Troubleshooting Your Septic System

Troubleshooting Septic Tank Installation Problems

Oftentimes, new homeowners must undertake a septic tank installation. Hopefully, you were aware of the faulty tank and negotiated a lower price. Either way, you need to install a new one.

It could be a doubly costly mistake to assume the old septic tank had mechanical issues or was past its day. In fact, the main causes of septic tank failures include high water tables, slopes, and soil with poor absorption.

To ensure problems with your soil or the lay of the land will not cause your septic tank system to malfunction, your septic services installer should evaluate the following potential problems.

High Water Tables

If your old septic system was backing up, a high water table may be the problem. Water flows from the septic tank to the drain field where it is absorbed and filtered through the soil into the water table. The water table is the layer below the soil.

If you have a high water table on your property, the effluent may not be adequately processed. Instead, the water could remain on the surface and lead to a backup. Do not fret. A certified septic services installer will have several viable workarounds, depending on the property. They may include:

  • installing a larger septic tank to avoid the tank being filled
  • placing a filter before the drainage filter to remove contaminants and debris and facilitate drainage 
  • recommending more frequent tank pumping to avoid clogs


The proper installation of septic systems requires the use of precise slopes in leach lines. Both the leach line from the house to the septic tank and from the tank to the drain field should slope downward. If the slope is too flat, though, the effluent may flow too slowly and clog the pipes. Conversely, a steep slope could cause too much effluent to accumulate on top of the soil and prevent proper draining. 

Soil With Poor Absorption 

If the drain field does not have good absorption, pools of water could form above the ground instead of draining. Soils with high clay content, for example, can cause the effluent to form pools in the drain field. Soil with large pores and spacing will allow the water to drain. They include sandy and loamy soils.

If you have clay soil, your septic installation service may recommend:

  • using a larger drain field 
  • developing a seepage pit with a porous lining filter (if regulations allow it)
  • using an anaerobic septic system to break down sewage within the unit 

For more information, contact a septic tank installation service in your area.