What To Expect From A 40 Year Old Septic Tank? (Solution)

A concrete septic tank can last 40 years to nearly indefinitely, though poor quality concrete or acidic ground water may result in deteriorated baffles or tank components. A conventional septic drain field has a varying life as a function of the soil percolation rate, drainfield size, and usage level.


  • It is not unusual to see old tanks in good shape with precast riser grade rings installed 40 years later that are falling apart. Standing three storm drainpipes on end and pouring a floor in and tank top on them was a common practice. The tank tops starting with the third compartment are badly decayed, while the walls show little or no decay.

What is the life expectancy of a septic system?

Age of the System It’s pretty common for a septic system to last 40 years or longer, which means if you buy a new home, you might never need to replace it. However, you might have an older home whose septic system has been in place for nearly half a century.

Do septic tanks ever need to be replaced?

Unfortunately, septic systems don’t last forever. With regular maintenance and pumping, your septic system can last many years. However, after decades of wear and tear, the system will need to be replaced.

How often should a septic tank be replaced?

Typical lifespan is in excess of 30 years for GRP, PE and concrete tanks. Assuming optimal conditions of install and use, you could expect the following: Steel septic tanks have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years.

How do you know if your septic tank is bad?

8 Signs of Septic System Failure

  1. Septic System Backup.
  2. Slow Drains.
  3. Gurgling Sounds.
  4. Pool of Water or Dampness Near Drainfield.
  5. Nasty Odors.
  6. Unusual, Bright Green Grass Above Drainfield.
  7. Blooms of Algae in Nearby Water.
  8. High Levels of Coliform in Water Well.

What is the most common cause of septic system failure?

Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.

Does heavy rain affect septic tank?

It is common to have a septic back up after or even during a heavy rain. Significant rainfall can quickly flood the ground around the soil absorption area (drainfield) leaving it saturated, making it impossible for water to flow out of your septic system.

How many loads of laundry a day are safe to do with a septic tank?

Spread Out Laundry Loads These use less water which puts less stress on your septic system. Regardless of the type of appliance you have, you should still spread out your loads. Instead of doing several loads in one day, consider doing 1 load per day or space out 2 loads if you must do more in a single day.

What will ruin a septic system?

Any paper products like tissues, paper towels, tampons, or sanitary products, even some heavier toilet paper, will clog your system if you flush enough of it. Wet wipes are another product that you should never flush into a septic system.

How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?

How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.

Can you sell a house with an old septic tank?

If you’re selling a property with a septic tank, then you must be transparent with buyers about the fact the property uses a one and provide a detailed specification of the system. In fact, You are required by law to inform a buyer in writing about the presence of a septic tank.

What are the do’s and don’ts of a septic tank?

DON’T flush material that will not easily decompose, such as hair, diapers, cigarette butts, matches, or feminine hygiene products. DO conserve water to avoid overloading the system. They kill the bacteria needed to decompose wastes in the septic tank and drain field. DO use substitutes for household hazardous waste.

Do septic tanks smell?

A properly-maintained septic tank should be odor-free, so if you notice a bad smell inside your home or outside near the leach field, it’s a sign that there’s a problem. Septic odors are caused by gases in the system, including carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and methane.

Can I shower if my septic tank is full?

Only the water would get out into the leach field in a proper system unless you run too much water too fast. The thing to do is to run your shower water outside into it’s own drain area, but it may not be allowed where you are. Used to be called gray water system.

What to do after septic is pumped?

After you have had your septic tank pumped by a trusted septic company, there are some things you can and should do as the septic system owner.

  1. 1) Get on a Schedule.
  2. 2) Take Care of the System.
  3. 3) Know the Parts of Your System.
  4. 4) Check Other Possible Issues.

How can you tell if your leach field is failing?

The following are a few common signs of leach field failure: Grass over leach field is greener than the rest of the yard. The surrounding area is wet, mushy, or even has standing water. Sewage odors around drains, tank, or leach field.

Should You Buy a House with an Old Septic Tank?

If you’re thinking about buying a property with a septic tank, you might be wondering how long a septic tank will last you. Having this information is essential since repairing a septic tank can cost thousands of dollars. You should know how long your septic tank will last, as well as the condition of the tank, before finalizing your house purchase. The lifespan of a septic tank is determined by a variety of factors, including soil conditions and upkeep. A plastic or fiberglass septic tank, on the other hand, will typically last 30 to 40 years on average.

How to Perform a Septic System Inspection I will argue that having a professional inspect your septic system is the best course of action.

Second, it’s a mediocre position.

However, there are several basic inspections you can perform on your own to determine whether or not there is a problem with your septic system.

  1. Drains take a long time to drain
  2. The toilet flushes at a leisurely rate. When flushing the toilet, gurgling sounds are heard in the pipes. Sewage or rotten egg (sulfur) odor within the house or in the vicinity of the septic system. There is more grass over the septic tank or drain field region than there is elsewhere on the land
  3. And When there is standing water on the ground over the drain field, the ground is soggy. Water overflows into the shower or other low-flowing drains

What is the average cost of a septic inspection? As you might guess, the cost of septic tank inspections varies based on where you reside and who you choose to hire to perform the inspection. Generally speaking, though, it appears to cost between $100 and $250 for the examination. An extra fee, on the other hand, will almost likely be charged if the inspector is required to dig up the tank in order to reach it. Furthermore, if it becomes necessary to empty the tank, the expense will be significantly greater (but since they have already uncovered the tank and are already in it to inspect it, the additional cost to pump may be cheaper than if you were to call them back out at a later date to pump it.) If this is necessary as part of the purchase of a home, the Seller may be forced to conduct a tank pumping or inspection as part of the transaction.

