- If it’s Concrete or Steel, Use a Metal Detector Based on your conclusions in Step 3, if your septic tank is likely made from concrete or steel, a metal detector can make the task of locating it much easier. But not just any metal detector will do.
Can a septic tank be metal?
Steel Septic Tank—Steel septic tanks are the least durable and least popular tank option. Designed to last no more than 20-25 years, they can be susceptible to rust even before that. Steel top covers can rust through and cause an unsuspecting person to fall into the tank.
How long does a metal septic tank last?
The life expectancy of a steel tank is shorter than a concrete one. Inspectapedia estimates that a steel tank baffles will rust out in 15 to 20 years and may collapse if driven over, but a concrete tank will last 40 years or more as long as the wastewater is not acidic.
Are steel septic tanks good?
Steel septic tanks are the least durable and least common septic tank option. They are designed to last no longer than 20-25 years and can start rusting sooner than that. Plastic septic tanks are also quite popular due to their durability and longevity.
When were metal septic tanks used?
coli and giardia. Although civilizations have tried improving sanitation over the last 3,000 years, it was not until the early 1860s when the first “septic tank” was invented and put to use using concrete and clay pipe. However it was not until the 1940s when somewhat of a standard was used in the populated areas.
Do septic tanks have metal lids?
You can locate the lid of your septic tank by poking the ground every few feet with a metal probe. You can also use a metal detector, as most lids have a metal handle or fastener on them to keep the lid closed. Another reason you might not be able to find your lid is due to the depth it was buried.
Are septic tanks made of steel?
The majority of septic tanks are constructed out of concrete, fiberglass, polyethylene or coated steel. Typically, septic tanks with a capacity smaller than 6,000 gallons are pre-manufactured. Larger septic tanks are constructed in place or assembled on-site from pre-manufactured sections.
How do I know if my drain 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.
- Slow running drains or backed up plumbing.
How long can a septic tank go without being pumped?
You can wait up to 10 years to drain your tank provided that you live alone and do not use the septic system often. You may feel like you can pump your septic tank waste less frequently to save money, but it’ll be difficult for you to know if the tank is working properly.
How can I make my septic tank last longer?
How to Keep Your Septic System Healthy
- How the Septic System Works.
- Don’t Overload the Septic Tank and Drain field.
- Use an Efficient Toilet.
- Don’t Treat the Toilet as a Garbage Disposal.
- Don’t Pour Grease Down the Drain.
- Divert Rain Water From the Septic Drain Field.
- Keep Trees Away from the Septic System.
How thick are steel septic tanks?
F. The top of the tank shall be constructed of reinforced concrete, at least four inches thick. G. When the tank is constructed of concrete, the walls and bottom shall be at least six inches thick and shall be adequately reinforced with steel or other approved material.
Which type of septic tank is best?
The best choice is a precast concrete septic tank. Precast septic tanks hold many advantages over plastic, steel, or fiberglass tanks. This is why so many cities and towns actually require the use of concrete septic tanks.
How big are metal septic tanks?
Our steel septic tanks come in a wide array of sizes from 500-gallon right up to 12,000-gallon, although most residential tanks fall into the 1,000-gallon to 2,500-gallon size range.
What are the signs that your septic tank is full?
Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:
- Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
- Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
- Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
- You Hear Gurgling Water.
- You Have A Sewage Backup.
- How often should you empty your septic tank?
How old are metal septic tanks?
Steel septic tanks typically last 20-25 years, then rust, and collapse. Before this time steel baffles may rust off (damaging the drain field with sludge), the tank top may become rusty and unsafe, or the tank bottom may have rusted through.
Does shower water go into septic tank?
From your house to the tank: Most, but not all, septic systems operate via gravity to the septic tank. Each time a toilet is flushed, water is turned on or you take a shower, the water and waste flows via gravity through the plumbing system in your house and ends up in the septic tank.
Septic Tank Condition – How to Inspect Steel Septic Tanks
- INSTRUCTIONS: SUBMIT A QUESTION OR COMMENTONSTEEL septic tanks: unique difficulties, inspection, installation, troubleshooting, repairs, age, and longevity
InspectAPedia does not allow any form of conflict of interest. The sponsors, goods, and services described on this website are not affiliated with us in any way. Steel septic tank warnings include the following: This paper outlines how to examine the state of a septic tank, with additional considerations for examining steel septic tanks being included in addition. Steel septic tanks are a critical component of onsite wastewater disposal systems, and they must be regularly inspected. Steels septic tank faults, life expectancy, specific issues, and repair procedures are discussed in detail.
