A Guide to Septic Tank Leaks

A leaking septic tank is a major concern. Not only can it affect how well your sewage and home drainage system functions, but it can also pose a health risk to both your family and the environment. To learn more about septic tank repairs and leaks, read on. 

Symptoms of Septic Leaks

Some leak symptoms are noticeable in the environs of the tank. These can include sewage odors in the yard, standing water over the tank, and lush grass growth caused by the high nitrogen content of the leaking sewage. If leaks are occurring at the inlet of the sewer line into the tank, you may also notice slow drains and increasing backups inside your home.

Symptoms can also be less localized, especially if there is a slow leak in the tank itself. You may notice algae blooms in ponds and waterways downslope from the tank, for example. These are caused by the high nitrogen sewage entering the water table. You may also have bacterial blooms in your well water, which can be determined by a standard water test.

Common Causes

A tank can develop a leak for a myriad of reasons, so an inspection is necessary to determine the exact problem. Age is one common factor in tank leaks. Every septic tank has a finite lifespan, which can usually be measured in decades. As the tank reaches its peak age it becomes more prone to rust, splits, and welding failures. If there has been outside damage, such as from cars driving over it or from the use of equipment nearby, the lifespan can be reduced.

Leaks also develop around the various inlet and outlet valves and the baffles between them. These valves can fail due to age, damage, or improper maintenance that leads to an overly full septic tank. Natural soil shift can also cause connections to fail and leaks to form.

Repair Options

Repair options depend on several factors. If the tank has reached the end of its lifespan or suffered damage from rust or punctures, then replacement of the tank may be the only option. In some rare cases, a patch may be an option.

Leaks from inlets and outlet baffles can usually be repaired. Your technician must locate the exact point of leakage. They will then replace the damaged baffle, seal, or sewage line. The system is then tested to make sure the leak has been completely repaired.

Contact a septic tank repair service in your area if you suspect that there may be a leak.