Consult with your real estate agent to learn about the standards in your neighborhood.

What would the cost be if you discover that you require a new septic tank?

Every one of them comes out to around $1 per gallon. As a result, a 1,000-gallon septic tank would cost around $1,000, plus or minus a couple hundred dollars. This is a rough estimate for the cost of a tank alone. Any of these will result in an increase in cost.

  • Removing and replacing the old septic tank
  • Installing a new tank
  • And making repairs to the leach field lines

The installation of the septic tank, on the other hand, represents the most significant cost difference. Septic tanks made of fiberglass or plastic weigh between 300 and 400 pounds, however concrete tanks can weigh as much as 8,000 pounds (or 4 tons!) and require the use of a crane and a vehicle capable of handling such weight in order to be properly installed. A new plastic septic tank may even be purchased from Home Depot or Lowes, which is convenient where we reside. In the event that you already have a truck or trailer to transport it, you will simply need to pay someone to put it in place.

  • In contrast to a plastic tank, a concrete tank should provide you with a longer lifespan and fewer possible difficulties.
  • The tank and installation cost him $2,000, which he paid in cash.
  • The problem with estimating the lifetime and cost of a septic system’s components or the entire system is that everything is dependent on a variety of other factors, including what gets into the system, how well it is maintained, the soil conditions, and so on.
  • Ideally, it should last for at least 20 years.
  • What is the average cost of replacing a drain field?
  • There are several aspects to consider.
  • Grease, fats, and sludge materials may have discharged into the drain field pipes and blocked the pipes and drainage area below them.

It is also conceivable that the ‘hardware’ of the drain field is in good condition, but that the soil is the problem.

Occasionally, this occurs naturally; however, it can also occur as a result of driving or parking across the drain field region.

This is accomplished by the use of a metal probe that is inserted into the ground and forces air down into the earth.

This is also not a cheap cure, as you might imagine.

Although the tank is only one component of the system, it is likely that installation expenses as well as maintenance to other sections of the system, such as the drain field or the soil itself, will need to be considered.

Everything above is an excellent reason to have any septic system properly assessed by a professional before acquiring a home that uses a septic system to handle its waste water.

How Long Will A Septic System Last?

Q:We recently purchased a home that had a septic system that was 20 years old. It’s a simple gravity system with a leach field at its heart. We had the system evaluated before purchasing it, and the inspectors stated that everything “appeared to be in good working order.” The vendors did not keep track of how many times they pumped the tank, although they claimed to have done it “a few times.” How long do you think we’ll be able to get out of this system before it needs maintenance or replacement?

  1. — John et al.
  2. Typical life spans in the business are 20 to 30 years for systems that have been adequately planned and built, have been well-maintained, and have not been overburdened with data.
  3. I just had a conversation about this with a sanitary engineer who has been designing septic systems for more than four decades.
  4. He has also encountered systems that have lasted 40 or more years, although they are the exception rather than the rule.
  5. There are just too many factors to consider.

Don’t Forget Maintenance

Typically, the leach field is the first component to fail in a septic system system (drain field). The drain field is calculated based on the number of bedrooms in the house, with two persons sharing each bedroom. As a result, a three-bedroom drain field may accommodate up to six people. All else being equal, a drain field that receives little traffic will outlive one that receives a lot of traffic. In the case of a three-bedroom system, if only two people use it, low-flow fixtures and appliances are used, and the system is pumped on a regular basis, it should last for many years.

  • Chemicals, grease, and food scraps that are flushed down the toilet will reduce the life of the system.
  • The septic tank is the other main component of the system.
  • Steel tanks often fail after 20 to 30 years, however high-quality plastic tanks can endure for 30 to 40 years with proper care.
  • The lifespan of a system is influenced by a variety of factors.
  • Others, like as proper care and upkeep, are completely within the hands of the homeowner.
  • Routine pumping, household water conservation, and paying attention to what they flush down the drain — no harsh chemicals, paints, grease, food scraps, or other solids — are the most critical aspects that the homeowner can manage.
  • Drainage of yard and roof water away from the drain field is necessary to prevent the soil from becoming saturated.

Drive or park over the field, or use it in any way that may crush the earth, is strictly prohibited! Maintain a safe distance between trees and big bushes, as the roots of these plants might block the perforated drain pipes. Grass provides the most effective ground cover.

Replacement Cost

Drain field failure occurs gradually in the majority of cases when the soil around the leaching trenches becomes clogged with sediments and grease from the septic tank and becomes blocked by the naturally occurring “biomat.” In other circumstances, the drain field may collapse completely (due to high-volume water usage and inadequate pumping). Slow drainage, backups on the lower levels of the home, or moist regions over the leach field with a strong odor of sewage are all indicators of a clogged drain.

If the tank is in good condition and you have a designated area for a replacement drain field, as required in some jurisdictions, the cost of a new drain field will typically range from $3,000 to $10,000.

If you want a fully new system, the cost can easily approach $15,000, and if you require an alternate septic system, the cost can potentially reach double that amount.

New Perc Test?

The majority of municipalities will require that you perform a new perc test and an in-hole test before they will issue a permit to replace your existing leach field or entire septic system. If a site has previously passed the perc test, it is likely that it will pass again in the future. The opposite is sometimes true because site conditions (for example, a higher water table) may have changed, or the town’s test procedures and standards may have changed. It’s possible that you’ll need to upgrade to a more expensive type of “alternative” septic system than the one you started with.

