The Important Role of Plumbing in Septic Systems

Proper plumbing is crucial for the optimal performance of your septic system because it ensures the safe and efficient transport of wastewater from your household to the septic tank and through the system.

Poor plumbing can lead to significant issues for your septic system. Faulty pipes or fixtures can cause leaks and backups, which not only damage your property but also lead to the septic tank malfunctioning and untreated sewage seeping into the drainfield and potentially contaminating the environment.


How Plumbing Affects Your Septic System

Your septic system is composed of several parts, each playing a pivotal role in wastewater management.

Wastewater first settles in the septic tank, where solids form sludge and less dense substances, like oils and grease, form a layer of scum at the top. The effluent, or liquid waste, then moves to the leach field or drainfield, where it is dispersed into the soil. Microbial activity within the soil and bacteria within the tank are essential for breaking down waste, making regular maintenance vital to keeping everything functioning seamlessly.

The plumbing in your home consists of pipes and pumps that direct sewage from various sources to the main drain. From there it flows to your septic system.

Any issues with plumbing, such as clogs or leaks, could cause sewage to back up or the septic system to overload, leading to premature failure. It’s important to ensure that all components are properly installed and functioning to avoid introducing excessive water or non-biodegradable materials to the system.

Things to look for include:

  • Piping must be clear of roots, which can cause clogs.
  • Regularly check for leaks to prevent excess water entering the system.
  • Avoid flushing harsh chemicals that can disrupt bacterial balance.

Selecting a Plumber When You Have a Septic System

Making sure your plumbing is functioning properly is vital to the longevity and proper functioning of your septic system. That’s why any plumber you hire should have expertise in septic systems to prevent issues that could lead to costly repairs or environmental damage.

Considerations when hiring a plumber include:

  • Qualifications and experience: Ensure the plumber has qualifications specific to septic system maintenance, including knowledge of pumps, drainage pipes and effluent management.
  • Certification: Look for a plumber who is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or other relevant organizations.
  • Local knowledge: A local plumber may have better insight into regional soil conditions and groundwater issues that could affect your septic system.
  • Reputation and reviews: Research and read reviews to gauge the quality of the plumber’s previous septic service work.
  • Maintenance records: A reputable plumber should maintain detailed records of system maintenance, which can be useful for troubleshooting future issues.
  • Service scope: Clarify whether the plumber offers comprehensive septic service, including pumping, inspection and repair.
  • Insurance and warranty: Confirm that the plumber has liability insurance and offers warranties on their work.

Sometimes septic service providers offer plumbing services as well; especially for plumbing that is related directly connected to the septic system.

Common Septic System Issues Linked to Poor Plumbing

The septic system issues that result from poor plumbing can be damaging and costly. Issues include:

  • Main drain failures: Incorrectly installed or maintained main drains can lead to sewage backups into the home. They can also cause leaks into the environment.
  • Groundwater contamination: Poor plumbing can result in effluent seeping into groundwater. This is a risk to both environmental protection and health.
  • Blocked drainage pipes: Inadequate plumbing work can cause blockages in drainage pipes. These blockages disrupt the flow of wastewater and lead to system failure.
  • System imbalance: Poor plumbing can upset the delicate biological balance inside a septic tank. This prevents the breakdown of contaminants and leads to system inefficiency.
  • Unsaturated soil overload: If the effluent isn’t properly filtered due to poor plumbing, it can overwhelm the unsaturated soil in the drainfield. This causes system breakdown and necessitates extensive repairs.

A septic specialist, such as Sonlight Services, which serves Berks, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania, can identify any potential plumbing problems that may affect your septic system.

Regular septic system maintenance by a qualified septic company will help ensure that your system is working efficiently and effectively and can identify both septic and plumbing issues before they become catastrophic.