Happy Drains Blog

Problems with septic tanks and cesspits

If you have a septic tank, it’ll be hidden away underground. So any issues could be hidden from view!


But there are some tell-tale signs to indicate you may have a problem. These include bad smells, your toilets not flushing properly, gurgling sounds, your toilets or sinks backing up, and damp areas around your septic tank. If the nearby grass is lush and green even when the rest of your lawn goes brown in the summer, that could be a clue that there’s a problem with your septic tank!


These problems could include tree root damage. Just as they can cause cracks in pipes, they may cause similar damage to the walls of septic tanks. Water could then leak in, or the contents of your tank leak out, meaning the whole system stops functioning properly.

Baffles and dip pipes (or T-pipes) ensure the correct type of waste flows out of your septic tank into your soakaway or outlet pipe. So if these are damaged, maybe the baffle has collapsed or the dip pipes has got damaged during the emptying process, the wrong type of waste can get into the soakaway system with unpleasant results. Please note that older tanks may not have a dip pipe at all, and may have been designed with a single chamber. It may work OK, but it won’t be as efficient as a modern septic tank.

Another problem is ground movement, which could put an enormous amount of pressure on the walls of your septic tank. If the walls then crack, this can lead to major problems! Sometimes though it’s not the ground moving that can cause this – often it is caused by vehicles. For example with some septic tanks in rural properties being located under adjoining farmland, a tractor or other heavy piece of machinery driving on the ground above the tank could cause a collapse!


It’s also important to know if your tank is being emptied regularly. Check how often yours needs emptying. It could be as often as once a year.


The important thing is to act quickly if you notice a problem. Give us a call at Happy Drains, and we’ll come and investigate!