How to Prevent Septic-Tank Overflow

Septic tanks contain and treat the waste produced in your home in place of a municipal sewage system. However, if not properly maintained, they can leak waste into your home and yard, which is extremely unpleasant and can be a serious health hazard. Thankfully, there are a number of things that you can do to help ensure that your septic tank does not overflow.


Overflows can happen due to damage or obstructions that are impossible to discern from above ground. It is for this reason that you should have your septic tank probed regularly to ensure that it is still in good working order and is unobstructed. This can help you spot an overflow before it happens and address any potential problems. Though probing timelines and usage will depend on the size of your septic tank, a good rule of thumb is to have your tank checked out at least once a year.

Tree Maintenance

One of the most common sources of damage to septic tanks is tree roots growing into the pipes and cracking the tanks. Roots can also work their way into the pipes and clog them, causing the tank to overflow. While this will largely depend on the location of your septic tank and the trees nearby, it's a good idea to contact a contractor and see if you have to remove or transplant any trees in your yard to protect your septic tank.


You should avoid parking vehicles on top of your septic tank, as the added weight can cause the tank to begin to crack and leak waste. While this is not a problem for most homeowners, it's a good idea to mark off the area when inviting people over to ensure that no vehicles accidentally end up on top of it.


Septic-tank treatments involve adding bacteria to your septic tank to help maintain the waste-breakdown process. This might not be necessary for your septic tank, depending on age and type, so you should contact a plumber or other professional to see if you should add treatments to your septic tank.

Waste Disposal

While all of the above tips can help extend the lifespan of your septic tank and prevent an overflow from occurring, the most important step that you can take is taking care to flush only waste and water down your septic tank system. No other materials—even organic materials like food and toilet paper—should be flushed in order to ensure the best possible environment for the bacteria within your septic tank.