Signs of Septic System Failure or Malfunction
- Water and sewage from toilets, drains, and sinks are backing up into the home.
- Bathtubs, showers, and sinks drain very slowly.
- Gurgling sounds in the plumbing system.
- Standing water or damp spots near the septic tank or drain field.
- Sewage odors indoors or outdoors.
- System alarms sounding.
- Frozen pipes or soil treatment areas.
- Bright green, spongy lush grass over the septic tank or drain field, even during dry weather.
- Algal blooms in nearby ponds or lakes.
- High levels of nitrates or coliform bacteria in water wells.
Like most components of your home, septic systems require routine maintenance. If maintained, the septic system should provide reliable service for many years. If the septic system isn’t maintained, owners run the risk of dangerous and costly failures. And, septic systems do have an operational lifetime and will eventually need to be replaced.
A failed or malfunctioning septic system is a risk to human and animal health and can pollute the environment. A responsible septic owner is alert to the signs of failure, regardless of the age of the system, and responds quickly when any are discovered. A quick response may save the owner money in repairs and may prevent illness and negative impact on the environment.
Source: Washington State Department of Health & University of Minnesota OSTP