  1. – BuildingAdvisor.com’s Steve Bliss says Continue reading about Septic System Maintenance.
  2. Drainage Slopes for Septic Lines System Inspection of a Septic Tank The minimum lot size for a septic system is one acre.
  3. How much does a perc test cost?
  4. After a failed perc test, should you retest?
  5. Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles
See also:  How Often Does A Septic Tank Really Need To Be Pumped Out? (Correct answer)

5 Signs it’s Time to Replace Your Septic System — BL3 Plumbing & Drain Cleaning

Nobody wants sewage backing up into their yard, and there are a number of things you can do to keep your septic system from malfunctioning in the first place. But there are times when it is necessary to throw up the towel on an old system and make the investment in a new one. Because it is a costly option, you will want to be certain that it is absolutely essential.

In an ideal world, efficient maintenance would preclude the need for replacement for decades, if not generations. However, years of poor maintenance may lead to the conclusion that a replacement is the best solution. Here are five indicators that you may be in the market for a replacement.

1. Age of the System

If you buy a new house, it’s possible that your septic system may endure for 40 years or longer, meaning you won’t have to replace it for a lengthy period of time. You may, on the other hand, have an older home with a septic system that has been in place for more than half a century. If you begin to notice difficulties with the system, and if you find yourself pumping it more regularly in order to maintain it operating correctly, it may be time to start planning for a new septic system installation.

2. You’ve Outgrown the System

Septic systems are designed to have a limited carrying capacity. In most cases, the size of a house is determined by the number of rooms and square footage it has. However, if you’ve increased the size of your home or your water usage, you may find that you’ve outgrown the capacity of your septic tank. If your tank is inadequate for your needs, it may be necessary to improve the system in order to better serve your family and your way of life.

3. Slow Drains

Having a septic problem might be indicated by the fact that your sinks or bathtub take an unusually lengthy time to empty. Because this is a tiny sign, it is possible that you are only suffering from a blockage. If, on the other hand, all of your sinks are draining slowly, it is possible that you have a more major problem. Due to sludge accumulation at the bottom of the septic tank, it is possible that the water is going more slowly through the septic tank.

4. Standing Water in the Yard

Any standing water in your yard due to a clogged septic system is a bad omen. However, it is possible that you are only in need of a repair and not a complete replacement. It’s possible that there is a problem with your drain field. It is critical that you do not disregard standing water since the problem will not go away; rather, it will only worsen. It’s possible that your septic tank isn’t the source of your difficulties. Standing water can be caused by a clogged drain field in some cases.

It is desirable to have grass and plants growing over your drain field because organisms aid in the breakdown of the liquid and prevent it from accumulating.

Aeration through mechanical means is the second option.

It is possible to repair the drain field without having to replace the septic tank in some situations.

5. Nearby Contaminated Water Sources

If nitrate, nitrite, or coliform bacteria are detected in neighboring water sources, this is a strong indication that there is a problem with your septic system.

If you notice contamination in water sources, it is critical that you analyze the situation as soon as possible.

Other Septic Systems Issues

The replacement of the septic tank is the most extreme circumstance. A number of these indicators might be symptomatic of simpler problems that only require little correction. If you have obstructions in your septic tank, you may need to have it pumped or have the system cleaned. If you’re concerned about a septic tank problem, the best course of action is to contact a professional for assistance. At BL3, we provide a wide range of sewage line-related services. In order to speak with a plumber, please call (405) 895-6640 in North OKC or (405) 237-1414 in South OKC.

How Long Will Your Septic Tank Last?

It is still an important system in any home, but because most people pay little or no attention to their septic tanks until they have a big problem, it has become the least well-maintained system in most structures. Fortunately, this is changing. When sewage backs up into a house or foul smells permeate the backyard, most people don’t pay attention to their septic tanks until they experience a problem. Similarly, the majority of people are under the impression that septic tanks are built to endure forever, but the fact is that, on average, septic tanks are known to survive anywhere between 15 and 40 years.

How often do you pump your septic system

The most effective method of keeping your septic tank in good condition is to have it cleaned or pumped on a regular basis. As a general rule, it is recommended that septic tanks be flushed at least once every two or three years. Septic tank service companies that are of high quality will not only pump out your tank, but they will also check it and provide recommendations for any repairs or further maintenance that should be performed on the system.

The type of tank you have

If the acidity of the soil around the septic tank is high enough, steel septic tanks will corrode over time and become unusable. A steel septic tank begins to rust by first losing its baffles (which causes clogging in the drain field) and then rusting at the bottom or sides of the tank. A steel tank that has been in use for 15 to 20 years or more is likely to have corroded. A concrete septic tank, on the other hand, typically has a lifespan of more than 40 years, depending on the conditions. However, the acidity of the soil surrounding the tank, as well as the quality of the materials used in its construction, have a significant role in its performance.

Soil condition

The soil condition under and surrounding the drain-field has a significant impact on the type of tank that may be put in such regions, as well as the lifetime of such tanks. Acidic soils have been shown to have a negative impact on septic tanks, regardless of the materials used in their construction.

It is normally recommended that property owners choose reputable organizations that will go as far as assessing the surrounding area and making recommendations on what type of tank to install.

Water usage in the building:

It is important to note that how much water is used in the building will have a significant impact on the longevity of the septic system. A septic drain-field will become saturated if the water use is extraordinary or unexpected. This will result in the drain-field failing.

