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Clogged Drain or Clogged Septic Tank? Telling the Difference

A clogged septic tank can create problems that look a lot like a clogged drain. Knowing how to tell the difference can help you take care of your home. Here’s what you need to know. 

Why Do Drains Clog When the Septic Tank Backs Up?

The septic tank is an underground holding tank. All wastewater from the house drains into the septic tank and slowly fills it up. The inlet into the septic tank is typically near the top. Also near the top of the tank is a pipe that leads into the yard, into an area known as the drain field.

When water in the septic tank reaches a certain level, this drain takes the water out of the tank and into the ground around the tank. The soil filters the water and removes the bacteria. When the water from the septic tank reaches the groundwater, it’s relatively clean. 

If the pipe leading into the drain field becomes clogged, the septic tank will fill up without draining water. Eventually, the water will back up into the pipe leading to the house.

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