An integral part of a home’s wastewater management system is a septic tank. But when a septic tank overflows and stops working properly, it can cause a number of unpleasant and possibly expensive problems. In order to act quickly and stop any damage, homeowners must be aware of the signs of a full septic tank.

In this article, we will explore the common symptoms that indicate a full septic tank and discuss the necessary steps to address this problem effectively.

The Importance of Regular Septic Tank Maintenance:

It is crucial to emphasize the importance of routine septic tank maintenance before going into the symptoms. To avoid a septic tank filling up and potentially creating problems, routine pumping and inspection are crucial.

full septic tank symptoms

On average, septic tanks should be pumped every three to five years, although the frequency may vary depending on household size and water usage. Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to an overwhelmed system, backups, and even a complete septic system failure.

Recognizing the Symptoms of a Full Septic Tank:

  1. Slow draining sinks, showers, bathtubs, and toilets are among the earliest indications of a full septic tank. A full septic tank may be the cause of water draining more slowly or several fixtures taking longer to empty.
  2. Persistent Odors: A bad odor that hangs around the drains, toilets, or drain field might be an obvious sign that the septic tank is full. Unpleasant odors might develop when a septic tank is full because the odorous gases created during the decomposition process may escape into the air.
  3. Gurgling Sounds: A full septic tank may be indicated if you hear gurgling sounds emanating from the drains or toilets. When the tank can’t manage the incoming wastewater, air bubbles start to form and ascend through the pipes, which produces the gurgling sound.
  4. Sewage Backup: A severe symptom of a full septic tank is sewage backup. If wastewater begins to back up into the drains or toilets, it is a clear indication that the septic tank is unable to accommodate the incoming waste. Sewage backup requires immediate attention to prevent further damage and health hazards.
  5. Lush and Overly Green Grass: A surprisingly lush and overly green patch of grass near the drain field can signal a full septic tank. When the tank is full, the excess wastewater may saturate the drain field, providing excessive moisture and nutrients that promote plant growth.

Taking Action to Address a Full Septic Tank:

It is essential to act right away to treat the problem if you suffer any of the aforementioned symptoms. The following are the actions to think about:

  1. Contact a Professional: Reach out to a licensed septic tank professional who can assess the situation and determine if the tank needs to be pumped. They will have the expertise and equipment necessary to properly pump and empty the septic tank.
  2. Reduce Water Usage: Until the septic tank is pumped, reduce your water usage as much as possible. Avoid activities that put excessive strain on the system, such as running multiple appliances simultaneously or doing large loads of laundry.
  3. Avoid Flushing Non-Biodegradable Items: To prevent further complications, ensure that only biodegradable waste and toilet paper are flushed down the toilet. Non-biodegradable items can cause clogs and damage the septic system.
  4. Schedule Regular Maintenance: To prevent future issues, establish a regular maintenance schedule for your septic tank. This includes routine pumping and inspection every few years, as recommended by professionals.


Recognizing the symptoms of a full septic tank is crucial for homeowners to take prompt action and prevent potential damage.