Septic tank leaks are one of the more challenging issues to detect. Minor leaks can often go unnoticed for months, years, or longer. Sometimes, you may not learn about the problem until you pump your tank and discover that the effluent levels are too low. While more severe leaks can produce more noticeable symptoms, any leak can cause serious problems for your home.
If you suspect or know that your septic tank is leaking, it's important to have a professional evaluate the tank and help you develop a repair plan. Ignoring a leak can have numerous serious consequences, including the three described below.
1. Groundwater Contamination
Despite their relative simplicity, septic systems still use careful design to treat and eliminate wastewater safely. A typical septic system feeds effluent into a drain field, where it can seep through a filter medium. This medium develops bacterial colonies that help to consume the harmful pathogens in the wastewater, helping to ensure that it's safe and clean by the time it reaches groundwater.
Leaks from your tank allow untreated effluent to enter the surrounding soil. While small amounts won't cause any immediate problems, larger amounts may eventually contaminate nearby groundwater. This contamination can be an issue if you use a well and may even introduce liability concerns if it pollutes neighboring properties.
2. Reduced Tank Stability
Any septic tank must withstand substantial pressure from the soil above it and to the sides. While concrete septic tanks can physically last for a long time, it's important to ensure they remain structurally sound. A concrete tank with stability problems can potentially collapse, creating a costly issue at best and a severe safety hazard at worst.
A leaking tank likely has cracks in one or more areas, which can affect the tank's structural integrity. In a worst-case scenario, a cracked lid may create a significant hazard for falling or collapse. At a minimum, it's crucial to have an expert inspect your tank, determine if the leaks pose a structural threat, and recommend a repair plan to address any issues.
3. Wildlife and Landscape Damage
Septic leaks can cause the surrounding area to appear more green and lush, but this doesn't mean that leaks are good for the environment or your landscape. While plants will initially love the higher water and nutrient content, pathogens in the waste can be harmful to animals, and the extra water may attract nuisance pests such as mosquitoes.
The longer you allow a septic leak to go on, the worse these effects will become. A severe leak may also lead to further tank degradation, eventually pushing your septic system to the point where a replacement will be your only option. Locating and repairing septic leaks will always prove more cost-effective over the long run by protecting your property and keeping your system functional.
Contact septic services to schedule residential septic tank repairs today.