When your septic tank is working properly, you shouldn't even notice its existence. The waste water should slowly drain from the tank into the leach field without making the ground overly soggy or emitting any nasty odors. If your septic tank keeps overflowing -- meaning that there is extra water in your yard, possibly with a foul odor -- it's important to take note, because this is a sign something is wrong. Here's a look at three possible reasons this may be happening, and what you can do about them.
Your tank needs pumping.
Solid waste slowly builds up at the bottom of your septic tank, and oily waste builds up in a floating layer on top. Small amounts of this waste are carried out with the water, but not quickly enough to keep the tank empty. When the waste becomes too plentiful, there's not enough room for the liquid left, and the tank starts overflowing. The solution is to have your tank pumped out. Experts generally recommend doing this every couple of years. If it has been two or more years since you have had your septic tank pumped -- and the overflowing is a rather new issue -- contact a septic tank service, since there's a good chance this is your problem.
You have too small of a tank.
Think back to when the overflows began happening. Did an additional person move into the home around this time? Did you start taking extra showers or washing a lot more laundry? It may be that the septic tank you have is too small for your needs. Every time you use too much water, it overflows. Ask a septic professional to come take a look at your tank and tell you how large it is. Based on your water usage and the number of people in your home, he or she may recommend replacing it with a larger-sized tank.
The ground near your leach field is low and poorly drained.
It could be that the soil in your leach field, which is the area into which the septic tank drains, is becoming saturated with water from another source. If the area near your septic tank seems lower than the rest of your yard, you may want to talk to a contractor about building it up. If there are no drainage ditches that empty the area, digging some could help ensure that this area drains better, so the water released from your septic tank is absorbed rather than creating puddles.
An overflowing septic tank is not a problem to ignore, since it could be releasing contaminated water into your yard. Consider the possibilities above, and contact a septic professional to ensure the problem is dealt with safely.