Wet sites

Septic tanks should not be sited near floodplains or in areas where the water table is high, since this will result in the tank’s lifespan being significantly reduced.

Nearby trees

A large number of homeowners who place their septic tanks in close proximity to trees have experienced problems with tree roots infiltrating their septic system. Continued neglect of a septic tank reduces the lifespan of the sewage system and may end in system failure, which may need the replacement of the soil absorption field entirely. Posts from the recent past

Buying a home with a 30 year old septic system. What are the pros and cons? (investment, fees) – Real Estate -Brokers, appraisals, development, lease, investing, relocation, apartments, houses, condos, values, mortgages, loans.

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We are interested in a home that uses the original 30 year old septic system. The sellers state there have been no problems with it and the system was pumped last year. The original leach field is also 30 years old. They also state no issues. Would it be a good idea to ask what company services their septic and call them myself to see if there have been any issues? Not that I think the seller would lie but I can’t imagine in 30 years never having a problem.Would you be turned off when buying a home with original septic? I should note the home is owned by original owners and the property seems to be in great condition.I am reading conflicting things online as to how long septic systems last. Many people claim their system lasted 50+ years and that the older septic systems are designed better than new; however some reports state septic systems and leach fields need to be replaced after 25 years.For those who have been in my shoes, what did you decide to do? Pursue a home with original septic? Why or why not?For those who have owned a home with a septic and leach field what was/is your experience? What are the pros? Cons?Lastly, for those who have opted to buy a home and then tie into town sewer (I need to inquire with the town to see if this is possible), what were your costs to do so? Are you happy with your decision?
Actually, just re-read the email from the realtor. The septic is40years old. Does that make it any more or less concerning? If it is functioning fine all these years does that indicate it is a good system and not to worry?
Location: Cary, NC39,573 posts, read68,619,323timesReputation: 40721
The age of the system is of interest, but not necessarily the most interesting concern.The use, abuse, and maintenance are more important.How many bedrooms is the septic system designed for?How many people lived there over the years with the owners, kids, etc?If the usage has maxed out the design for an extended period of time, I would be less comfortable.Why was it pumped?Did it ever back up?A system that is not maxed out for extended periods can go many years without being pumped.Solid waste should break down.Grease down the drain may increase the frequency of needing to be pumped, or a garbage disposal would be worse.Is the lot large enough to allow for a new drainfield if this one would fail at some point?Are there trees in and around the drain field that might be putting roots into the drain lines?Is the drain field in an area where vehicles drive over it and compact soil?Connecting to city services comes with wildly varying costs, so the place to start is with the city to inquire about availability and connection fees.I have had both, and I have seen drain field failures on neighbors.My preference is city service, for peace of mind.The monthly bill is an investment similar to the lifetime cost of installing or replacing on-site septic systems, IMO.
Location: NC8,275 posts, read11,347,250timesReputation: 17934
Agree with Mike.My septic system was original to the farm and over 60 years old when I bought the property.The only thing I “needed” to do was have it pumped every 3 yrs, and have it checked for any deterioration.So far so good.Assuming the house was put in the best spot on the property to allow establishment of a good system, you can be good to go (pun).One thing you can try to determine is whether the system is using the original leach field or the back-up field.If it using the original field you still have another field ready and waiting if the primary field fails. And replacing the tank is not that expensive if you need to do that one day, maybe 3-4K I would guess.
Location: Howard County, Maryland1,539 posts, read2,068,202timesReputation: 2446
I’d recommend a separate inspection of the septic system with a specialist should you go forward with it.It’s not terribly expensive (less than $200 in my area) and worth it.Additionally, most home warranty companies will offer a separate rider for well/septic.Although the response of the warranty companies can be debatable.That said, I’ve seen homes with 25 year old systems that needed to be replaced and others with 50 year old systems that were absolutely fine.
Location: Salem, OR15,067 posts, read37,265,678timesReputation: 15839
I’ve seen homes with 100-year-old septic systems that still work.I’ve seen 10-year-old septic systems fail.I agree with MikeJ that use and maintenance is more of an issue than age.
Location: Rochester, WA10,569 posts, read7,371,162timesReputation: 28667
Have it pumped and inspected (in our part of the country this would be customary and paid by the seller).Go and be present when they do it.Ask the guy about the baffles and the condition and size of the tank for your size house and family.If this is a wet time of year for you, go walk the drain field.Personally, I would much rather have an old well-functioning gravity fed system (I own one now that is 1983) than one of the newer high tech systems that have more complications and alarms and processes that can fail.I don’t want a septic that needs power to run.Sometimes newer is not better.
Location: Port Charlotte3,929 posts, read5,780,291timesReputation: 3441
If there is no surface evidence of failure, and the soil perks well (sandy, not clay), at that age should not be an immediate issue.My only question would be the type of piping used in the field (porus clay, plastic, etc).A tank should be OK indefinitely.Second a septic inspection, and the state may require it.
Location: Cary, NC39,573 posts, read68,619,323timesReputation: 40721
Quote:Originally Posted byDiana HolbrookHave it pumped and inspected (in our part of the country this would be customary and paid by the seller).Go and be present when they do it.Ask the guy about the baffles and the condition and size of the tank for your size house and family.If this is a wet time of year for you, go walk the drain field.Personally, I would much rather have an old well-functioning gravity fed system (I own one now that is 1983) than one of the newer high tech systems that have more complications and alarms and processes that can fail.I don’t want a septic that needs power to run.Sometimes newer is not better.Excellent point.”Engineered Systems” are becoming more common, so homes can be built on poorly perking soils as sprawl drives land prices and pushes people into surrounding areas without municipal services.I just don’t want a drip irrigation septic system that takes regular annual maintenance, particularly if homes a mile away are on “good” soils.I don’t even care for conventional septic systems with a lift station to raise effluent up from the tank to the drain field.Either one, and I would have to invest in a whole house generator, too.
09-20-2017, 06:40 AM
Septic system overload

