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A Leaky Septic Tank Is a Lousy One and Needs Attention!

A Leaky Septic Tank Is a Lousy One and Needs Attention!

Unfortunately, there are no glass-housed septic tanks which would allow us to see inside to be sure there are no leaks and everything is always functioning properly. That would be a nice feature, especially in the case of those who may be purchasing a home. I wonder how many home buyers only find out about those things after the purchase has been made. A good thought to keep in mind if you or someone you know is in the home buying process. Always ask for a septic system inspection before you buy! 

How Do I Know If My Septic Tank Is Leaking and if I Need a Septic System Inspection?  

This can be tricky! There is no easy answer, but here are a few things to keep in mind if you suspect that may be the case. 

Unoccupied Homes

There is an outlet pipe in the tank located about 8” – 12” from the top that should be airtight. So even if a home has not been occupied for a few years, there should still be wastewater inside. A leak, of course, would cause the levels to drop which could produce solidified scum and sludge that collect low in the septic tank, making septic cleaning extra difficult and more costly. A leak can be verified by filling the tank to its normal liquid level, waiting a day or two  without running any water inside the house, then re-checking for a level drop.

Occupied Homes

If, however, the home is occupied and the tank is being used, because of the constant influx of water, the liquid level may appear normal upon inspection. This is where it gets tricky. When the tank leaks, it may saturate the ground around it, causing the water to flow back into the tank when the liquid is pumped down. The level of water inside the tank may look normal, yet in reality it is only a false reading, and contaminants are oozing out around the tank. If a house is occupied, however, and the liquid level is low, that is a pretty good indicator that the tank is leaking.

Obvious Signs

Since most tanks have a top and bottom section, where these two sections meet is one of the first places to check for leaks as this is where they will frequently occur.

Oftentimes there will be no odors or outward visible signs of leakage. If, however, you do notice such changes like extremely vibrant patches of green turf grass or areas where vegetation seems to be growing at a much faster rate, that is a pretty clear indicator of a leak – but a bit too late. Most people catching a problem at this stage have waited too long already and may face costly bills for repairs to their system.

Routine Maintenance Is a Must!

A leaking septic tank is dangerous to the environment and to your family. Even if a homeowner is not experiencing a backup in the house or moisture over the yard, that is no guarantee there is not a leak.

Sealing a leaking tank may fix the problem for a short time, but is not a long term solution. Once a tank begins to leak, a replacement is usually recommended. Depending on the age of the system and local regulations, replacing a septic tank may require replacing the entire system. Sometimes this cannot be avoided. But with routine septic system inspections, maintenance and repairs, you could save yourself thousands of dollars.

The septic management plans we have developed are designed to maintain your system in a manner that will extend the useful life of your system as well as protect the health and safety of your family, neighbors, and the environment.

If your system is not functioning as it was meant to when it was installed, we are qualified to renovate your system so that it can function properly. We can meet all of your septic tank cleaning and sewer and drain cleaning needs along with septic repairs and many other services.


Call the office today for more information.



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  • Gary
    February 14, 2018, 3:06 pm REPLY

    Out septic service inspected our concrete septic and adjacent pump tanks on a group system, found cracks, and recommended their replacement. Two of the five households want a second opinion before considering replacement (with the attendant $1,200 to $1,500 added cost for pre-inspection pump outs). Is another interior visual inspection confirming the cracks are indeed present enough to confirm the tanks are leaking? Or is there another test that is more certain? The current tanks date from 1986 – a previous group system – that were repurposed for use in the current (2002) system that succeeded it. Your thoughts are appreciated. System is located on the Northern Neck of Virginia.

  • Braden Bills
    April 27, 2018, 9:58 am REPLY

    I think my septic tank my be having issues. I didn’t know that there are some issues that you can’t even detect without a professional! Maybe I should just find a professional to have them come in and take a look at my system for me.

  • Rhianna Hawk
    September 5, 2018, 12:26 pm REPLY

    I have noticed especially vibrant patches of grass over where I believe my septic tank is, so I’ll definitely get that repaired as soon as possible. We haven’t experienced backup yet, and hopefully we’ll be able to get the tank repaired before it’s too damaged. I’ll be sure to take your advice and invest in a management service after this; taking good care of my tank is important for my family’s health as you say.

  • Nathan Carter
    March 25, 2019, 12:04 pm REPLY

    I like that you state the dangers of a leaking septic tank, and the signs that it’s not holding its contents. I will be keeping an eye out for the signs, and I’ll be hiring a tank repair service if I notice anything. Thanks for the info!

  • Ellen Hughes
    May 16, 2019, 10:26 pm REPLY

    You got me when you said that it’s possible that your septic tank is leaking if you notice that there are areas where your vegetation seems to be growing at a much faster rate. With that in mind, I’ll be sure to hire a professional that can service and inspect our septic tank. There are parts of our lawn that’s always flooded. Our lawn used to have withering plants, so it’s a surprise that our plants are growing healthy.

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