For this topic, we also have anARTICLE INDEX available, or you may check the top or bottom of the page.
STEEL SEPTIC TANKS – Life Expectancy, What Breaks, What to Look For, How to Fix a Damaged or Leaky Steel Septic Tank or Tank Cover or Baffle
Steel septic tanks generally survive 20-25 years before rusting and collapsing due to corrosion. If you don’t do this, steel baffles may rust off, clogging the drain field with sludge, the tank top may become rusted and unsafe, or the tank bottom may have rusted through before the time limit. The steel septic tank baffle can be seen in the lower left corner of this photograph; did you notice that the top corners of the baffle have corroded away over time? The steel septic tank lid in this photograph had rusted through and was covered with brush and roughly two inches of earth, as depicted in the photograph.
Guide to Steel Septic Tank Maintenance and Repair
Make sure to keep surface and roof runoff away from steel septic tanks or any other type of septic tank, as well as other septic system components such as D-boxes and drainfields. When unwelcome water is allowed to enter the system, it increases the danger of drainfield collapse and the failure of the septic system. The steel septic tank in the photograph is not only too close to the home (as was customary at the time of its construction in the 1960s), but it is also too close to a roof drainage downspout, which is a safety hazard.
Special Hazard Warning for Steel Septic Tank Covers
Make sure to keep surface and roof runoff away from steel septic tanks or any other types of septic tanks, as well as other septic system components such as D-boxes and drainfields. When unwelcome water is allowed to enter the system, it increases the danger of drainfield collapse and the failure of the septic tank. The steel septic tank in the photo is not only too close to the home (as would be expected for the time period in which it was installed, the 1960s), but it is also too close to a roof drainage downspout, which is a safety concern.
Special Problem with Rusted Off Baffles in Steel Septic Tanks – repair may be possible
Baffling issues with steel septic tanks: On a steel septic tank, the baffles at the inlet and outlet are frequently rusted out and fall off before the owner realizes that the tank requires repair or replacement. It is on the right side of the manhole of this septic tank (picture at left).
Solids are able to enter the soil absorption system as a result of this degradation. The steel septic tank baffle depicted in the photo above on this page has rusted away at the top, which can be seen in the bottom left of the tank top aperture in the photo above.
Should we repair a steel septic tank that has lost its baffles?
If a steel septic tank is otherwise in good condition, but its baffles have gotten broken or have been lost totally, placing a plastic tee into the intake and outlet waste lines may be a viable alternative solution. Baffling, or septic tank teeing, is used to prevent solid waste from flowing out of the tank into the drainfield, as well as to prevent waste flow into the tank from the building it serves from being blocked. For further information on this septic system component, please seeSEPTIC TANK TEES (PDF).
Here’s an example: this steel septic tank is still holding effluent, but its sides are crumbling and its baffles have been removed, and it is likely missing its protective septic tank cover.
Until the tank can be replaced, it should be cordoned off and kept out of reach of the public and employees.
Steel Septic Tank SideBottom Rust-Out, Leaks, Abnormal Sewage Levels
Steel tank bottoms rust away, allowing effluent to escape into the soils around the tank and, in certain cases, creating a big void in the tank at the time of testing, so causing a loading or dye test to be invalidated. Because steel tank tops can be replaced while the previous tank is still in place, the condition of the top itself is not a good predictor of the state of the tank in question. You may tell whether a steel septic tank has a leak if the bottom or lower sides are missing by observing that the amount of sewage in the septic tank is lower than the level of sewage in the outlet baffle or pipe for a septic tank that is currently in use and has not been pumped out.
Technical content contributors
Thank you so much to
- In addition to being a trained ASHI home inspector, a Licensed Pesticide Applicator, a BPI Building Analyst, and an Envelope Professional with 18 years of house inspection experience, Lawrence Transue is also a Pennsylvania building scientist and consultant. Lawrence Transue may be reached at the following numbers: 610.417.0763 and by email:[email protected] His WEB SITE and FACEBOOK pages are also worth checking out.
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In addition to being a certified ASHI home inspector, a Licensed Pesticide Applicator, a BPI Building AnalystEnvelope Professional and having 18 years of home inspection experience, Lawrence Transue is also a Pennsylvania building scientist and consultant who specializes in building science and consulting. To contact him, call 610.417.0763, or send an email to [email protected]. His WEB SITE, as well as his FACEBOOK page
- THE TROUBLE WITH THE SEPTIC SYSTEM: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT DOESN’T
- SEPTIC TANKS-WHERE DO I START?
