Leaking Septic Tank – Causes, Signs, And Solutions

One of the situations every homeowner dreads is having their septic tanks leaking. Not only will such condition be considered top-tier gross, but it also presents a wide range of risks.

The unfortunate reality is that septic tanks do leak and we’ll be discussing more this situation in this article.

Signs of A Leaky Septic Tank

When a septic system leaks, it doesn’t do so without showing signs. This is a good thing because you’re dealing with a situation that poses significant health risks. The faster it is to spot such signs the better.

Many signs point to a leaking septic tank. These include standing water around the septic tank, foul odor, and a soggy yard. Others include unusual lush vegetation and the backing up of toilets and drains.

Before proceeding, it’s necessary to discuss each of these points as follows;

  • Standing Water Around Septic Tank

When you find standing water around your septic tank, chances are that you’re dealing with a leaking septic tank. This is even more common when the backfill used or dumped after the tank was installed is quite loose.

As time goes on, wet conditions lead to soil compaction. Water escaping or leaking from your septic tank causes loose soils to settle. This situation creates depression.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the standing water you see is from the septic tank.

Such a situation may only be a result of surface water from rainfall as well as from sprinklers. Water usually flows into depressions.

  • Foul Odor

There are several reasons why you may perceive the foul odor from your septic tank.

Apart from the possibility of tank leaks, such odor could also be from a displaced or damaged lid. Drain fields could also give out a foul odor. There are different kinds of lids when it comes to a septic tank.

They include the tank riser as well as the filter access port.

If none of these (displaced or damaged lids) seems to be the cause for such foul odor, then chances are that your tank is leaking out. You’ll need to go closer to the tank to find out where the odor is coming from.

  • Soggy Yard

Is the ground around your septic tank wet and soft?

If it is, then you may be faced with a septic tank leakage situation. Further inspection may reveal otherwise as sprinklers are known to sometimes malfunction.

  • Unusual Lush Vegetation

One of the easiest ways of detecting a leaking septic tank is unusually lush vegetation compared with the surrounding vegetation. The lush vegetation is always found above or around the septic tank.

A further probe will likely prove your suspicions.

  • Backing up of Toilets & Drains

When a septic tank is damaged or leaks, it results in the drain and toilet backup. The logic is simple!

When septic tank leaks happen, groundwater forces its way through open cracks result in a situation where tanks quickly fill up. This rejects any waste coming through the drainage channels.

Where Does Septic Tank Leaks Occur?

Having discussed the signs of a septic tank leak, it’s necessary to shift our focus to the most likely or vulnerable leakage points.

The most likely points for leakage to occur include damaged piping, damaged plastic or fiberglass septic tanks, and damage due to rust (for steel tanks).

Others include sewer lines connecting to the tank, a septic tank cleanout port, or cover, and cracks in concrete septic tanks.

  • Damaged Piping

Leaks may not be found directly on a septic tank itself but damaged piping. This situation introduces surface runoff water into the tank as well as out of it.

Whatever the case is, such a situation isn’t good and repairs need to be carried out immediately.

  • Damaged Plastic or Fiberglass Septic Tanks

Septic tanks are made from various materials. These range from steel, fiberglass, plastic, concrete, and so on. Those made from plastic and fiberglass aren’t as durable as steel septic tanks.

As such leakages are likely to occur at a seam among other points.

  • Damage Due to Rust

Rust is a problem when it comes to steel septic tanks. When it happens, the most affected points are likely to result in the leakage of effluent. Surface water can also find its way into your steel septic tank as well.

  • Sewer & Effluent Lines Connecting to the Tank

Two main pipes connect to a septic tank. These include the sewer lines that supply or channel waste to the tank and effluent lines that leave the septic tank to the drain field.

When these aren’t properly sealed at the point of installation, they could result in leakages.

  • Septic Tank Cleanout Pot or Cover

When a cleanout port is below ground, it’s likely to leak when ground surface water covers the depression.  Strong covers need to be provided to secure such openings.

  • Cracks in Concrete Septic Tanks

Concrete septic tanks are likely to let in water through cracks. Before installation, such septic tanks need to be carefully inspected to determine their ability to hold waste matter.

Finding Solutions To A Leaking Tank

When it comes to leaky septic tanks, urgency should be the watchword. There are several things to do to remedy the situation. Your priority should be to call for professional help.

Technicians will conduct an assessment of the problem and proffer the best approach to adopt.

  • You Also Have Certain Responsibilities

Certain things are required of you.

They include finding out the exact location of your septic tank and inspecting for any more damage. Although technicians will carry out a thorough inspection, you’re expected to at least have an idea of what the problem is.

Pumping water out of your tank into your yard is out of the question. You should NEVER resort to such. Using a soil probe, measure the groundwater depth around your septic tank.

Regulate the use of water. Less water should be used in this situation.

Leaky septic tanks pose all sorts of issues for homeowners. Time is of the essence when you discover such leakages. The faster you act the better. We recommend using professional services to fix any leaky issues.

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