What Does it mean if You Have a Full Septic Tank?

What does it mean if you have a full septic tank? Could this cause issues to your system and property?

Septic tanks, in general, stay filled to their normal liquid level, which is between 8 and 12 inches from the top of the tank. If the liquid level goes above the outlet pipe, or approaches the top of the tank, then it’s considered “overfull.” So it’s better to think in terms of an “overfull” tank than a full one, because full is fine while overfull can be bad.

Tanks tend to be overfull when there’s a problem with the absorption area. It’s also likely that there’s a plumbing problem.

If you have a “cleanout” that’s located between your house and your tank, you can look to see if there’s any backup in that cleanout. If you don’t find any sewage backup there, then it’s likely that wastewater isn’t making it to the cleanout and you have a plumbing problem. Now if there is backup at the cleanout, you might have a septic system problem.

Generally, septic tanks should stay at their normal liquid level, with effluent entering the nearby absorption area. Once in awhile, for whatever reason, an absorption area may not be accepting wastewater like you’d hope it would. When this happens, the tank ends up in overfull mode, and while pumping out the tank may help, there’s usually more work to be done to fix the problem.

Freedom Septic Service recommends routinely pumping out your system, while also limiting grease discharge and the use of garbage disposals. Also, never flush acids, polishes, oil, paint or grease down your drains; using biodegradable products is best.

Should you suspect there’s a problem with your septic system, and that your tank might be overfull, please call 410-795-2947 and make an appointment for a professional check-up.

One Comment

John Davidson

Thanks for sharing this post. After years of service, i can honestly say that the best way to keep a septic tank working at its peak efficiency is by continually maintaining it. Septic tanks, if not properly maintained, can easily run into the $10k+ price range to replace them. Thanks again.

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