- SEPTIC TANK BACK FLOODING
- SEPTIC TANK BAFFLES
- SEPTIC TANK TEES
- SEPTIC TANK CLEANING
- SEPTIC TANK, HOW TO FIND
- SEPTIC TANK LEAKS
- SEPTIC TANK LEVELS OF SEWAGE
- SEPTIC TANK SAFETY
- SEPTIC TANK TESTING
Suggested citation for this web page
ASSESSMENT OF SEPTIC TANKS, STEEL An online encyclopedia of building environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, and issue preventive information is available at Apedia.com. Alternatively, have a look at this.
INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES:ARTICLE INDEX to SEPTIC SYSTEMS
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4 Types of Septic Tanks – HomeAdvisor
The characteristics of each type of septic tank are crucial to understand whether you’re deciding which type of tank to use in conjunction with your septic system or solving a problem with your existing tank. Each installation option has its own set of pros and limitations, just like any other installation. Knowing the relative advantages and disadvantages of each option will assist you in making the right selection while establishing, repairing, or replacing your septic tank. Please keep in mind that most of these issues are the consequence of improper septic maintenance or installation.
The cost of an inspection might vary significantly based on a variety of criteria.
- Solid Waste Container— Solid waste containers made of concrete are prone to cracking and even separation. These fissures, which are usually extremely durable for several decades, might appear sooner if a poor quality concrete mix was used or if the septic system has not been adequately maintained. These gaps will allow effluence (waste) to leak out of the concrete septic tank and/or allow groundwater to seep in through the tank’s drainage system. Either scenario is undesirable. The system may get clogged as a result of a blockage. Runoff is harmful, but it will not be discovered by a typical dye test since it is invisible. If a concrete septic tank is not physically inspected, it is possible that the problem will not be discovered until it is too late and major difficulties have developed. Tanks made of steel are the least long-lasting and most unpopular of the available tank options. They are intended to survive no more than 20-25 years, although they can succumb to rust even earlier than that. Steel top covers have the potential to rust through, allowing an unwary individual to fall into the tank. It is possible to change these covers without having to replace the complete tank. If you’re purchasing a property or already live in one that has a steel septic tank cover, personally viewing the cover will not necessarily provide you a clear indicator of the general state of your tank in the long run. As with any septic tank, pay particular attention to the baffles (entry and exit points) because they are the first to corrode in most cases. Fiberglass/Plastic Septic Tank—Unlike steel and concrete septic tanks, plastic septic tanks are virtually immune to the corrosion and cracking that occurs in steel and concrete septic tanks. Nonetheless, they have their own set of difficulties that should be kept an eye out for. In some cases, a low effluent level might indicate that a blockage at the bottom of the tank has gotten dislodged. Pumping should be performed even if the effluent level seems to be normal throughout the process
- Nevertheless, any clogs should be carefully checked after the pumping. It is possible that the process of pumping a septic tank will be sufficient to remove a clog.
- In spite of the fact that plastic septic tanks are more resistant to the chemical processes that occur naturally in a septic system, their lower weight makes them more prone to structural damage. It is necessary to install the tank with care in order to avoid damage to the tank. It is important to take careful notice of the land above the tank. Avoid driving any vehicles over the tank’s filling station. During periods of wet soil, the lighter can also cause the tank to shift in its position in the ground. Occasionally, a plastic septic tank may emerge from the earth, destroying pipes along the way.
- In spite of the fact that plastic septic tanks are more resistant to the natural chemical processes that occur in a septic system, their lower weight makes them more vulnerable to structural damage. It is necessary to install the tank with care in order to avoid damage to the vessel. It is important to take close attention of the terrain above the tank. Avoid driving any vehicles above the tank’s filling level. During periods of wet soil, the lighter may also cause the tank to shift in the ground. Occasionally, a plastic septic tank may emerge from the earth, smashing pipes along the way.
- Important Caution: Exercise extra caution when in the vicinity of open or uncovered sewage tanks. Falling into a sewage tank will almost always result in death due to asphyxiation. The simple act of leaning over a septic tank might lead you to pass out.
Our True Cost Report gathers information from homeowners on the expenses of small and big capacity septic systems. Use this resource while planning your installation project’s financial budget.
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.
- How Long Do Steel Septic Tanks Last?
- The type of material chosen to construct the septic tank of the system has an influence on how long it will survive.
- Steel tanks are susceptible to rust, which weakens the structure after approximately 15 years.
