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Septic Tank Maintenance- Troubleshooting guide for your septic tank system.


Septic tank maintenance will help your tank run efficiently and help prevent issues. Specific properties both domestic and residential will have a septic tank system, especially in rural areas. They are found when the property has no access to the main sewage line. The septic tank acts as a sewage system.



Who is responsible for the upkeep of the Septic Tank?


Both domestic and commercial owners are responsible for maintaining a septic tank. Flooding or foul smells can be harmful to the local environment and nearby residents. Poor maintenance of septic tanks (particularly older installations) could result in further issues down the line. There are strict procedures and regulations in place to ensure those responsible for their septic tank carry out the right procedures before problems occur.


How do you know when a septic tank requires an empty?


Septic tanks that require emptying will often be made apparent by bad smells or overflowing of water and sludge. Signs of slower flushing may require the tank being pumped. It also could mean there is a blockage in the pipe from the property to the tank. If you have any issues, Tardis Environmental provide septic tank services to get your septic tank working properly.



Potential issues with your Septic Tank


Here are some common problems people may have with Septic tanks and some possible causes/ solutions to the problems. 

If your tank is over full BUT only when there is wet weather so during or after heavy rain:
  • Check to see if the rainwater is entering your system
  • Check to see if not the rainwater then maybe the surface water is then entering your system instead
  • OR your septic tank maybe too small for your household and needs to be emptied more regularly
If your tank is over full all of the time and not JUST in wet weather
  • The soakaway area may be too small
  • Septic tank could be too small for your household
  • The soakaway may have a large hole that is full up with stones etc 
  • Have a failed percolation area: it has a long trench with a land drainage pipe, it is installed below the site water table or it is placed in a wet area
If your pipes are blocked and the tank is not over full:
  • Check the pipe for a blockage
  • Check for a manhole that has been badly fitted
  • Check for collapsed or sagging pipes.
If there is a bad odour coming from your septic tank:
  • The tank could be backed up
  • There may be a sludge build up
  • Maybe due to the wet weather
  • May not be any air ventilation 
Other Problems:
  1. Sludge build up: This is the main reason that septic tanks back up. They should be emptied once a year.
  2. Sewage odours: This could be caused by a leak, plumbing problems or the septic tank could need cleaning.
  3. Septic filter clogging: This is caused by not having it cleaned on a regular basis.
  4. Tree roots getting into cracks in the tank: This can cause the system to slow down or stop completely.
  5. Phosphates you get from detergents: As this can be a fertiliser that then will encourage algae to grow this can then block the perforations in the distributions pipes. 


Tips for avoiding problems:
  • Keep the amount of water going into the septic system to a minimum e.g. take shorter showers
  • Keep kitchen waste out of the system
  • Do not put non-biodegradable products in the system e.g. nappies
  • Rather than powder dishwasher soaps use liquid or gel, due to the powder containing phosphates. 
  • Do not use the septic system to dispose of toxic materials e.g. paint thinners
Problems can be avoided by regular maintenance. We recommend that you have the tank emptied regularly. We have tankers that operate nationwide for septic tank emptying and de-sludging. Once we empty your tank we can offer a weekly service to empty or schedule more of a periodic emptying. 

Small access point for emptying


  • Our vacuum tanker must be able to push the hose down into the tank to empty the sides of the tank. If the access point is not very wide, it will restrict emptying the tank entirely. This may also be a culprit for septic tanks filling up quickly.


Top tips for maintaining your Septic Tank


  • Only flush waste and toilet paper.
  • Pump out your septic tank before problems occur.
  • Converse water where possible.
  • Arrange an inspection of your tank at least once a year (contact us for more information).
  • Do not pour grease and oil down your sink.
  • Protect the ground area your septic tank is located.
  • If overflowing occurs, check if it contains sludge.


Is your Septic Tank adhering to 2020 regulations?


If you have an old septic tank system, you may not be compliant to the new law that takes places for septic tanks in 2020. The purpose of the laws are to help reduce pollution of sewage. This is preventing septic tanks from discharge waste into a stream or even a river. Check out more on the gov website by clicking here.


Septic Tank Emptying and Cleaning Services from Tardis Environmental

Maintaining is better than failing. Don’t let your septic tank fail before we can solve the problem. Our Tardis operatives will arrive on site to empty your septic tank. To book your septic tank empty & cleaning, give us a call on 0800 731 0589.


septic tank maintenance