septic tank problems

Do you have septic tank problems?

Septic tank problems such as blocked soakaways, collapsed tanks or systems that are just old and not working can be a real headache if you don’t understand. DJ Wilkinson can help you and give you friendly advice on all of your off mains drainage problems.

The top 3 septic tank problems

1. Blocked Soakaway

Soakaways or drainage fields, as correctly termed, are ground infiltration systems used for the dispersal of partially treated waste water from septic tanks and sewage treatment plants. They should consist of a carefully designed and installed system of pipes that disperse effluent to the ground in a correct manner. They should be carefully designed and constructed to BS6297:2007. Unfortunately most “soakaways” consist of nothing more than at best a “herringbone” land drain or at worst a pit filled with rubble. Both of these construction methods do not comply with Environment Agency Rules and Regulations and can lead to enforcement action due to ground and surface water pollution.

A poorly constructed soakaway will eventually block and cause flooding from the septic tank or will mean that the septic tank requires emptying on a frequent basis. Soakaways will block because of poor ground conditions, such as being waterlogged or containing heavy clay. They may also block due to root infestation from nearby trees or from silt deposits from a damaged or ineffective septic tank. Even correctly designed and installed drainage fields can eventually stop working over a long period of time.

2. Collapsed or damaged baffle

All septic tanks consist of a large tank, whether it be brick built, concrete, fibreglass or plastic which is separated into 2 smaller chambers. The partition which creates these chambers is referred to as a “baffle”. A baffle is in place to separate the solids, fats oils and greases from the inlet or settlement chamber from the outlet chamber.

If these baffles collapse or become damaged then the heavy solid sludge will contaminate the outlet chamber meaning that no separation or treatment is carried out and untreated effluent and solid waste flows through the tank and directly into the soakaway.

3. Damaged or missing T-Piece (dip-pipes)

Dip pipes are extremely important in the function of a septic tank. They provide an additional filter for wastewater between the internal chambers removing the surface scum and floating waste and oils. If a T-Piece is damaged or knocked off during emptying then fats, oils and greases as well as surface scum will flow out from the outlet and into the soakaway causing blockages and permanent damage.

septic tank problems


The above image is a lateral septic tank. “Onion” septic tanks work in exactly the same way but with vertical flows and a different positioning of the baffle. Some tanks have a solid baffle with internal T-Pieces.

How do I solve my septic tank problems?

The above septic tank problems can all be solved. The cost will usually depend on individual circumstances and the type of septic system you have. Soakaways can be cleared or replaced to an approved standard. A damaged baffle can also be replaced although usually a replacement tank would be advisable. Damaged T-Pieces can also be replaced but again, sometimes a new tank may be worthwhile.

Can I claim on my household insurance?

Yes. Usually the above septic tank problems can be rectified under your current household insurance policy. It is advisable to let an independent consultant to manage your claim for you. DJ Wilkinson can handle you claim from the initial enquiry to carrying out the remedial works without you having to deal with your insurance company. Contact us or click here for more information.

I suspect I have a problem but I am not sure?

If you suspect you may have septic tank problems and are not sure give us a call and talk it through. You may be experiencing smells, effluent puddling on the surface of grassed areas, gurgling toilets, ground movement and voids appearing or signs of pollution in or around watercourses. Firstly, don’t panic! Give us a call. We can give you FREE and impartial advice. We can arrange for an engineer to visit your property and assess any problems and discuss options with you.

Contact us today! We are here to help.

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