My septic system is 25 years old.After having guest stay in the house, doing laundry, running dishwasher, 5 showers a day, etc. the kitchen sink backed up. I called a septic company and they pumped it out.The baffle was floating in the pool and he threw it away and did not replace it.After trying to sell me a complete new system he charged me $300 for pumping and left.Will I have problems later?

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How Long Should a Septic System Last? Estimate Your System’s Remaining Time

Previous PostNext PostThe life expectancy of a septic system should be somewhere between 15 and 40 years. The lifespan of the system is determined by a variety of elements, including the building material used, the acidity of the soil, the water table, and the maintenance procedures used, among others. For the purposes of this lifespan prediction, it is assumed that your septic system was properly built and constructed by a trained plumbing professional in accordance with local construction codes.

As we progress through this article, we will examine each of the elements that contribute to the longevity of your septic system and how you may maximize its performance.

Construction Material

Finding out what your septic system is built of is one of the most important aspects to consider when calculating its longevity. There are a variety of materials that may be utilized to create a septic system, but steel and concrete are two of the most commonly seen. Steel septic tanks have the lowest lifespan of any type of septic tank, mostly due to the fact that they are susceptible to rust. In the event that your steel septic tank lasts between 15 and 20 years, consider yourself fortunate.

If a rusting septic tank is discovered early enough, it can be repaired before irreversible harm has been done to the system.

Make an appointment with Mr. Rooter, a local plumbing specialist, to have a comprehensive check of your tank and the entire system performed. We will be able to examine its present condition and provide you with a more precise estimate of how much longer it should be expected to operate for you.

Concrete septic tanks offer the greatest life expectancy of any septic tank material available on the market. Despite the fact that they are more expensive and often harder to install, there is a solid explanation for this. It is possible for a professionally planned and fitted concrete septic tank to survive for up to 40 years or more. The lifespan of a concrete septic tank is often unaffected by environmental conditions such as clogging or rusting of the pipes or the use of inferior concrete in the tank’s construction.

  1. When it comes to septic systems, the drain field or leach field is a network of pipelines that branch off from the tank and disseminate the waste contained inside it.
  2. This might result in a serious health hazard for everyone who comes into touch with any hazardous waste overflow, including humans and pets.
  3. Steel and cast-iron pipes should be tested at least once a year to ensure that they are in excellent operating order and do not require replacement.
  4. Having to deal with leaking or broken pipes that pollute your property and necessitate an expensive clean-up is the last thing you want to deal with.
  5. Related Topic: How Do I Maintain the Health of My Septic System?

Soil Type

Acidity of the soil in which your septic system is buried is another aspect that might have an influence on the longevity of your system. If your drain field is buried in hard, clay-like soil, the waste it transports will have a tough time permeating and dispersing into the soil. This can result in obstructions that eventually back up into your septic tank, causing it to overflow and back up into your home. Once again, this has the potential to result in a major health problem that must be handled.

If you have a big family, this is the most effective method of preventing an overflow.

This is due to the fact that acidic soil has the potential to corrode steel, plastic, and cast-iron pipelines over time.

Systems that are buried in non-acidic soil have a significantly longer lifespan. As a result, while planning and scheduling periodic maintenance and inspections, keep your soil type in mind.

In addition, as previously stated, very acidic soil will have a negative impact on the longevity of a septic system. The performance of concrete tanks will be marginally better than that of steel or plastic tanks, but over time, excessively acidic soil will take its toll on virtually any system. When in doubt about the type of soil you have, or when planning to purchase a property that has a septic system, get the soil tested to identify the acidity level in order to avoid costly mistakes. After doing an examination to confirm that the system is in proper operating order, plan routine maintenance to detect any possible difficulties that may occur as a consequence of soil acidity.

Water Table

A low water table is defined as the uppermost layer of water under the soil’s surface, and it must be low enough to allow wastewater to filter into the soil. It is possible that your property’s water table is too high, which prevents the soil from absorbing water from the drain field. Because there is nowhere else for the water to go, it will back up into your septic tank, eventually overflowing the whole system. If you reside in a floodplain or a low-lying location that is prone to flooding on a regular basis, the soil surrounding your property may have a high water table.


It stands to reason that the greater the amount of use your septic system is subjected to, the sooner it will need to be replaced. There is a significant difference between utilizing a septic system for two people and using it for four persons. However, if a system is adequately maintained, with frequent servicing and periodic inspections, the additional demand and pressure placed on the system by a big family may be reduced significantly. The following is a related topic: how often should a septic tank be emptied?

Routine Maintenance and Inspections

You may have picked up on a recurrent theme when it comes to septic tank lifetime by now. Periodic inspections and expert maintenance of your septic system are two of the most effective strategies to increase the longevity of your system. When purchasing a new or older house, as well as when living in the home for several years, routine maintenance and periodic inspections give the piece of mind that comes with knowing your septic system is in good operating order and is performing as it should.

Rooter today rather than waiting for anything to happen on your own time.

