishes the soil. Plants, including weeds, can then flourish in these nutrient-packed areas.

That’s great for plants but not your property and human and animal health. Remember: Untreated wastewater is full of disease-causing microorganisms. They can also attract unwanted guests to your property (AKA pests).

If you notice plants looking greener and more lush above or near your septic system, take that as a red flag. Its components may be leaking, or its tank may be overflowing. Either way, please have your system inspected, pumped, or fixed.

Invest in Regular Septic Tank Pumping

From slow-moving drains and toilets to foul smells, all indicate septic system issues. They signal the need for immediate septic tank pumping. Otherwise, they’ll only worsen, giving rise to more severe problems.

You can avoid those issues in the first place by creating a custom schedule. A professional can help by advising you on how often you need your tank pumped. They’ll base this on your household’s specific circumstances.

If you’re ready to have your septic tank pumped, MC Septic Services is happy to assist! Call us now to get your free quote.