Asked on Feb 1, 2012
I had a 40 year old Maple tree about 10' away from a 40 year old septic tank. Guess what happened.
The Maple tree, early in its life, began putting roots into the tank through the sealed top. Yes the top has a sealed z-shaped lid design that is supposed to keep everything out. Well when it comes to trees and roots that is just not going to happen. The roots got in, pushed the lids apart to some degree, over time, and filled the septic tank with roots. The incoming line from the house is filled with roots, the out going drain field line is filled with roots, so of course the system stopped working. We thought that the tank was just full and overdue for a cleaning. Well in a sense it is full, full of roots. There is no discernible solid material in the tank. Apparently the tree sucked up everything except for some of the water. So now it is a matter of removing all of the roots, incoming, outgoing, and those in the tank, pump what is left, clean it up good, and then fix the yard. This is a fairly common scenario and one that needs to be brought to light on a regular basis. Don't plant anything of consequence anywhere near your plumbing lines or septic tank, the roots will always do you in eventually. So that is the bad news. The good news is that the drain field is like new, nothing has gotten in there in 15 years or longer. <(^_^)>