- Is it legal to use metal septic tanks?
- While steel septic tanks were previously widespread, they are no longer permitted in many areas of the country.
- For further information on whether metal septic tanks are permitted in your area, consult your local and state legislation as well as construction codes.
- 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 homes on their property 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 typically covered by homeowners insurance if the damage was caused by one or more of the 16 perils 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
- Improper draining of the septic system
- 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.
- Septic systems that have been properly constructed and maintained can be left unattended for an extended amount of time.
- If a system is left idle for a longer period of time, it may produce less wastewater.
- Approximately one out of every three families in Florida is reliant on septic systems.
- The system will survive longer if it is not exposed to domestic food waste, grease, paint, or harsh chemicals, among other things.
- A new sewer pump can be installed to replace an old one, and new drain field pipes can be installed to replace broken ones.
- In addition, there is no way to repair a failed drain field.
- It is possible to complete the installation of a new septic system in a single day or it may take many days.
- Replacement of a leach field might take a day or two as well.
- I hope this has been of assistance!
Steel Underground Septic Tanks
Greer is a manufacturer of underground septic tanks made of strong steel. Our steel septic tanks have two compartments and may be buriable to a depth of ten feet in the ground. Septic tanks made of steel may be purchased from us in a variety of sizes that vary from 500-gallon to 12,000-gallon, with the majority of residential tanks falling between the 1,000-gallon and the 2,500-gallon range. Click on the link below to see the complete variety of sizes available, or call 1-800-725-8108 to speak with a representative about your needs.
Steel Underground Septic Tanks Product Details
- Buriable up to 10 feet in height
- Durable steel construction
- Dual compartments
Steel Septic Tanks:
Why Your Old Septic Tank Needs to be Removed, Now
An ancient, collapsing septic tank has caused a sinkhole in the backyard. Abandoned mobile homes are one of the things we encounter around our area. Those homes that were built before our community was established are about 60 years old, and so are the septic systems that served them. In truth, the old mobile house has been demolished just a few yards away, but the septic tank, which is in dire need of replacement, remains in the ground. These outdated septic tanks are a health hazard! To avoid a potentially deadly situation if a loved one or a pet falls into an unattended septic tank in your yard, you must take immediate action to remedy the situation.
The age and type of tank will determine whether or not you should fill it with water or whether or not you should remove it altogether.
To be clear, this information also applies to anybody who has an old cesspool on their land). The technicalities of making a cesspool safe may differ slightly from those of making a septic tank safe, but the safety information is the same in all instances.)
Why Are Old Septic Tanks Dangerous?
You could assume that an outdated septic tank isn’t a health hazard. At the end of the day, it’s just an underground tank, right? Is it true that out of sight, out of mind? That may be true for a short period of time. Even over a lengthy period of time. years and years. However, ancient septic tanks that are no longer in use (or even old tanks that are still in use!) can pose a serious threat to the health of your family and pets in your yard. Someone walking over the sinkhole faces the risk of being sucked into a disgusting and potentially fatal tangle of sewage and choking methane fumes, which may result in their death.
- An all-steel box with a stainless steel cover.
- And what do we know about metal that has been buried for a long period of time and has been regularly exposed to water?
- Steel septic tanks are subjected to the same fate.
- until one day you or your child is walking through it and the lid and the ground above it give way.
- A decaying septic tank top gives way, resulting in a sinkhole and a potentially perilous situation for anyone around it.
- But it gets worse.
- Septic tanks made of steel typically last for 25 years or more in most cases.
- It is necessary to remove a steel septic tank from a house in Door County, Wisconsin.
- However, up to 90 percent of steel septic tanks are now in need of replacement.
- The covers on these tanks are susceptible to crumbling and collapsing, which might result in a septic sinkhole in your yard.
What Are My Options with an Old Septic Tank?
No matter whether you’re legally leaving your own operating septic tank because you’re being connected up to a sewer line, or if you discover an old septic tank on your land, you basically have two options: you can either fill it with water or you may dig it out. The specific regulations for abandoning your septic tank will be established by the county or state in which you live, however the following is the general procedure: 1. Hire a septic pumping firm to pump out and properly dispose of the contents of your septic tank.
- Disconnect and remove any electrical or mechanical components, such as a pump or an alarm system, from the system (if applicable) Cutting the septic sewage line from the home to the tank is the third step to take.
- A possible explanation is that the home was changed from septic to sewer during the conversion process).
- Removing the tank involves digging a trench around it or crushing and collapsing it into the earth.
