Common Septic System Problems

Septic systems often have problems that are not from age and Biomat clogging. Many septic tank problems have solutions that do not require replacement. The suggestions outlined below are merely guidelines. Contacting Septic Genie for assistance is your best first option when you have a septic system problem on your hands.

Common septic system problemsSymptoms of system failure may include:

  • Liquid surfacing or soft spots in the soil over the septic tank or disposal field
  • Green growth or dead spots over septic system
  • Strange noises and gurgling in the plumbing lines
  • Slow draining plumbing fixtures
  • Septic odors in or around the house
  • Complete backup of the plumbing in the house
  • Liquid in septic tank higher than the inlet pipe

Causes of septic system problems and potential failure:

  • Roots in septic tank
  • Roots in disposal field
  • Settling of septic tank
  • Driving over or parking on the disposal field
  • Animals on disposal field
  • Medications or prescription drugs
  • Water softeners
  • Chemicals, paints, oil / automotive products in septic tank
  • Bacteria and enzyme additives
  • Hillside septic systems

Possible simple septic tank solutions:

  • Pumping septic tank
  • Filters (effluent)
  • Bacteria and enzyme additives

Pumping septic tanks. Standard or conventional septic tanks should be pumped at least every five years. If not, solids will build up in the tank. The floating solids can get so thick that the inlet pipe from the house can become blocked and/or solids can leave the tank and settle in the disposal field. Plumbing fixtures, such as toilets, bathtubs and sinks, may drain slowly, make strange gurgling noises or completely stop draining. This can lead to premature disposal field failure.

If you are experiencing failure symptoms, having the tank pumped is a good first step.  After pumping, you will know if the disposal field is functioning properly. If failure symptoms return, it may be necessary to install a Septic Genie in the septic tank to remediate the disposal field.

Effluent filters. Installing an effluent filter will prevent solids from flowing from the septic tank to the disposal field, which may give the disposal field a chance to drain. However, if the disposal field is clogged with Biomat, adding an effluent filter will not eliminate the Biomat that already exists. Only the introduction of aerobic bacteria can clear the Biomat and restore the disposal field.

Installing an aerobic system. Intestinal bacteria prefers an anaerobic environment, so adding oxygen to your septic system will help slow the growth of Biomat. However, an aerobic system by itself does not ensure that ‘good’ bacteria will thrive in the long term.

Bacteria and Enzyme Additives. These are shortterm fixes and can actually cause more harm than good over time. Due to the septic system’s anaerobic environment, ‘good’ bacteria dies quickly and requires frequent addition of new bacteria. If you stop adding new bacteria, failure will likely recur. Enzymes in these products cause more suspended solids in the tank water, solids then pass to the drain field and cause premature septic system failure by clogging the soil around the drain pipes and preventing liquid from flowing into the soil as needed.

Solutions that work for the long term:

  • Replace the drain field
  • Install a Septic Genie

Replace the drain field. This is the most frequently recommended solution by septic professionals. Replacement is effective at extending the life of your septic system. It’s also extremely disruptive and expensive, ranging anywhere from $7,000 to $50,000 or more.

Install a Septic Genie. Septic Genie’s patented Aerobic Bacteria Generator (ABG) system is the only septic tank care method that combines the two elements needed to restore your septic system and drain field:

  • Septic Genie Bacteria Tablets – a powerful species of natural bacteria to digest the wastes from your toilet, along with the other household waste you send to your septic tank (the ‘bad’ bacteria), that causes Biomat.


  • Septic Genie system – creates a perfect environment in your septic tank to help the Septic Genie Bacteria to multiply and eat the solids, and prevent Biomat problems in the future.

Complete our septic questionnaire and speak to one of our septic consultants to see if Septic Genie is the right solution for your septic problems.