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Septic tank backing up into bathtub

Why is there poop backing up in my tub?

Over the course of our 10 years in business, I’ve gotten numerous distraught phone calls from potential clients in a panicked state. They’re in serious need of assistance immediately, if not sooner, and I can understand why. If I had poop building up in my tub, I’d be desperate as well. The toilet is practically overflowing onto the floor, the plumbing has been making bizarre “glub, glub” noises for days, and now NOTHING is draining out of the house. It appears that everything is making its way into the bathtub. Those are terrible circumstances, but they occur frequently.


A clog in the main drain line is the first thing to look for.  Clogs are the most common cause of septic waste not being able to leave your property.

Septic backups normally begin in your bathtub, but they always begin in your home’s lowest drain. This implies that if your basement has a floor drain, the excrement will return through it first, but it might also be a washing machine drain pipe, a basement toilet, or a stall shower.

Septic backups are usually initially seen in the bathtub closest to the septic tank if you don’t have a basement. This is because it is the first place where water can backflow.

When the main drain line leaving the house becomes clogged, no amount of plunging or liquid clog dissolver can dislodge the obstruction. (All the other water in the line would dilute it too much.) At this point, you’ll either have to physically clear whatever is clogging things up or call a septic tank professional. (Plumbers in our area, at least, aren’t used to dealing with this type of situation.)

Here are your alternatives if you want to do it yourself…

  • Examine the Drainage Pipe
  • Clean Out Pipe for Outdoor Drain Line
  • Look for a cleanout pipe poking up out of the ground outside your house. It’s a raised square on a piece of capped off PVC pipe. (If you open this pipe and don’t see any water in it with a flashlight, you may need a plumber.) You may be able to clear the clog on your own if you detect water in the pipe and are willing to use a plumber’s snake, such as the one illustrated and available at your local hardware store.

Investigate the Septic Tank from the Inside

Uncover your septic tank (for more information, see How to Locate Your Septic Tank) and clear the clog from the main drain line leading to the septic tank using the plumber’s snake. You could even get lucky and be able to use a stick to push the clog out of the way. (It does happen; it simply doesn’t happen very often.) To inspect the inside of the septic tank, expose the intake side of the lid, open the cover, and look inside.

Is the water-filled pipe leading into the tank? Check after moving the excrement, oil, and paper out of the way. That could be the issue if it’s 34% covered or completely buried. Greywater isn’t leaving the tank and seeping out onto the field or into the leach lines on the other side of the tank for some reason.

You either have a blockage or a plumbing problem if it isn’t covered.

A septic tank that is overflowing is exactly that: overflowing.

It’s due to a problem on the field line or leach line end of the tank if the pipe conveying all of the wastewater from your house to your septic tank is covered, or mostly covered, by water.

The tank would have to be pumped in this situation in order for the wastewater backing up within the house to drain out. Regrettably, this will not address the problem. It just covers it with a bandage and allows you to go about your business as usual…until the tank is fully refilled. Then you might have to deal with the situation all over again.

Pumping the tank might sometimes afford you extra time by allowing the ground around the lines to dry off. There’s no way to know how much time you have until the next backup, though.

To fix a problem with a field or leach line

You may need to contact a septic line installer to fix this issue. For more information and a list of licensed septic system installers, contact your state’s Department of Environment and Conservation. A list of licensed septic pumping contractors is also available.

Oh no, Poo! Sewage is leaking into the bathtub.

You certainly didn’t expect to see sewage pouring up through your bathtub drain right now, even if you smelled it first and realized something wasn’t right. It’s critical to recognize that the problem is with your sewer line, not your bathtub, in order to address it and avoid it from happening again.

Why Is Your Bathtub Filled With Sewage?

When you have raw sewage or tainted water in your bathtub, the issue isn’t with the tub itself, but with what’s beneath it—your sewer line.

