Home septic systems that have been properly designed and installed are usually able to operate for years, or even decades, with little or no problems. However, that does not mean these systems cannot fall victim to conditions that can damage or impair their ability to function correctly.
Many homeowners do not realize that certain activities can potentially cause serious damage or even render their septic system inoperable. These activities just have to take place in the area above the septic tank. If your home utilizes an on-site septic system and you want to prolong its lifespan, then here are some things to avoid.
1. Avoid Landscaping With Invasive Root Systems
A yard with mature trees, flowering bushes, and lush landscaping is something many homeowners strive to achieve. While beautiful to see, it can be deadly to any pipes, septic tanks, or lateral lines located near them. This is because many types of common vegetation have root systems that are fast-growing, including:
- Pine trees, including white and Monterey Pine
- Hardwood trees, including maple, walnut, and beech
- Softwood trees, including bamboo and willow
- Some types of plants and vines used for ground cover
Invasive root systems are often drawn toward the condensation that can form on the exterior surfaces of septic system pipes and connections. Over time, these roots invade joint seams or even cause fissures and cracks in the pipe.
Once a root breaks through the pipe, other roots quickly penetrate the pipes and form clogs, which eventually stops the flow of waste and water. Clearing the root growth from the pipe is only a temporary fix unless the vegetation is also removed.
In addition to having plants with invasive root systems, dense vegetation over the drain field can interfere with the soil's ability to absorb effluent, causing a decline in function that can result in system failure.
2. Avoid Placing Vehicles, Livestock, or Machinery Above a Septic System
Septic systems also damaged by the weight of heavy vehicles, large livestock, or even lots of heavy foot traffic. In addition, the weight of an above ground swimming pool can compact the soil around the system and even damage the septic tank's components.
For this reason, homeowners should not use the area where their septic system is located to park vehicles, graze large animals, or hold frequent large gatherings.
3. Avoid Home Improvement Projects That Interfere With Absorption
Another common problem with home septic systems may be caused by the homeowner's wish to make better use of the space or to reduce the amount of grass. These desires may lead homeowners to install a pool, a hardscaped outdoor living area, or a sporting surface, such as a cement or clay tennis court.
While these home improvements can be an excellent benefit for the family and may even improve the market value of the home, if they're installed without consideration of the septic system, then they can be very damaging.
To work correctly and efficiently, the liquid that moves from the septic tank to the drain field must be quickly absorbed by the soil in the area where the system is located. When a hard, impermeable surface is placed over the septic system, the soil's ability to absorb moisture will be impaired causing the system to fail.
Here at Allen Turner Septic Tank Service, we are always ready to help homeowners understand how their septic system functions and what they need to do to keep their system working well, year after year. If you have any questions, or if you'd like to schedule a septic tank cleaning or another service, then give us a call today. We look forward to speaking with you soon!