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Help, my septic tank is blocked up!

If your septic tank is blocked up, keep reading because we can probably save you quite a bit of cash.

A septic system is easy to understand, and once you identify the cause of the blockage you can implement the correct cure. (Using Sannitree Bio-Enzymes will of course reduce the incidents of blockages, but it helps to keep in the know.)

The good news is that there are only three possible reasons for your system clogging up:

1. It’s a simple paper blockage in the septic tank pipe

Firstly, if you are lucky, the pipe system leading to your tank could have a simple paper blockage. Follow the toilet exit pipe as it makes its way to the tank. Lift the first lid of the tank and have a squizz inside (yes, things could get smelly down there, but think of the plumbing costs you are saving). You should be able to see the top of a T-Piece pipe which carries the effluent (that’s a fancy name for poo) into the first compartment of the tank. Is it overflowing? If yes, get a stick and have a poke around inside the T-Piece. If it is a simple blockage it will loosen the paper up and your system will flow again. Alternatively, give it a jet of water from your hosepipe (and don’t throw the stick over your neighbours wall).

2. The tank is full of effluent

If things have not improved then you need to consider the second possibility: your tank is full of sh*t. On average, a tank will need to be pumped every 6 years – even if it is being treated with Sannitree Bio-Enzymes. The reason is that as the effluent is broken down it forms sludge on the bottom of your tank. This sludge cannot be broken down any further and needs to be mechanically removed by a suction truck. Ouch! This will cost a few bucks, but at least you have saved on calling a plumber out to tell you something you can figure out for yourself. To see whether your septic tank needs a pump-out, simply lift the second manhole and peer inside. If you can see bits of paper and poo, then call the pump-out people – those solids belong in the first compartment only.

3. The soakaway has packed up

If no signs of effluent are visible, then it means that your soakaway has packed up, and it can get expensive. Tell-tale signs of a clogged soakaway are a raised water level in the second compartment. Is the water level higher than the exit level of the outlet pipe? If yes, you have a more serious problem because fats and soaps have probably passed right through your system and coagulated in the walls of the soak-pit, forming a waxy cocoon that prevents effluent runoff from percolating away into the soil. Sorry, but you need to call a plumber for this. [NB! Do you live in an area with a high water table? Is it winter? If yes, smile and remember that the grass is always greener over the septic tank- the water will subside with the rains.]

Remember – Prevention beats cure!

To prevent problems from occurring in the first place, we suggest that you dose 100g of Sannitree Bio-Enzymes into your tank each month. If you have a high volume of people passing through your property (perhaps you own a B & B) –then we suggest that you also add 100g of Free Flo Granules. This will attack any fats and soaps that pass into your soakaway.

Need some specialised advice? Email us now on info@sannitree.co.za – remember, your poo is our bread and butter!


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