I have a septic tank that was pumped out 6 months ago. The toilets started backing up and one was leaking from the base. I had plumber out, they snaked line to septic tank but said the tank needed to be pumped. Septic company looked at it, said it did not that, contents were clean water, that filter was just clogged. They cleaned filter, snaked line again. Two weeks later the toilet is backing up again and only drains slowly or possibly with help from plunger. Is this a septic problem or a plumbing problem? What is the next step to trying to fix it?

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    How do the other drains work(sinks, bathtubs, washing machine)? If just toilets then plumbing of toilets, if everything then septic system, which might include septic bed(expensive).
    – crip659
    Mar 26 at 14:58
  • one of the early problems was toilet leaking from base when washing machine ran, if that helps. the septic field itself was built 10 years ago
    – Chris94
    Mar 26 at 15:08
  • If the problem was in the septic tank, that should be pretty obvious from the level of liquid in there. If it's risen above the inlet, then you have a possible problem there with the outlet and filter or the leach field itself. This sounds more like a plumbing from the home to the tank problem to me. Have someone come with a sewer cam and run it down the stack to the tank and see what the obstruction is.
    – jwh20
    Mar 26 at 15:21
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    Do the other drains work well now and just toilet giving problem? Have you checked plumbing vent for blockage?
    – crip659
    Mar 26 at 15:21
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    @jwh20 ok, so having a plumber use a cam to look for the problem seems like the next step.?
    – Chris94
    Mar 26 at 15:27

With a freshly pumped tank and cleaned filter your next possibility is a flooded drain field OR a broken /collapsed or line full of tree roots on the line out of the tank to the field.

I have seen broken lines several times after heavy rains that may have slightly lifted plastic tanks (I have never seen this with a concrete tank).

I would be looking for water to be bubbling if a break, at the break or collapsed line. If the line is blocked or field flooded the water will make it out to the surface at the tank in most cases where the tank was opened.

If the house is not elevated much (slab) a slow drain field can cause this after heavy rains. I would not expect a 10 year old field to be plugged unless a garbage disposal was used then quite possibly the field could be plugged up.

Standing water at the drain field location may explain your problem if recent heavy rains and after a few days to dry out the ground won’t be saturated and the system will start working again.

Trees in the area could be blocking the flow I have seen willows almost 100’ away plug a drain field the willow was large. Also cottonwood within 50’ and many other trees and bushes closer cause drain field problems. Digging down is sometimes the only way to find the problem if no water is bubbling up.

  • Thanks for the answer. I had a plumber out who said the line between the cap next to the house and the tank itself was clogged. The tenant assures me they don't put anything down the toilet but 1-ply paper, but there appeared to be wet wipes that clogged in the pipe, so I will have to get them to figure out what they are their children are flushing and to stop.
    – Chris94
    Mar 26 at 18:12

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