Top 5 Common Septic Tank Problems

Septic tanks are stored away underground, and many people don’t even realise they have one. However, problems can occur, and they can be costly. By knowing what to look out for you can recognise any issues before a real problem has begun. We’ve put together five of the most common septic tank problems below.

Tree Roots

Just like the roots of trees can affect drains and pipes, they can also affect septic tanks. In fact, roots can grow through the walls of septic tanks, causing issues as water from the ground can get in and what’s in the tank can get out. This can stop the entire septic tank system from working correctly, creating a horrible mess within the area and a foul smell.

Dip Pipe Damage

Dip pipes are also known as T-pipes. These are found within septic tanks to ensure the correct type of waste exits the septic tank into the soakaway system or outlet pipe. Dip pipes can be damaged during routine emptying; however, it can cause an issue. A missing or damaged dip pipe can result in the wrong waste getting into the soakaway system.


Septic tanks can be old, some even over 100 years. Modern day septic tanks are very different to their olden day equivalent; older septic tanks did not have dip pipes and would often have a single chamber. Some old septic tanks can be in full working order, but they won’t be as efficient as a modern tank, which could throw up some issues for the owner of the property.


It’s vital that property owner’s empty septic tanks as regularly as possible to avoid a list of problems from occurring. Typically, they need to be emptied around once a year. You can get a professional to do this for you, and may find that a simple emptying is the answer to any problems you have been experiencing, too.

Ground Movement

It may be hard to believe that the ground around your septic tank can shift. This is often unnoticeable to the human eye, but it can put a lot of pressure on the tank, causing fractures and cracks to appear in its walls. Your septic tank will then need backing up and will also need to be emptied more regularly. If ground water enters the tank, it will be unable to separate waste correctly.

At Drain Checker, we can help with cesspit, soakaway and septic tank problems, whether you’ve got a leak or seepage problem, foul smells or overflowing sewage. Get in touch with a member of the Drain Checker team to see how we can help you. Give us a call on 0800 849 8099 or drop us an email via our contact page.