A well-constructed and properly installed septic tank is usually a very reliable piece of equipment, but occasionally they can malfunction. Unfortunately, while it is usually easy to tell when your home or business's septic tank system is malfunctioning, it can be much more difficult figuring out why things are going wrong without expert assistance.
Damaged baffles are a common cause of septic tank trouble, but many septic tank owners have no idea what these vital components are or what they do. If you are having problems with your septic system, make sure you haven't overlooked the possibility that your tank's baffles are to blame.
What are septic tank baffles?
All septic tanks have two baffles -- an inlet baffle where the sewage pipe meets the tank, and an outlet baffle, which is fitted to the outlet pipe that lets processed liquids flow into your tank's drain field. These simple devices are shaped to disturb the flow of sewage as it enters and exits the septic tank, fulfilling two important functions; the inlet valve prevents sewage from sloshing around inside the tank, while the outlet baffle prevents solid sewage from entering your tank's drain field.
Most baffles fitted to modern septic tanks are made of durable plastics, which can last for many years of use. Older septic tanks may be fitted with baffles made from concrete; these are also serviceable but tend to degrade relatively quickly due to exposure to corrosive sewage gases. If your tank has concrete baffles, it may, therefore, be particularly prone to baffle failure, although plastic baffles can also fail after extended periods of use.
How can I tell if my septic tank's baffles are malfunctioning?
If the outlet baffle of your septic tank becomes damaged or clogged, it will not properly regulate the flow of treated sewage into your drain field. Malfunctioning inlet valves will prevent sewage from entering the tank, or cause sewage to leak through the joint between the baffle and the inlet pipe.
Problems with either baffle can cause widespread flooding of your tank's drain field, which will eventually become visible as water starts pooling at the soil's surface. This can also pose a health hazard as untreated sewage flows directly into the soil. If a clogged baffle is left unattended for too long, sewage can even start backing up into the plumbing inside your home or business.
What should I do if I think my septic tanks baffles are malfunctioning?
A flooded drain field and clogged sewage pipes are telltale signs that one or both of the septic tanks baffles are malfunctioning. However, these symptoms can also signify other problems. As such, it is always vital to call in a professional septic tank repair service if you are experiencing any of the aforementioned problems. Professional services have the tools and experience necessary to get your septic tank and it's baffles back in full working order as soon as possible.
Companies like American Septic Service can help.