The Effect of Your Home Septic System on Your Health and Environment

If you're noticing problems with your septic system, you need to act quickly. A poorly maintained septic system can negatively affect your household, neighbours, and the local environment.

Read on to learn about how a septic system works and how a technician can help you maintain it.


How Does a Septic System Work?

In a septic system, a buried tank holds the wastewater long enough to separate solids from liquids. The liquid exits the tank and seeps down through the drain field, where the soil continues to clean it. Eventually, the water reaches the water table, where it drains to lakes, streams, and wells. 

As time passes, sludge and solids will build up in the tank and fill it up. A septic service technician should pump the tank every 1 to 2 years to remove these solids.


Septic Systems and Your Health

Many households with septic systems rely on well water. If the septic tank fails to work properly, it can contaminate the well water.

Household wastewater from toilets, showers, and sinks can contain bacteria, viruses, and harmful chemicals. In a functioning septic system, this water is treated by bacteria and soil as it travels through the drain field. But a poorly maintained system can overflow, leak, or drain too fast, causing contaminated water to enter the water table.

Contaminated groundwater can taint the water used for household wells or municipal water supplies. If you rely on a household well, septic system contamination can make you severely sick.

Bacteria viruses and parasites are common illnesses caused by wastewater. You can also be at risk from eye, skin, or respiratory infections. Depending on the bacteria in the wastewater, the severity and long-term effects of the illness can range.


Septic Systems and the Environment

The damage from a poorly maintained septic system affects more than just the people within the neighbourhood. Household wastewater contains nitrates, phosphates, and other chemicals that come from household products and sewage. If these chemicals enter the surrounding area, they can cause damage to the environment.

When a septic system stops working, it no longer cleans these chemicals out of the wastewater. Nitrates, phosphates, and bacteria can enter lakes and streams or bubble up on the ground surface. Not only do these pollutants cause human problems, such as infections in swimmers, but they can kill fish, shellfish, and native plants

On the other hand, a functioning septic system minimizes phosphates and nitrogen entering the groundwater and reduces other contaminants. In fact, a well-maintained septic system can treat wastewater just as effectively as a sewer system. Since a septic system doesn't use energy to pump or treat the water, it provides an economical, energy-efficient alternative.  


Signs That Your Septic System Needs Maintenance

Avoid health risks and damage to the environment with regular septic maintenance. A septic system that is filling up or leaking may cause some of these conditions:

  • water pooling on the lawn from clogged pipes or drain fields
  • household water that drains slowly because the septic tank is full
  • foul smells coming from the drains

If you notice any of these signs, call for septic service pumping immediately.


Consult a Septic Service Calgary Professional

If you need septic system assistance in Calgary and around the Foothills area, contact High Country Vac Services. Our company has been providing septic system maintenance since 2007. We offer septic tank cleaning and pumping, in-line camera inspection, and septic system evaluation. 

Call us so that our septic service Calgary professionals can help you take proper care of your septic system right away.