How Long Does A Septic Tank Last (PLUS 5 Tips To Make It Last Longer!)

Suppose you’re in the midst of purchasing an older property, or if you already own an older home, and the house is equipped with a septic tank rather of being linked to the city sewage system. You may want information on how long septic tanks last for a variety of reasons. It’s possible that the house inspector identified it as something that needed to be looked at further, or it’s possible that you’ve had your septic tank for a year and you just don’t believe it’s functioning properly.

As a homeowner, you’ll want to know how long it will be until you’ll have to repair the septic system in your residence. Having this information and understanding it is critical since rebuilding the septic tank is not a cheap endeavor.


The objective of this essay is to assist you in understanding the life expectancy of your septic tank and estimating how long it will survive on a rough scale. To provide you with a rapid response, the following are some general suggestions for how long a septic tank could endure, depending on the type of system you have installed. Continue reading for more in-depth information on this topic.

How Long Does A Septic Tank Last

On the short end of the spectrum, a septic system can endure for anywhere between 15 and 40 years. This large range can be attributed to the fact that there are a variety of elements that influence the life expectancy of an aseptictank. According to Inpectapedia.com, “the life expectancy of a septic tank is mostly determined by the materials used in its construction, whereas the life expectancy of septic system pipe is largely determined by the danger of damage from vehicle traffic, root blockage, or flooding by groundwater.”

Septic Tank Life Expectancy Based On System Type

According to the acidity of the soil as well as the overall condition of the septic tank, a steel septic tank may gradually rust out. A steel septic tank that is 15 to 20 years old or older is likely to have corroded to the point that the baffles and, maybe, the tank’s bottom have been completely lost. Similarly, the lid on steel septic tanks will endure for as long as the tank itself is not rusted. During a routine septic tank examination, a professional will be able to quickly identify these signs of septic tank failure.

How Long Does A Concrete Septic Tank Last?

The lifespan of a concrete septic tank might range from 40 years to infinity if it is made from high-quality materials and configured properly. However, poor-quality concrete and acidic soils can cause the baffles and other components of concrete septic tanks to malfunction.

How Long Does a Leach Field Last?

As explained on Inspectapedia.com, “The life of a traditional septic drain field varies depending on the soil percolation rate, the drainfield size, and the amount of wastewater that is generated.” One of the longest lasting septic systems I’ve seen was a huge one on good soil with a well-maintained septic tank that lasted over 50 years. It has happened to me that a typical septic drainfield has failed within 24 hours of being used on a fresh system because the plumbing was improperly built.”

The Largest Factor That Determines How Long A Septic Tanks Lasts

Septic tank servicing is the single most critical thing you can do to help extend the life of your septic system and keep it running efficiently. Also, keep in mind that septic tank pumping is only one aspect of a comprehensive septic service package. Septic tank service should be performed at least once every three years, but there is more to septic tank service than merely draining trash out of the tank. Septic tank service companies that are of high quality will not only pump out your tank, but they will also check it and recommend any repairs or further maintenance that should be performed.

That leaves nothing but the solid muck that has built up over the years in the tank’s bottom.

In order for the tank to continue to function properly, it is also necessary to remove this “scum.” Having your septic system repaired on a regular basis (much like your vehicle, furnace, or any other large-ticket equipment you possess) is the most straightforward approach to extend its life.

How To Make A Septic Tank Last Longer

Some factors that influence how long a septic tank lasts are totally out of our control, such as the weather. Although we as homeowners cannot extend the life expectancy of our septic systems, there are several things we can do to assist in doing so. Some of these items are as follows:

  1. Quality and Design: The location, soil condition, and installation of your septic tank, as well as the overall longevity of your septic system, all have a role in how long it will last. A site that is excessively damp or one that is prone to floods can clog your leach field. Surface water flow into your leach field, as well as poor soil conditions and a high water table, will all shorten the lifespan of your septic system. And even the most incompetent septic tank installation may have a detrimental impact on the longevity of your septic tank. Septic tank materials: As previously stated, concrete, plastic, and fiberglass tanks have a lifespan of 40 years or more. Steel tanks may corrode far more quickly than you would expect. Septic Tank Workload: The entire workload on the septic tank and leach field has a direct impact on the length of time a septic tank will function. Reducing the quantity of water used may extend the lifespan of the entire septic system as well as minimize the amount of maintenance required.resulting in significant cost savings. How Does Septic Tank Waste Dispose of Its Waste: In addition, limiting the use of chemicals and non-biodegradable materials while flushing your septic tank can help to decrease the amount of trash that builds up inside your septic tank. Septic Tank Pumping & Service: Routinely pump out the particles in your septic tank to prevent them from building up and clogging your system. Regular inspections during the pumping process can also help to extend the life of your septic tank since the specialists can spot problems early on when they are still in the beginning stages.

How Long Can A Septic System Sit Unused?

A septic system can be left unattended for up to 30 years without being used. Recall that it’s all of the material we put into a septic system that eventually fills it up or causes it to decay, so shortening its useful life. It is expected that a septic system will survive as long as the concrete tank and the plastic leach lines, which is typically 30 to 40 years if left unused and with no more materials added to it.


There are a variety of factors that influence how long a septic tank can operate. Despite the fact that my septic tank is 46 years old, it was just recently examined. And, according to the professionals, my old tank and system are still in good working order. However, I will continue to do all in my power to ensure that my septic tank and leach field endure as long as they can. If you’re thinking about buying a house with an older septic system, talk to your neighbors. Consult with your neighbors to find out how they’ve handled the situation.

