Septic Tank Leak Guide

Posted on: 25 February 2020


A leaking septic tank is a major hazard. Effluent can pose health dangers to you and your family as well as the surrounding neighbors if the effluent makes its way into the groundwater or a nearby stream. The following are signs that you may have a leak in your tank that needs to be addressed.

Standing Water

Soggy areas and standing water in the yard can be the most obvious external sign of the leak. You will notice the sogginess over the tank and in the surrounding drainfield, predominantly, although it may also occur downslope from the tank in some cases. Not only will the ground be soggy, but the vegetation in the wet area may also be greener and lusher thanks to all the excess nutrients that the effluent is providing.

Foul Odors

Septic systems are designed so that no odors leach out from the tank or drain field. If you get a whiff of raw sewage when near the tank, then you may have a leak. Keep in mind foul odors can also signify other issues, such as a full tank that needs pumping or a collapse in part of the drainfield. For these reasons, you should always call a service for a tank inspection so the problem can be repaired before it gets too severe.

Low Tank Levels

When it comes time to pump the tank, make sure that there is actually something to pump. If you are on a regular pumping schedule and your water usage patterns haven't changed, it can be a major alarm bell for a leak if the tank isn't filled to the expected level. Another red flag is if the ratio of liquids to solids is off, since liquids are more likely to flow from a leak compared to solids. Fortunately, after pumping when the tank is empty is the best time for a leak inspection.

Repair Options

If you do have a leak, it may be possible to repair it. Leaks at pipe and valve joints are typically easily repairable, while those in the tank itself are more challenging. It is possible to have a leaking tank sealed, but consider the repair temporary since it is only putting off the inevitable need for a replacement by a couple of years. Generally, if the tank has formed a leak, the best course of action is to have a new one installed.

Contact a septic tank repair service for more help.