Old concrete septic tank in your garden: keep or remove?

If you have a concrete septic tank in your garden, you might wonder if you want to keep it. We are going to discuss this in detail to help you to make a decision. There are strict rules about a septic tank and you shouldn’t leave an empty tank in your garden.


Finding the tank and inspecting it

The lid of the tanks should be above the ground. If that is not the case, the tank should be within 5 to 25 feet of your home. There are tools to detect the tank underground (for example by using listening equipment to hear hallow parts).

Companies that drain the tank can also deliver an inspection and certified report. It is not cheap to do this. This costs around 500 USD for the inspection and 500 USD to get the tank pumped. They drain the tank and use cameras to check if there are cracks in the drains or tank.

This can help them to determine if the tank still can be used. Tanks often last longer than 20 years if they are taken care of. It is possible that there were reactions in the tank that have destroyed the concrete and then you have to replace it.

The inspector can also take a look at the history of the tank. If it was needed to pump it often, this can indicate that there is a problem with the tank. An inspection can take 1 to 2 hours.

Leaks can contaminate the soil and freshwater. You can get big fines if your tank leaks and damages wells or patches of land. To avoid this, you need to make sure that you have an inspection report that checks all the connections and edges of the tank.

Check if it works for your situation

If the tank is still working, you can keep it. Some people want to replace it anyway as they think that the tank is too small. You might add a second tank or a pump tank to solve this issue but this is not always possible. Keeping the tank is the cheapest solution as you don’t have to change a lot. It is possible to update the drain field as this is easier and cheaper to do.

Most homeowners will prefer this situation but in some areas, concrete septic tanks have to be phased out so check when the rules are changing in your location. Rules change all the time so you have to check what is going on. Some people remove the concrete tank as they believe that they are too fragile and get damaged by sewer gasses. This is possible but there are solutions to this such as using plastic drains in the tank.

Repair the old septic tank

When you notice that there is a crack or issue, it might be possible to add a new liner to the tank. This is mainly done when there are small cracks. Don’t expect to plug big holes with this. If there are holes, it might be needed to check with an engineer to see what is going on. Once the repairs are done, you will have to pay for another inspection. It is possible that you can’t use your sewage tank for a while and this can be very inconvenient.

Liners might not last that long. They can get a great way to extend the lifetime of the tank but eventually, you will have to replace it. Most people opt to replace the tank immediately as they realize that it offers peace of mind. A leaking septic tank can result in a lot of problems and decrease the value of the house.

Replace the old concrete tank

Replacing a tank is not that difficult but it can be quite expensive as you need an excavator to get it done. While you can dig by hand, lifting the tank out is impossible without a machine. You might have to pay to get the tank destroyed as well. All of these costs can add up. In some places, you need a permit and inspection to certify the new tank.

This allows you to reuse the current hole and drain field. It also makes sure that you have peace of mind for a while as a new tank often has a few years of guarantee on it. You can get a fiberglass or plastic tank instead of a concrete one.

Removal of the septic tank.

Leaving a tank sitting empty is not an option as the tank can leak and break down over time. This can result in foul smells or even sinkholes. Local regulators have cracked down on these practices and often demand proof that you removed the tank or took action to make sure that no issues arise.

In some instances, you are allowed to fill the tank with concrete or sand and bury it. this doesn’t happen a lot though as most communities have strict rules when it comes to septic tanks. Crushing the tank is sometimes allowed as well. This can make it cheaper to get rid of it but can be hard to do if there are steel reinforcements in the tank. It is best to hire professionals as they know how to get the job done correctly so that the tank doesn’t leak.

Cities often have plans of where the tank is located so it is impossible to hide it. When the house is being sold, you have to prove that the septic tank is in working order. If the previous owner didn’t disclose the tank, you might have grounds to go after them. It is possible that they have to pay for the costs to remove the tank.

It is possible that you can keep the drain field and don’t have to do anything to it when you remove the tank.

To conclude, we can state that there are several things that you can do with an old concrete septic tank. It often starts with a proper inspection. Be sure to check the local code and get the right permits. It can be difficult to sell a house if things are not in order.

A tank that hasn’t been pumped in a while can result in problems. For this reason, it is often a great idea to get it removed if you find an old septic tank in your garden. This takes some time but makes sure that you don’t have issues later on.