The finest piece of advise I’ve received, and which I can pass on to you, is that if your septic tank is more than 20 years old, you should plan to get it changed as a matter of priority.

Septic tank maintenance will help to extend the life of the tank and leach field after it has been removed from the ground.

How Long Does a Septic System Last?

What is the average lifespan of a septic system? Homeowners who aren’t familiar with septic systems may be concerned about the expense of replacement. However, depending on the type of septic system used and how well it is managed, a septic system can last for decades. Septic systems are used in rural regions and in communities that are not linked to existing sewer systems to provide sewage disposal. A domestic septic system collects wastewater from the home and stores it in a holding tank. It is possible for particles to sink to the bottom of the tank and fats, grease, and oil to rise to the top because of the tank’s ability to hold effluent.

  1. How Long Do Steel Septic Tanks Last?
  2. The type of material chosen to construct the septic tank of the system has an influence on how long it will survive.
  3. Steel tanks are susceptible to rust, which weakens the structure after approximately 15 years.
  4. Is it legal to use metal septic tanks?
  5. While steel septic tanks were previously widespread, they are no longer permitted in many areas of the country.
  6. For further information on whether metal septic tanks are permitted in your area, consult your local and state legislation as well as construction codes.
  7. A high-quality concrete septic tank can survive for 40 or more years if it is maintained on a regular basis.

Moreover, the tanks are hefty enough to withstand the buoyant pressures generated by rising water tables.

If the cracks are significant enough, they indicate that the tank should be replaced.

Is it possible to repair a concrete septic tank?

Some concrete septic tank problems can be repaired, but not all of them.

Large fractures and other failures, on the other hand, need the replacement of a concrete tank.

How Long Do Plastic Septic Tanks Last?

They have a lifespan of more than 30 years.

Rising water tables below ground can pose a danger to the stability of lightweight plastic storage tanks.

Septic systems with sand mounds serve residences on their land that have a lot of groundwater or not a lot of soil depth.

The longevity of a sand mound system will be determined in part by the quality of the septic tank that is installed.

However, it is also dependent on how much the drain field has been degraded by home chemical solutions and even antibacterial agents contained in the wastewater.

A Septic Leach Field is expected to last for several years.

The size of the field and the amount of wastewater it feeds can have an influence on its lifespan.

Is it Legal to Drive Through a Leach Field?

It is critical that the leach field be protected at all costs.

The practice has the potential to cause harm to the drain pipes that transport wastewater.

How Long Does a Septic Pump Typically Operate?

The life of a sewage pump is determined by the amount of wastewater it pumps and how frequently the septic tank is filled.

Do Septic Tanks Need to Be Replaced on a Regular Basis?

The material used in the tank determines how long it will last.

Plastic tanks have a life expectancy of up to 30 years.

Puddles or moist soil surrounding a septic tank are indications that it is time to replace the tank.

A rusted steel tank might be an indication that it has to be replaced in order to prevent additional corrosion or collapse.

When it comes to home insurance, are septic tank damage and septic systems covered?

Damage to a septic system is normally covered by homeowners insurance if the damage was caused by one or more of the 16 dangers listed in your policy.

Take a look at the image below. Poor construction, neglect or inadequate maintenance, and abuse allegations, on the other hand, are likely to be denied. The following are examples of assertions that might be rejected:

  • Putting off the removal of tree roots
  • Chemicals and oils are being flushed
  • The septic system is not draining properly. Driving over the tank while on the ground

A septic system is considered a “other structure” and is therefore covered under the terms of a normal house insurance policy. This indicates that your coverage limit is equal to 10% of your total dwelling coverage. As a result, if you have $300,000 in equity in your home, you will have $30,000 available to pay for repairing or replacing your sewage system. You must make a septic system claim under one of the plans mentioned above since house insurance does not cover floods or earthquakes, depending on which event caused the damage.

  1. Septic systems that have been properly constructed and maintained can be left unattended for an extended amount of time.
  2. If a system is left idle for a longer period of time, it may produce less wastewater.
  3. Approximately one out of every three families in Florida is reliant on septic systems.
  4. The system will survive longer if it is not exposed to domestic food waste, grease, paint, or harsh chemicals, among other things.
  5. Yes.
  6. A new sewer pump can be installed to replace an old one, and new drain field pipes can be installed to replace broken ones.
  7. In addition, there is no way to repair a failed drain field.
  8. It is possible to complete the installation of a new septic system in a single day or it may take many days.
  9. Replacement of a leach field might take a day or two as well.
  10. I hope this has been of assistance!

Caring for Septic Systems

However, while it may appear that maintaining a septic system is more difficult than maintaining a sewer system, it is just a little amount of effort to avoid big repair or replacement expenditures in the future. Photograph courtesy of Josh Reynolds Is it possible for you to explain what happens when you flush the toilet? In a metropolis, people seldom give the question much attention because their wastes are normally channeled via a central sewage system and then to a wastewater treatment facility.

  • Because a breakdown in their system might have serious consequences for their property and possibly contaminate their drinking water, they must pay close attention to what is happening.
  • As a result, it is completely up to you to ensure that your system is properly cared for and maintained.
  • Cesspools are enormous vaults made of brick, stone, or concrete in which solids can collect and settle.
  • A privy is a simple structure built over a hole in the ground that may be relocated once it has been filled.
  • Anaerobic bacteria break down organic waste in septic tanks, which function as reservoirs for the bacteria.
  • Plastic is being used in the manufacture of newer tanks (as illustrated above).
  • Wastes are transported from the toilet, sink, shower, or washer to the septic tank through the indoor plumbing system.
  • The tank is located underground.
  • Solid wastes disintegrate over time as a result of anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that can survive in the absence of oxygen).
  • If any liquid leaks out of a tank, it is distributed to the ground via disposal beds, which are perforated or open-jointed pipes buried in shallow, gravel-filled ditches.

