Concrete septic tanks are highly durable, but nothing lasts forever. Most concrete tanks will eventually fail due to deterioration, cracks, and other severe problems. However, you don't need to start thinking about a replacement just because your tank begins to experience these problems. In many cases, repairing your old tank can extend its life for many years.
However, fixing a septic tank is a dirty and potentially dangerous job unsuitable for the typical do-it-yourself homeowner. Instead, you'll want to bring in a septic tank repair professional to handle these repairs for you. If your septic tank is leaking or deteriorating, professionals will use these four steps to help fix the problem and save you from a costly septic system replacement.
1. Drain the Tank
The first part of any substantial septic repair involves draining the tank. Septic tanks contain a dangerous amount of wastewater, making them harmful to work in or around while full. Since most repairs involve removing the tank lid, draining the tank is almost always the first part of any repair job. This step ensures easier access and helps protect workers from dangerous accidents.
2. Uncover and Remove the Lid
Your septic tank contains a cover that provides easy access for clean-outs, but most concrete tanks are also multi-part assemblies. If you have a leak inside the tank, it's necessary to gain as much interior access as possible. In most cases, this process will involve using heavy equipment to remove the concrete lid so workers can enter the tank.
Entering a septic tank is incredibly dangerous and requires the strict use of personal protective equipment (PPE). You should never attempt to work inside your septic tank yourself.
3. Address the Leak
The best way to fix a leak in your tank depends on the problem's severity. Contractors will typically use concrete filler to deal with small gaps or cracks. While repairing the leaking portions of your tank, your contractor will also examine the rest of the tank for signs of cracks or stress. It's a good idea to repair any additional damage at this time to help prevent costly future repairs.
Note that severely deteriorated tanks may require additional rehabilitation, such as using liners. These techniques can help solve major issues without forcing you to replace your tank.
4. Fill and Test
The final step in any septic system repair is arguably the most important. Your septic tank should maintain a steady liquid level while in use, so your contractor will wait for the tank to fill and confirm that the liquid level remains at the appropriate level. This test ensures a successful repair and confirms that your system is free of potentially damaging leaks.