Want to Spot Septic Tank Problems? Ask Your Lawn

Many rural properties away from towns and cities are equipped with septic tanks, since connecting these properties to communal sewer systems is impractical. For the most part, you won't even know the difference, and the system should handle your waste just as well as a large sewer.

The trouble is, when something goes wrong, it's on you to get it fixed, or you'll face some potentially nasty consequences. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to tell when a problem is developing until it becomes bad enough to create unpleasant smells or backed-up drains.

One of the best friends you can have when it comes to your septic tank is simple grass. Since tanks are underground, they often have lawn planted above them, and the state of this lawn can tell you a lot. Here are some of the things to watch out for.

Bright, healthy, green grass

This particular sign often gets ignored. After all, you want your grass to grow well and look as vibrant as possible, right? The problem is when the unusually healthy patch is in a distinctive shape right over your septic tank, or in isolated patches.

This happens because the waste you're flushing away to your septic tank just happens to be an excellent fertiliser. While the grass might like it, it spells trouble for you.

In many cases, it's a leak that's caused by blockages, which can be sorted with a professional tank cleaning. Look out especially for patches of standing water and bad smells.

Turning brown

Where green grass seems like a good thing, you're probably concerned if you spot patches of browning grass around your septic tank. However, this normally doesn't indicate a problem.

The simple reason behind this is that septic tanks aren't that deep underground, so the grass above them has shallow roots. When there's not much rainfall, the lawn will quickly dry out and start to turn brown. You shouldn't water it, however, as this can cause the tank to get blocked and leak.

Yellow grass

Grass that has turned yellow might look alarming, but shouldn't normally be cause for concern. It's often an earlier stage of grass drying out, related to the shallow roots.

In some instances, however, it might be excess waste impairing the grass's ability to photosynthesise effectively. It's worth checking for other signs that your tank might have developed a blockage and need to be cleaned.

Dead patches of lawn

If you're experiencing particularly dry weather, this can cause grass near septic tanks to eventually die. You should have noticed it turning yellow or brown prior to this.

It might also be a sign of contaminants leaching into the soil. If this is severe enough to kill the grass, you're likely to notice strong smells and other signs of a problem. As with the other issues, this is most likely caused by a blockage, so arrange for the tank to be cleaned.

Contact a company like Able Liquid Waste Pty Ltd to learn more.