Although the liquid has reached this condition, it still includes a huge amount of hazardous bacteria and organic materials. In order for the liquid to reach underground water supplies, it must first pass through the soil and be absorbed.

Why Do Septic Systems Fail?

It is inevitable that solids will accumulate in the septic tank due to the fact that the pace of decomposition is far slower than the rate at which the system is adding new sewage. Some substances, on the other hand, will never disintegrate at all. Furthermore, the fats and oils that build in the scum layer accumulate at a higher pace than the rate of breakdown, resulting in a scum layer. The scum layer is held in place by baffles in the tank. Scum can get into the disposal pipes through broken baffles, blocking them and making the disposal system malfunction.

  • All of these items will not degrade, and they may have the effect of killing the “good bacteria” or just clogging the tank’s drainage system.
  • The main issues with older systems are the degradation of components (especially tank baffles) and the clogging of laterals (pipes in the leach field).
  • These, which are made of ceramic pipes or concrete blocks, are susceptible to cracking or deterioration over time.
  • In the past, pipes were often composed of ceramics or tar paper composites, which had a lifespan of 20 to 30 years if used properly.

Maintaining Your Septic System

The disposal field (also known as the leaching bed) is set out in the shape of a pitchfork on level ground. The leaching bed may zig-zag downwards in areas where the home is situated on a rise. Many homeowners, particularly those who live in older homes, are unsure about the exact location of their tank and field in relation to their home. It is critical that you identify the location of the tank since it will ultimately require service. First, locate the pumpout and observation openings on the equipment.

  • To gently probe the soil for the tank and distribution box, you can also use a slender steel rod with a 1/8-inch diameter to gently probe the earth.
  • Once you’ve located the tank, look for the dumping field, which is normally accessible by a distribution box fanning from it.
  • Please be aware that identifying the laterals can be difficult—in fact, in some situations even septic professionals have problems locating all of the components of the system.
  • The most important thing to remember is to empty your tank on a regular basis.
  • Depending on the size of the tank and the number of people that it serves, the frequency will vary.
  • A septic tank requires cleaning on average every three to five years if it is used and cared for correctly (more if you use a sink-mounted garbage disposal unit).
  • Expect to spend around $200 for each pumpout, depending on the size of the tank and your geographic location.

In addition, while the tank is open, the technician can inject some water into the distribution box to obtain an idea of how effectively the leach field is performing.

Additionally, even just glancing into the tank, you should use caution.

Depending on the tree, roots can grow up to 30′ to 40′ from the base of the tree and burst or dislodge the distribution box, connecting pipes, and laterals.

Don’t even think of driving cars or heavy equipment over the dumping area.

Because of this, solids will ascend to the top of the tank and block the laterals, overloading the tank.

Installing water-saving toilets and showerheads is one technique to limit the quantity of water that enters the system.

Don’t attach sump pumps to your septic system until you’ve fixed any leaky toilets and faucets.

After being clogged with sediments or having their integrity compromised by tree roots or automobiles, laterals begin to collapse.

Cooking oils, fats, and grease should not be poured down the kitchen sink drain.

Please do not flush non-biodegradable things such as disposable diapers, clumps of cat litter, filtered cigarettes, feminine hygiene products or plastic tampon applicators, paper towels, condoms, or other similar materials.

These chemicals have the potential to harm beneficial microorganisms in the tank and the soil, as well as pollute groundwater supplies.

None of these goods has been shown to be of considerable benefit in terms of enhancing performance or preventing failures.

Many over-the-counter septic system cleaning products include chemicals that are potentially harmful and are not biodegradable, as is the case with many household products.

Experts advise against using cleansers that contain sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, or hydrogen peroxide.

Use of any product containing toxic chemicals in excess of one percent by weight is prohibited, including trichloroethane, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, methylene chloride, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, toluene, napthalene, trichlorophenol, pentachlorophenol, acrolein, acrylonitrile, and benzidine.

How To Tell If Your System Is Failing

While there are no 100-percent accurate ways for spotting a malfunctioning septic system, you should be on the lookout for the following signs of a potential problem: In the event of a toilet backup into the house: To begin, rule out the possibility of a clogged soil line or other interior plumbing issues. Drainage system failure due to sewage or effluent leaking into the structure or basement: The water resulting from this condition will have a distinct odor. In the vicinity of the disposal field, there is a puddle of effluent on the soil surface.

It is not recommended that the grass above the septic field be too green in a healthy system.

It is important to remember that wastewater on the ground is a major health danger and should be addressed as soon as is practical.

What To Do If The System Fails

If you have any reason to believe that your system is failing, contact your local health department. In addition, you should seek the services of a skilled septic system installer. Then collaborate with both of these parties to build a strategy for moving forward. It is not unusual to find a septic system that is either underdesigned for the current level of use required by the residents, incorrectly placed, or at a position that will no longer sustain the sort of system that is already installed in an older home.

While a new septic system installation can be expensive (usually between $4,000 and $10,000), a properly operating septic system is critical to the running of your home as well as the health and safety of you and your loved ones.

As with so many other aspects of an old property, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to septic systems.

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