Preventing Septic Tank Dangers

A well-maintained septic tank is a safe and environmentally safe system that takes care of your home's waste material. It can pose dangers to both you and your pets, however, if it begins to fail. Exposure to septic water can cause certain medical conditions. You must take immediate action if you believe your septic tank is no longer working properly.

Septic Failure

When your septic system works properly, the solid waste that flows into the tank settles on the bottom while oil goes to the surface. These materials are separated in the tank so that only the water moves onto the leach field, the soil around the septic tank. The soil serves to filter bacteria and other contaminants out of the water. When your septic system fails to work correctly, the environment is exposed to harmful waste and your family and pets cannot safely use the backyard.

Negative Effects

When your septic tank is not pumped out regularly or simply fails due to old age, scum and sludge are released into your yard and possibly into the water table, posing problems for your family and others in the surrounding area. For instance, failing tanks release nitrates that are particularly harmful to infants, in some cases, impeding oxygen levels in their blood flow. People can contract many illnesses, including hepatitis, typhoid, and dysentery. Animals can also fall ill due to exposure to these contaminants.


You can help maintain the health of your system by taking a few precautions. You should never put materials like cigarette butts, disposable diapers, thick paper towels, and coffee grounds into your system. Never, ever put grease down your drain. This mistake is a sure way to clog pipes and speed septic tank failure. Most importantly, you need to regularly have your septic tank professionally cleaned and pumped at least once every three years and possibly more often. Your local plumbing professional will be able to advise you on the proper cleaning schedule for your home.

When you take care of your septic tank, the system is perfectly safe for you, your family, and your pets. A failing system can seriously affect your health and even harm the surrounding environment. Your damaged septic tank can even leak contaminants into the water table which can cause people swimming in nearby lakes to fall ill. If you have any concerns about your system, contact a professional, such as those at Maryland Sewer & Plumbing Service, today to help keep everyone safe and healthy.