Real Estate & Household

11 Common Infiltrator Septic System Problems

Do you have a septic system at home that you’re struggling with?

Septic systems are never an easy fix, even more so when you have infiltrator septic systems like those found in Florida. These systems are particularly difficult to maintain, and knowing what to do when there’s an issue can be tricky, too.


For this reason, it’s essential that you know the most common infiltrator septic system problems so that you’re ready to deal with them if and when they arise.

What exactly are these problems so that you’re prepared when they happen?

That’s what we’re here to discuss. Keep reading below to learn more.

1. Compacted Soil

Compacted soil occurs when the soil above the infiltrator pipes becomes too dense, making it difficult for water and waste to properly filter through. This can lead to backups and overflows, causing unpleasant odors and potential health hazards.

This can also prevent adequate oxygen from reaching the pipes, leading to the growth of anaerobic bacteria and potential clogs. To prevent these issues, it is important to regularly inspect and maintain the soil above the infiltrator system, aerate the soil when necessary, and avoid heavy vehicle traffic or construction on the area above the system.

2. Root Intrusion

This occurs when tree or plant roots find their way into the system through cracks or loose connections. These roots can cause serious damage by clogging the pipes and preventing proper wastewater flow.

They can break through the walls of the infiltrator chambers, causing them to collapse. The presence of roots in the system can also indicate a leak, which can lead to groundwater contamination and potential health hazards.

3. Clogged Inlets or Outlets

This occurs when solid waste, debris, or other obstructions block the flow of wastewater into or out of the system. These clogs can lead to backups and potential damage to the system, causing unpleasant odors, slow drainage, and potentially costly repairs.

Common culprits of clogging include grease buildup, tree roots, and improper flushing of non-biodegradable materials. Regular maintenance and proper use of the system can help prevent this issue, but if left unchecked, clogged inlets or outlets can cause major disruption to the septic system and the household it serves.

4. Sediment Buildup

Sediment buildup can also occur in the drainage pipes, hindering the flow of effluent and causing system failure. This issue is often caused by poor maintenance and neglecting to regularly pump out the tank.

It can also be exacerbated by using household chemicals and additives that can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the tank. If left unaddressed, sediment buildup can lead to costly repairs and potential health hazards.

5. Hydraulic Overloading

This occurs when the septic tank is unable to handle the large amount of water entering it, causing it to become overwhelmed and unable to properly filter and treat the wastewater. This can happen due to heavy rainfall, excessive water usage, or a malfunction in the system itself.

The result is often sewage backup, foul odors, and potential health hazards. To prevent hydraulic overloading, it is important to properly maintain the system and limit water usage during times of heavy rain.

6. Bacterial Imbalance

This occurs when the ratio of aerobic to anaerobic bacteria in the septic tank is disrupted, leading to inefficient decomposition of solid waste. This can be caused by various factors, such as the use of antibacterial products, excessive water usage, and lack of regular maintenance.

When the bacterial balance is disrupted, it can result in clogged and overflowing drain fields, foul odors, and potentially serious health hazards.

7. Improper Installation

This type of septic system requires a specific grading and backfilling process, which must be done correctly to ensure proper function. When the system is not installed properly, it can lead to issues such as:

  • unstable tanks
  • incorrect placement of pipes
  • inadequate soil compaction

These problems can result in leaks, backups, and system failures, which can be costly and time-consuming to fix. To avoid these issues, it is crucial to hire a professional, experienced installer and follow all guidelines for proper installation to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your infiltrator septic system.

8. Cracked or Damaged Chambers

These chambers are responsible for holding the effluent and allowing it to percolate into the ground. When they become damaged or cracked, leakage can occur, leading to contamination of the surrounding soil and groundwater.

This can result in foul odors, soggy and saturated drain fields, and potentially costly repairs. The most common cause of chamber damage is improper installation or heavy equipment being driven over the drain field.

9. Settling of Soil Cover

Any soil above the infiltration area is responsible for treating and absorbing the effluent from the septic tank, but when it settles, it can cause major issues. This settling can occur due to various factors such as compaction, erosion, or improper installation.

When the soil cover settles, it can create low spots where wastewater can accumulate, leading to system failure. Settling can also damage the distribution lines and prevent proper effluent dispersal.

10. Lack of Maintenance 

When septic systems are not properly maintained, they can lead to various problems. This type of septic system uses plastic chambers to hold and distribute wastewater. It can cause these chambers to become clogged with solid waste, resulting in system backups, foul odors, and potential health hazards.

This can occur in a malfunctioning pump, which can lead to sewage backup and contamination of the surrounding soil. Schedule a septic tank pumping service today to keep your system running smoothly.

11. Freezing in Cold Climates

As the temperatures drop, the soil around the system can freeze, leading to a buildup of ice and preventing proper drainage. This can cause backups, clogs, and even system failures. Frost and ice can damage the pipes and tanks, leading to costly repairs.

Another is the potential for the system to become overloaded during heavy snow or ice accumulation, as the snow can restrict airflow and cause issues with the drains. To prevent freezing, it is important for homeowners to properly insulate and maintain their systems during the winter months.

Safeguarding Your Property on Infiltrator Septic System Problems

Infiltrator septic system problems are common and can have a huge impact on the functionality of your home. It is important to be aware of the potential issues that can arise, such as infiltration by tree roots or excess water, and regularly maintain your system to prevent major repairs.

Take proactive steps toward maintaining a healthy and functional septic system. Don’t wait until it’s too late; schedule a service check today!

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