A Homeowner’s Guide To Septic Tank Leaks

Septic tanks work on a straightforward principle: waste in, waste out. When you run your sink, take a shower, or flush your toilet, water flows into your septic tank. Solids and grease collect in the tank while the new water pushes a roughly equivalent volume of liquid effluent into your drainfield. The effluent then disperses and filters through a medium, and everyone lives happily ever after.

Of course, the straightforward operation of a septic system hides numerous potential trouble sources. The tank itself must hold a large volume of waste, which means it's vulnerable to leaks and other issues. These problems can impact your septic system's operation and create a smelly or even hazardous situation on your property.

The Basics of Septic System Leaks

A leaky septic tank creates a two-way flow potential. Water, like most substances, naturally wants to move from an area of higher concentration to one of lower concentration. A crack in your septic tank allows water in the tank to diffuse into the surrounding soil, leaking out of your tank and moving to an area of lower concentration outside.

However, sometimes the reverse situation can also occur. Heavy rains or flooding can saturate the surrounding soil, allowing water to flow into your septic tank through cracks. This situation may be prevalent in areas that already have high water tables since the tank may be sitting just above groundwater under normal conditions.

Both cases can cause severe problems. In the former situation, waste can saturate your lawn, creating noticeable odors and wet spots. In the latter case, excess water entering the tank can cause your system to back up into your home. As a result, it's critical for your septic contractor to perform a leak test whenever you pump your tank.

Resolving Septic System Leaks

Fortunately, you won't usually need to replace your entire septic system if you discover a leak. If your tank seems to be losing water, your contractor will need to drain the tank fully to conduct a more thorough investigation. Your options will depend on the severity of the problem, but you will usually be able to either patch the leak or install a liner.

Note that you should never attempt to inspect or enter a septic tank yourself. Septic tanks contain incredibly hazardous gasses that can cause a rapid loss of consciousness. If you suspect a problem with your tank, always rely on a professional contractor to evaluate and repair your system. Working with a professional will guarantee a safe and effective fix for your leaking tank.

Call a septic tank company, such as Stevee Excavation Inc. if you need help with septic tank repairs.