Your bathtub empties tub and shower water down your pipes and into your sewer when your plumbing systems are in good functioning order. Your bathtub and toilet drain separately until they reach the main sewage line, which is the main conduit to which all drains in your home lead. All of the drained elements eventually mix and are driven out of your house through a single line: the sewage main.

If there’s a problem with the main sewer line, it’s possible that all of the lines that drain to it will be affected as well. If the main sewer line is stopped in some manner, all of the material that didn’t drain properly (including raw sewage) might build up and end up in unexpected areas, such as your bathtub.

How to Unclog a Sewer Line

It’s improbable that you’ll be able to clear a sewer line obstruction. There are a few things you can do to guarantee that any clogs in smaller connecting pipes are removed. Some of these approaches, however, carry the danger of causing damage to your plumbing system. When it comes to plumbing, it’s best to leave things to the experts.

Cut off the water: If you see a clog in your sewer system, turn off the main water supply. You don’t want more water to flow into existing backed-up places. The main shutoff valve is usually situated in the basement. Removing the cap from an exterior sewer cleanout line will relieve pressure in the pipe and force any sewage backup back down the drain.

Examine your vent pipe: Blocked vent pipes hinder your sewer line from draining correctly. Search your roof for your vent pipe, which is most likely located over your bathroom. Scrutinize the area with a flashlight for anything that could be blocking the pipe. With a retrieval tool, remove any blockages at the top.

Snake the drain: When it comes to eliminating obstructions in your sewage line, drain snakes can be really useful. Feed a toilet drain snake down the toilet, spinning clockwise as you go. This procedure should be used with caution because it can leave lasting marks on the toilet finish. Twist the snake counterclockwise as you draw it out. Remove the shower drain cover by unscrewing the screws and pulling it off. Push the drain snake down the tub drain with the same approach. If your drain snaking is effective, the snake will break the source of the obstruction, allowing your toilet and tub to flow normally.

Bring in the reinforcements: Is your drain still clogged? If your toilet and bathtub are still blocked after trying each of these solutions, you’re dealing with a much greater problem. Midwest Plumbing will find the clog’s source. Whether your clog is caused by tree roots or frying grease, our skilled plumbers have the tools and know-how to get your home’s plumbing back in working order.

The Source of the Issue

So, what may be clogging your sewer line, you might wonder? There are five common causes that are frequently the culprits. Here’s a list of the top five causes that could be causing your connection to break down:

Hair – Hair can build up in your pipes over time, and when combined with other things, it can obstruct drain flow.

Food — Food shards from rinsed dishes can build up in your sewer line and cause a clog.

Cooking oils, grease, and fat are extremely effective at clogging drains and are difficult to remove.

Nature might clog your sewer pipe with dirt, rocks, twigs, tree roots, or rats.

Objects – Any foreign objects in your line, such as bar soap fragments, floss, jewelry, or toys, might cause a blockage.

It’s not always easy to figure out which of the potential suspects is clogging your sewer system.

Symptoms That Your Sewer Line Might Be Blocked

You’ll be able to solve a sewer line blockage in the works long before you step into a shower full of sewage if you can recognize the early indicators of a clog in the works.

Slow and low — If you see water draining slowly from your drains, it could be a symptom of a sewage line problem. The lowest drains in the house are usually the first to be impacted; a floor drain will usually show symptoms before a sink drain.

Gurgling drains — A percolating sound coming from your toilet or any other drain in your home could signal that your sewer line is becoming clogged.

Clogs – These are the most common types of clogs. When toilets or home drains clog frequently, it’s a sign that something is obstructing your sewer line.

Waterlogged sewer cleanout – Some homes have a line that extends to the outside of the house, allowing plumbers to clear blockages more simply. The presence of drained wastewater near the sewage cleanout indicates the presence of a clog.

Migrating water – Laundry water or wastewater backing up into other pipes is a strong symptom of a sewage line backup.

To avoid lasting or costly damage to your home, seek help at the first sign of danger.

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