How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Rick Your Own Question
Rick, Construction Supervisor
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 22009
Experience:  Licensed Master plumber with 40+ yrs. experience.
Type Your Plumbing Question Here...
Rick is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Single bathroom connected to septic (no other rooms on

Customer Question

Single bathroom connected to septic (no other rooms on septic). Toilet was emptied due to it ghosting flushing. Two weeks later I go to repair it and there is raw sewerage in the toilet bowl that was completely emptied. That specific bathroom is rarely used (at most 1x a month if that) and no other appliances or plumbing fixtures are hooked up to the septic (just that bathrooms toilet, shower & sink). Is it possible it backed up because there was no running water in the toilet (and rarely ever is)? Or is it the septic?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

Welcome to Just Answer, my name is ***** ***** I will do my best to help you with your issue. If my initial response doesn’t answer your question then let me know and we can continue our conversation.

The only way sewage can back up into a toilet if from the septic system. This usually happens when there is a stoppage and a little used system is more likely to clog up

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay - so the toilet not having any water in it what-so-ever for two weeks doesn't affect it? No back-up occurs due to lack of water.
Like stated - the septic is barely used. Really only used for cleaning the toilet and sink occasionally (so no sewerage is going down the pipes). A clog is highly unlikely in this situation. Thus the reason why I am confused it is backing up.
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

A toilet won't back up if it doesn't have any water in it. At least no water can't cause a back up. No water in the bowl can allow sewer odor into the house that's all. Your situation is unusual and if you're sure there nothing else hooked up the the septic then the only other way for water to get into the tank so it causes the toilet to back up is from ground water infiltrating the tank or backing up into the tank from the leaching field.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yeah, there is not much odor. It is just the backed up sewerage that is frankly nasty to look at.
I've ran every other plumbing fixture in the house to make sure that this bathroom is the only one on the septic. (This bathroom in particular is on one side of the house, which is closest to the septic, where as the other bathroom/laundry and kitchen are on the other side of the house). I can actually stand, in the basement, next to where this specific bathroom's piping leaves the home. So I'm positive it is only this bathroom on the septic.To add to it, it did just snow here over night and we had a big rain storm this past week, so I'm wondering if that has anything to do with it. I asked the homeowner when the septic was last pumped and she didn't know. So I'm worried that it hasn't been pumped in quite some time.Do you think it would be okay to empty the bowl? Or would it overflow?
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

Won't hurt to try flushing the toilet. What you can do to prevent an overflow is remove the cover to the toilet tank and push the flapper down to stop the water from going into the tank if it looks like it's going to overflow

Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

Like I said in my last reply ground water could be a cause of the back up. But if you don't have town/city sewer then I'm skeptical that this is the only bathroom on the septic