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The Causes of Septic Problems

Over the last 45 years, Coulter Pumping and Jones Pumping has encountered many unique circumstances with septic system situations. We have the expertise to provide appropriate solutions to all your septic system needs. From maintenance and repairs to regular inspections, we handle it all. Flushing non-biodegradable wastes down the drain, improper installation, irregular pumping are a few main factors that affect your septic system’s overall performance and life.

How Do I Determine If I Have A Problem With My System?

There are some signs to watch for that may indicate you need to have your system looked at, such as:

  • Toilets, showers or sinks may begin to back up or take longer than usual to drain.

  • The water level in the tank is higher than the outlet pipe.

  • You begin to notice occasional sewer odours.

  • The ground around your tank or the septic field is soggy or flooded.


  • Laundry bleaches, toilet bowl cleaners and caustic drain openers can slow down the treatment process, allowing improperly treated sewage to pass through. Often, these chemicals themselves seep into the ground and may contaminate surface waters or wells. 

  • Do not flush sanitary products, wipes, cigarette butts or grease. These products do not break down like toilet paper and will plug up your system. 

  • Do not connect water softeners or garburators to your septic tank. Furnace condensate discharges, waste flows from home water treatment units and water softener backwash are all strains that your septic system doesn’t need. These should be routed directly to the leaching field. 

  • It is not advisable to plant trees or shrubs near the field because their roots travel great distances to seek water and can plug or damage the pipes. Watering grass over the field should be eliminated as the water affects the soil’s ability to absorb liquids and break down wastes. 

  • Do not drive vehicles or heavy equipment over your septic system or leaching bed. The weight will crush your system and the surrounding soil may also be compacted, making it less able to absorb sewage flows. Snowmobiles compress the snow cover over your field which reduces its natural insulating effect and this can lead to frozen pipes.

What Happens If My Septic Tank Is Not Pumped Regularly?

Organic waste, also known as sludge, builds up in the bottom of your septic tank. Over time, if not pumped out regularly, it builds up to the level of the outlet pipe. It is then carried out to your leaching bed along with the grey water. As the sludge accumulates in your bed, the bed eventually becomes blocked, back up into your tank, and then into your house. Ultimately, your septic bed will need replacing which can be very costly and preventable with regular maintenance.

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