Did you know that excessive use of water can lead to septic system failure? Here are three things that happen to your septic system when you overload it with water:
It Interferes With the Biological Balance
The septic system has a delicate biological balance that needs to be maintained if the system is to work as designed. Using too much water can upset this biological balance, resulting in an inefficient waste disposal.
This is easy to understand if you think of the septic system as a living digestion system. The septic tank is filled with bacteria that work on the wastes (the biodegradable ones) and reduce them to harmless states. The bacteria need the biological wastes to survive, and you need the bacteria to break down the wastes. Using too much water interferes with the bacteria/waste balance, leading to an ineffective breakdown of the wastes.
It Can Overload the System
Too much water may also overload the system and cause it to fail. The septic system works best when the effluent takes some time in the tank (where the bacteria works on it) before it is emptied into the drainfiled. The measured flow of effluent also gives the wastes time to separate into liquids and solids, with the solids settling at the bottom of the tank. However, when you use too much water, the effluent is likely to flow out of the tank into the drainfield before the biological processes are complete. This can contaminate the drainfield and the surrounding land and structures, such as wells and farms. At the same time, the solids in the effluent may also block effluent the outlets in the tank, potentially damaging them and causing a backup of wastes in your house.
It Can Drown the Drainfield
Lastly, too much water in your septic system can also drown the drainfield. As previously mentioned, using too much water will mean that the effluent leaves the tank before it is properly treated. The more this happens, the more the drainfield will be filled with water, leading to water logging. Once the drainfield is waterlogged, it will not be effective in absorbing the wastes it is meant to absorb. This increases the risk that the surrounding lands, water, and plants will be contaminated by the dangerous microorganisms in the wastes.
Hopefully, you will be more careful with your use of water now, and your septic system will not suffer. If your septic system seems to be suffering from the effects of too much water, and you are sure you are not using too much water, then there may be a problem with the system. In that case, consult a plumber, like one from Clearwater Plumbing, to diagnose and sort out the problem.