- Backfill the hole with the proper material.
Crush and collapse the tank, leaving the debris on the ground, then backfill with gravel and fill dirt. 2)
What About the Leach Field?
Even when a septic tank is being abandoned, the leach lines and drain field are not necessarily required to be removed. Once again, this is something that should be confirmed with your county.
How Much Does it Cost to Abandon an Old Septic Tank?
The cost of removing or filling an old septic tank will vary depending on a variety of factors, as it will with most things:
- Geographical location
- Ease of access to the tank
- Size of the tank
- Whether you can do the most of the deconstruction and filling yourself or if you must employ a contractor removing an old tank from the site or deconstructing it in place The type and cost of fill materials
- Who is responsible for filling the hole
Here are some very preliminary estimations, which may vary significantly depending on the above-mentioned conditions, but they should give you a general sense.
- For a normal 1,000 – 1,500 gallon septic tank, the cost is $300 – $400
- Fill dirt is $225 based on 15 yards at $15/yd
- And installation of a new septic tank costs $300 – $400. Backhoe and operator – $500, based on a rate of $250 per hour for two hours (including travel and other expenses)
- TOTAL VERY BRIEF ESTIMATE:$1225 to properly abandon your septic tank and obtain certification of such from your county
- (this will increase if your leach field lines need to be removed as well)
- TOTAL VERY BRIEF ESTIMATE:$1225 to properly abandon your septic tank and receive certification of such from your county
Concrete septic demolition is carried out with the use of (small) heavy equipment.
Can I Remove a Septic Tank Myself?
It’s probable that you’ll be able to do everything alone, with the exception of pumping out the tank. Septic pumping should be conducted by an appropriately certified septic pumping business, and you will need to provide proof of this pumping to your county in order to receive your certification of abandonment. Please check with your county to see whether or not you are legally permitted to remove or refill your tank yourself. You may be able to complete the filling in or removal yourself, after which you may call the county to examine and provide you with the required paperwork of the abandoned property.
That being said, many individuals out there would sneer and scoff at the prospect of paying $1000 or more merely to remove an old septic tank, and they are determined to finish the project on their own time and with their own resources.
- Methane gas can be found in sewage treatment plants. Being trapped inside a tank filled with methane gas will kill you – how quickly it will kill you will depend on the amount of methane present and the length of time you are exposed to it. Old steel septic tanks are rusted and have sharp edges, which should be avoided. Consider tetanus. Septic tanks hold biological waste that is teeming with bacteria. Keep an eye out for any open wounds you may have.
Financial Help – Loans for Septic Tank Repair, Replacement and Removal
We understand that money is limited for many families, and that paying to have your septic tank abandoned may not be a viable financial option. The good news is that there are loans and other financial programs available to help with septic system repair, replacement, and removal costs. Because these loans are dependent on geography, the terms and conditions will differ from county to county and state to state. Try searching for “Septic System Loans” or “Septic Tank Financing” on the internet, making sure to include your state or county in the search, and you should be able to discover at least one option that works for you.
A decaying septic tank may cost anywhere from $1000 to $3000 or more to repair or replace, and this is especially true if you haven’t had any difficulties with it in the past. However, there is a very real danger hiding underground that is becoming more severe by the day. It is possible that you will not even be aware of a threat until it is too late. Homeowners may see a depression in their yard beginning to form, which might be a sign of a septic sinkhole forming, or it could be fill from a prior fill-in that has settled in.
Don’t let the expense of resolving the problem before it becomes a problem deter you from taking action. Your family is way too valuable for such a thing!
Steel Septic Tanks: History and Information for Homeowners
Steel septic tanks may be found in many older properties. Learn all you need to know about steel septic tanks so that you can properly care for your home’s septic system in the future. 11.14.2018 In some cases, having your home linked to a private sewer system rather than the public sewer system might be advantageous. Although you are directly responsible for the septic tank and system that is installed underground on your property, it is important that you as a homeowner educate yourself on the subject of septic tanks and systems.
Steel septic tanks, which were one of the first types of septic tanks to be used in contemporary septic systems, have been in production for a long time and are still in use today.
Examine what you need know about steel septic tanks in order to effectively care for your private septic system in this article.
History of Steel Septic Tanks
For about 3,000 years, residential sanitation has been a constantly changing concept, yet the first septic tanks were not invented until the 1940s. The originals were most typically made of concrete that was poured into wooden shapes that were set in the ground before being painted. Around 1940, a workable standard for septic tanks became popular in most locations, prompting the development of precast metal tanks not long afterwards. Most people referred to these first steel tanks as dickey tanks because they were similar in size to 500-gallon steel drums that came with a top or cover attached to them.
