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The Big Thaw: Spring Troubles To Watch For With Your Septic System

As the ground begins to thaw out in early spring, the soil often becomes saturated. While this is good news for the plants on your property, it can pose a hazard to your septic system. The following are problems to watch for as the ground thaws out.

Sewage backups

No one wants raw sewage to flow into their home. Unfortunately, if the water table rises too high near your drain field and septic tanks, backflow issues can occur. In this case, since the tank can't properly percolate its contents into the drain field, the contents of the tank may begin coming back up the line. At first, you may just get a whiff of sewage from the drains in your house occasionally. There may even be occasional "burps" in the lines that you can audibly hear before you get the sewage odor. Drains and toilets may also empty more slowly than usual. If not addressed, then sewage may start coming up the drains.

As soon as you suspect a backup in progress, call a septic service like LP Murray. They will first verify that the problem isn't with your tank — sometimes a pumping or the removal of an obstruction is all that is needed. If the issue is too high of a water table, you may need to have runoff from elsewhere on your property diverted so the excess moisture isn't collecting in your drain field.

Frost heave damage

As the ground thaws, go take a look at your drain field. Do you see excessive amounts of standing water, or do portions of the ground seem sunken or uneven? If so, your frost heave may have damaged your drain field. Frost heave is a result of freeze and thaw cycles in the soil. When moisture in the soil freezes, it pushes the soil up and out; then it contracts again as it thaws. Repeating cycles of this, which are common in early spring, can cause the drain field to collapse and loose necessary porosity in places.

If not repaired, your septic waters can't percolate through the drain field and become properly sanitized. The result is a slow-moving tank that fills too quickly with sludge. Sewage may also start to collect on or near the surface of the drain field, instead of percolating slowly through the water and soil cycle. A prompt call to a septic service is necessary so you can have the field repaired before overly extensive damage occurs.

For more help, contact a septic company in your area.