Is My Septic Tank Backing Up? 5 Warning Signs

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Are you wondering if your septic tank is backing up? We’ve seen it all! There are several factors that can influence whether or not your septic tank is experiencing a backup.

Here are five signs to look for when diagnosing if your septic tank is backing up:

1.   Flushed Something Down the Drain

Sometimes common knowledge goes out the window (or down the drain, we should say.) Many people know that they shouldn’t put anything down the drain (other than water, natural waste and toilet paper) however, this is one of the most common reasons septic tanks back up.

It is common for plumbers to find a buildup of hair, items like feminine products, q-tips, “flushable” wipes, and more. 

2.   Sewage Odor And Gurgling Sounds

The first and most obvious sign of backup is the odor. If there’s a strange, persistent odor wafting from your drains or toilet, this could be the first sign of backup. This usually happens when your septic tank overflows, followed by the effluent passing to the drain field, which in turn clogs up your pipes.

If you hear a gurgling sound coming from your pipes, it’s also a sign your septic tank is having issues.

3.   Slow Draining Toilets and Drains.

Another sign of septic tank overflow is if everything is running more slowly than usual. As we mentioned, if the tank overflows, the pipes are clogged.

If any matter flushed down the toilet moves more slowly – another tell-tale sign of backup.

4.   Wet Spots On Your Lawn Or Near Your Property.

If there are some wet areas nearby, this could be a sign that your septic tank has backed up. Other signs may include an area that is sunken-in, the earth feeling spongy or soaked in certain areas, or even discolored grass and dead plants.

5.   Long Time Since You Had A Septic Inspected

The key to keeping your septic tank overflow up is keeping it maintained. If your system has been installed properly, the rest is in your hands.

A good rule of thumb is to get your septic system inspected once a year.

Also, professionals usually recommend you pump your septic tank quarterly. If you haven’t had your tank inspected or pumped in the last year, this also makes a septic tank backup a possibility.

If you’ve checked off a few of these items from your mental list, you may need help from a professional. Luckily, you’re in the right place.

Give us a call or send us an email and we will stop by to inspect the situation.


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Lake Oswego, OR
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My wife and I experienced a hot water pipe busting in the crawlspace. It has been a total nightmare. However, Chris and his team provided expert quality care, with timeliness and the greatest degree of professionalism. I would HIGHLY recommend Alpha Enviornmental!
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Beaverton, OR
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