Posts Tagged ‘leaking’

Leaking Septic Tanks

Saturday, July 28th, 2012
Closeup of leaking cinderblock septic tank

Closeup of leaking cinderblock septic tank

We found another leaking septic tank.  This septic tank was homemade with cinder blocks.  This homeowner had never had it back up into the house, so assumed everything was okay.  During a routine inspection we had to tell them the tank has never worked like a tank and needed replaced.  The sewage was leaking out the septic tank and going straight to ground water.

Leaking Cinder Block Septic Tank

Leaking Cinder Block Septic Tank

Now I understand that there are those that would say, “well, if the sewage leaks out the tank, or the drainfield, what’s the difference?”

Please remember that there are three types of bacteria and pathogens, in human waste, we need to kill before releasing the wastewater back into the environment.  I know this is a hard concept to get a handle on, but when we release the water back into the environment it is recycled.  It heads back down to groundwater, wells pull it back up and it’s fresh water again.  I’m sorry if that grosses anyone out, but it is the truth and is fact.  We must take care of how we treat our wastewater onsite.

What does Septic Mean?  It means that the environment in the septic tank is void of all oxygen.  Or it’s gone septic.  Why is this important?  Well, we have to remember why we are treating wastewater.  There are three important types of bacteria in wastewater we must destroy before releasing into the environment.

1. Aerobic Bacteria and Pathogens:  Need oxygen to survive

2. Anaerobic Bacteria and Pathogens:  Need absence of oxygen to survive

3. Facultative Bacteria and Pathogens:  These are harder to destroy, because they don’t care if there’s oxygen or not.

Now how do we treat all three.  Well.

1. Aerobic Bacteria and Pathogens:  The septic tank is the best place to destroy these.  See being a septic tank, if you took a dissolved oxygen measurement out of the wastewater, it would read zero.  That’s right, there will be no dissolved oxygen in that water.  So the Aerobic Bacteria perish here.  But let’s not forget the other reason we need a septic tank. It’s to separate liquid from solids and only allow liquids to enter the drainfield.  If you allow your septic tank to get too full, it will lose that ability and will send solids out to the drainfield, essentially plugging it up and needing replacement.  (Now I have been asked this)  If the septic tank is leaking out the bottom why is it that it needs repair.  What’s the difference if the sewage gets out of the septic tank or the drainfield.  Please remember, the sewage needs 72 hours of septic tank treatment for clarification and to kill aerobic bacteria found in human wastewater.  If we simply flush the water down to a leaking tank, it’s going to head straight down to ground water without adequate anearobic, anaerobic, or facultative treatment.  We cannot skip any one of these steps as we can hurt our environment and make others very sick. Oh, and possibly contaminate your very own well water.

2. Anaerobic Bacteria and Pathogens:  These don’t like oxygen and will die in the presence of oxygen.  In a traditional septic system’s drainfield.  It is the drainrock that was installed that they die here.  Pretty much as soon as they hit the drainrock.  Now beneath the drainrock there is soil, but that’s the next and final step.

3.  Facultative Bacteria and Pathogens:  These don’t care about oxygen at all.  They will survive either way.  But through plain old friction alone, in the soil beneath the drainrock, they get hung up.  And die.  All within six inches of leaving the drainrock.

Pretty cool stuff huh?

Now it can be a bit hard explaining to a homeowner that they are experiencing problems.  Here’s why.  A homeowner like this one, will say, But I’ve never had a problem.  We’ve never even had to pump it.  In over 40 years.  And now I get to try my hardest to educate and explain to them that the septic tank was not built as a tank at all, and it’s never backed up or needed pumped because it is just leaking into the ground without the 72 hours of septic tank treatment to kill off the harmful aerobic pathogens and bacteria.  But once I can get them to understand how all this is supposed to work, it doesn’t take much for them to let us replace the tank.  And get their wells tested.


Thanks for Reading,




Update Competitor wrote up system failure Final

Monday, December 5th, 2011

This is the final update on our earleir mentioned competitor wrote up system failure.   This was our first time on site.

Here is the link for the second update for when we came back after our initial repairs.  Reason being.  The tank was missing a lid, but we didn’t want to put any money in that old septic tank, unless we knew the drainfield repairs were going to work.  They worked great, drainfield has been taking waste water and the septic tank is separating water from waste as designed.

Now for the final update on this site.  Drainfield was working well as described above.  But the old wooden top would never work.  Wood rots and people fall in.

old septic tank getting new top lid

Prepping old septic tank to install new lid.

In this first picture you can see the septic tank is in operating level.  That is that the water is at it’s designed operating stage.  You can see the newly cured lid with three precast holes in the back ground.  It was in excess of 800 lbs and took a pretty big excavator to get it into place.

There were large roots in this job, about the size of my arms.  This was what really slowed us down.

Prepping septic tank 2

Prepping septic tank 2

The next picture is another prepping of the old septic tank to a new lid.  That is the tenant overseeing the operation for the homeowner who lives out of state.  I always recommend the homeowner putting someone out there that they can trust.  We have nothing to hide, but I hate it when something comes up and the homeowner isn’t there to see with their own eyes.  What we do here isn’t too much rocket science, and I don’t want anyone thinking that we make this stuff up.  I’d rather have someone there to see with their own eyes.

Placing the new septic tank lid on the old septic tank

Placing the new septic tank lid on the old septic tank

In the next picture the excavator is placing the new lid on the old tank.  This is the last time that this septic tank will see the light of day for a long time.  Hopefully a very long time.




final product.  Repairs on septic system complete.

final product. Repairs on septic system complete.

And in this very last image, is the final product.  We put access risers on the septic tank lid to the surface.  Now this homeowner will have instant access to their septic tanks with an allen head wrench.  These lids are water tight and air tight.   Now it was really wet at the time we made this repair, so the dirt is so lumpy and muddy mess.  But we made it look the best we could.  Also the white stuff is the ag lime we placed down to neutralize the bacteria that escaped during the repairs.

When this homeowner was caught off-gaurd with their system failure report from my competitor he was looking at nearly $17,000.00 to put in a new septic system.  He lives in an area where the ground has a difficult time accepting ground water.  These systems get very expensive.  His total repairs with us was under $2,200.00 including the sales tax.

Now that’s a great deal.


So, please. I cannot stress this enough.  People usually assume that all septic service is the same, that the only difference is the price.  Please understand that we run an honest company.   People in our area have told our customers.  If First Call Septic cannot fix the system, it cannot be fixed.  In most cases it can be.  This is one of them.


Thanks for reading,