If your home has a septic system, you need to have it pumped regularly in order to keep it in good condition. However, when your septic system backs up frequently and you need to have it pumped in order for it to work again, it's typically a sign that the septic tank is filling up too quickly.

This is most commonly caused by an obstruction in the septic tank's drainage system. Septic tanks are designed to filter wastewater rather than hold it, so they fill up extremely quickly when there's no place for the filtered effluent to go. However, it can also be caused when you have no bacteria in your tank or when the volume of water entering the tank is too high. If your septic tank is filling up too quickly, here are four common causes and what you can do to fix them.

1. Clogged Outlet Pipe or Lateral Pipes

When solids from your septic tank exit the tank through the outlet pipe and enter your septic drainfield, they can cause partial or complete obstructions in the pipes.

This problem is most often caused by not having your septic tank pumped regularly. When the level of solids in the septic tank nears, the outlet pipe, the turbulence caused by wastewater rushing into the septic tank can splash solids into the outlet pipe and allow them to exit the tank, causing clogs.

In order to fix this problem, you'll need to call a septic system service to inspect your septic tank and remove any clogs in the lines.

2. Saturated Drainfield

The lateral lines in your septic drainfield slowly leak water into the soil, where soil organisms remove contaminants from the water before it enters the water table. If there's too much water in the drainfield already, the hydrostatic pressure won't allow any new water to enter the drainfield.

Saturation is sometimes caused by heavy rains. It can take some time for rainwater to drain further into the soil. If your tank begins rapidly filling after a heavy rainfall, you may wish to install drainage tile around your drainfield to divert water away from it, preventing it from saturating quickly.

In some cases, however, the drainfield can become deeply saturated and fail. It may require a few decades for the drainfield to become usable again. If your saturated drainfield is unrelated to rainfall, you'll need to call a septic system service company to install a new drainfield and divert your existing septic tank into the new one.

3. Septic Tank Is Inhospitable to Bacteria

Septic tanks rely on numerous bacteria to break down solid waste that's flushed into the tank. If you flush caustic substances such as bleach or drain cleaner into your septic system, you may accidentally destroy all of the bacteria in your tank and prevent future bacteria from surviving there. With no bacteria available to break down solid waste, your septic tank will fill up much more quickly.

The solution for this problem is to have your septic tank pumped in order to remove all of the caustic substances and then remember to refrain from flushing any more into your tank in the future.

4. More Water Is Entering Into the Tank Than It Was Designed to Handle

You may have plumbing pipes draining into your septic tank that don't contain wastewater. A septic tank prevents wastewater from contaminating the soil—water that's clean can be pumped elsewhere. If your home has a sump pump draining into the septic tank, for example, it can cause the tank to fill too quickly. You can call a plumber to have the pipes disconnected from the septic system and rerouted so that they drain elsewhere into the soil.

The second common cause of this problem is rainwater entering the septic tank. This commonly occurs when somebody drives over a septic tank or parks on top of it. The weight of the vehicle both cracks the tank and drives it slightly deeper into the soil, allowing rainwater to enter into it. The flowing rainwater carries small amounts of soil into the septic tank, adding additional solids. If someone has driven on top of your septic tank recently, call a septic system service company and have your tank inspected for damage.

If you feel like you need to have your septic tank pumped too often, have it inspected by a company that provides septic system services. Whether the problem is inadequate drainage, a lack of bacteria in the tank or too much water entering the tank, septic system services like LP Murray can find and correct the problem.