If you’ve identified a problem with your septic system, be it the backup of sewage into the home or the pervasion of a foul odor, you may be faced with the decision to repair your septic system or replace the tank entirely.
It all depends on the severity and duration of the problem, the age of your septic tank and the likelihood that a quick fix will lead to the recurrence of faults in the future.
Here are a few guidelines to help you choose between septic tank repair and replacement.
Septic System Repair
Certain septic system malfunctions can be repaired fairly easily, including broken pipes that cause water to infiltrate the property and sit, stagnant, between the tank and the drain field.
The repair of a problem like this is likely to be quick and relatively inexpensive. The presence of too many solids in a septic tank may indicate the death of the beneficial bacteria within the unit.
An aerobic treatment aerates a septic tank to facilitate the restoration of its microbiome and the faster decomposition of organic material.
The telltale signs of septic system failure include puddles, foul odors and clogged or gurgling drains. The backflow of sewage into the home is a potentially health-threatening consequence of septic system failure and can contaminate water used for cleaning and cooking.
These generic red flags can indicate the need for repair or replacement, and the correct course of action depends on how old the septic tank it, how quickly the problem was identified and addressed, and how severe the damage is.
Regardless, these symptoms indicate the need for immediate inspection. Having a septic system pumped can buy time for the diagnosis of faults and the creation of potential solutions.
Related article: How to Fix Septic Tank Wet Spots
Septic Tank Replacement
Despite regular maintenance, decades of wear and tear will eventually deteriorate a septic tank to the point where it requires replacement.
One handy indicator of the deteriorating function of a septic tank is that it needs to be pumped more frequently. From this, one can infer that waste is not being decomposed as efficiently as it should be.
While the passing of time can cause a septic system to fail, a simple lack of maintenance and pumping can also lead to problems.
A neglected septic tank will grow a thick layer of solid waste, leaving less room for wastewater and the separation of different materials within it.
The reduced breakdown of organic material within the tank can cause contaminated water to seep out of the drain field and onto the surface of the property, forming puddles.
Failure of the drain field to capture the water and prevent puddles usually indicates a pathology that is not eligible for repairs because the damage is too severe by the time it becomes noticeable.
Groundwater can be tested for the presence of nitrates and bacteria, which, if present, can indicate that the seeping of water out of the septic tank and drain field is occurring and that septic tank replacement is required.
It is vital to entrust the replacement of your septic tank to a reputable contractor that will perform the job thoroughly and safely.