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5 Reasons Septic Inlet Lines Can Collapse

Repairing Broken Pipe
Septic inlet lines, also called sewer lines because they take the sewage from your house to the sewer or septic system, can last for decades. But they can also fail prematurely or even collapse if something goes wrong.
This collapse can occur years before the line's normal life span should expire or even right after installation if installation is completed incorrectly. Here are five reasons your septic inlet line might collapse.

1. Above-Ground Pressure

If you place a large weight over your septic tank or leach field, things can break. This risk is one of the reasons why experts recommend you don't build anything in these areas, drive any vehicles over the system, or allow animals to graze there. Even if you miss the tank, you could still end up driving over the inlet line, leading to a cracked pipe and inconvenient and costly damage.

2. Freezing

Factors that make a septic inlet line more likely to freeze and burst include infrequent usage, extreme cold, and inadequate insulation. The deeper the line is buried into the ground, the more insulation it has. If your septic tank isn't buried very deep and you anticipate a harsh winter, letting the grass grow a few inches longer before winter sets in can help.

3. Poor Backfill Support

When contractors install a new septic system, they dig a large hole for the tank and add backfill around the tank's sides after it's in place. But if they do not pack down this backfill hard enough, it won't provide enough support for the inlet line that has to pass through.
An inlet line that is not well-supported by the ground below it won't be able to resist the pressure from above as the fill material attempts to settle evenly into the ground. Under this pressure, the pipe can buckle and collapse. This damage can also happen to the outlet line that leads to the leach field.

4. Tree Root Infestation

Tree roots are much more powerful than you would expect of something that starts out the size of a hair. But once one root has found a way into your septic line, others will follow it. Then they all grow like crazy to take advantage of the water-and-fertilizer source they've found.
Pretty soon, all those roots can start to clog the line. If you don't notice and get them removed in time, tree roots can even cause a pipe to burst by placing pressure on it from the inside. Then all you have left is a solid mass of roots and no inlet line structure.

5. Backwards Installation

If the septic tank is installed backwards, the inlet line can end up being below the level of the outlet rather than above it, as designed. As you can probably imagine, this setup works with gravity to drain the septic tank into the inlet line rather than the other way around. This in turn can cause backups and clogging, which could lead to burst and collapsed piping.
Wads of toilet paper, baby wipes, or kitchen disposal debris can all get stuck inside the pipe and damage it from within. The worse a blockage gets, the more likely the pipe is to collapse. Clay pipes are especially likely to do this under pressure.
Whether you're worried something is going on with your septic inlet lines or whether you're just looking to schedule some routine maintenance, Economy Septic Tank Service is here to help. Call us today to schedule your appointment and learn more about the extensive expert services we offer for cleaning, maintaining, and repairing your septic system.