Lifespan of Steel Septic Tanks
There is a solid reason why most modern homes are built with septic tanks composed of concrete, fiberglass, or other materials rather than natural stone. Steel septic tanks do not have a particularly lengthy lifespan when compared to other types of tanks since they are the least robust of the options available. The average lifespan of a steel septic tank is 20-25 years, and many of them fail much before that. Much if the tank itself is in good condition, steel septic tanks are often equipped with a steel lid, which can degrade at a pace that is even quicker than the tank itself.
Common Problems With Steel Septic Tanks
One of the reasons steel septic tanks are the least popular in current times is that they are so prone to difficulties. The corrosion of steel tanks is far faster than that of their equivalents composed of other materials, as previously stated.
If the steel septic tank on your property was erected more than 30 years ago, it is likely to be riddled with cracks and holes. Steel tanks can also be troublesome for a variety of reasons, including:
- They are susceptible to rusting, which can result in holes and problems with collapse
- In the subterranean, they might be vulnerable to tree root damage. Because of their poor state, they might be difficult to remove once they have failed. They may need to be pumped more often in order to avoid damage to the tank.
Towns in Webster County, Missouri, suffered serious concerns with ground contamination due of septic systems. One of the unique concerns with the septic systems in the region was the presence of leaking steel septic tanks. It became necessary to do soil analyses with every new tank installation in 2015 since the situation had gotten so terrible. If your older house is equipped with a steel septic tank, you will need to be extra vigilant in keeping it in good condition and on the lookout for indicators of trouble.
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How to Find a Septic Tank With a Metal Detector
For sewage treatment in the United States, around 48% of households in rural and outlying regions depend on septic tanks or septic systems. Many of these systems have been operating without regular maintenance for many years. It is necessary to locate your septic tank in the event that sewage is backing up into your home or if your main drain line has become obstructed. Throughout this post, we’ll go over the basics of how septic systems function before showing you how to identify your septic tank in six simple stages.
How do septic systems work?
A septic system is made up of two parts: the septic tank and the drain field (or leach field).
Waste from toilets, sinks, and showers is sent down a main sewage line and into a holding tank known as the septic tank. A septic tank is a large, subterranean container that acts as the initial stage of a home’s sewage treatment system by collecting and treating sewage. Watertight containers such as concrete, steel, plastic, and fiberglass are used to construct the tank. Until the particles and liquids separate into three different layers, sewage is allowed to remain in the septic tank. This picture shows how sewage from the home drains into a two-compartment underground septic tank.
The liquid wastes are subsequently discharged into the drain field.
The bacteria produce a sludge that is “digested” and stays in the tank until it is drained.
This stratum is referred to as effluent in most circles.
Drain fields are composed of layers of gravel and dirt that allow liquid sewage to flow down.
It eventually becomes part of the groundwater supply. Aerobic bacteria (bacteria that require oxygen to survive) and other microbes decompose the organic debris that remains.
What happens if a septic tank gets too full?
In the event that your septic tank becomes overflowing, sewage may back up into your home. It is more difficult to breakdown sludge than it is to collect it. If the sludge isn’t cleaned, the solids will build up until they overflow into the drain field, causing the drain to back up. This has the potential to clog pipes and produce a backup. The sludge must be cleared on a regular basis in order to avoid this. Many households only get their tanks emptied after the system malfunctions. Waiting until that stage can result in repair expenses in the tens of thousands of dollars.
6 Steps to Locate a Septic Tank
Water from your toilets, sinks, and showers is collected in a main drain pipe and disposed of properly. This line departs your home and enters your septic tank through the basement or crawl area where it was installed. Find the line in question. Afterwards, walk outside and look for the identical location on the opposite side of the wall. Make a note of this spot since you’ll need it in a moment.
2. Check Permits and Public Records
The majority of county health agencies keep public records of septic system installation permits on their websites. These permits must be accompanied by a schematic or design depicting the proposed location of the septic tank and drainage field systems. They also give a description of the tank’s dimensions and construction material. Having this information can be quite beneficial when trying to locate a submerged tank lid. In some cases, depending on the age of your septic system and the digitization efforts of your county’s health department, you may be able to do a public records search online.
If you live in Colorado, we’ve provided links below that will allow you to check septic records in a few different areas.
- Colorado’s counties of Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Colorado Septic Records Search
- Colorado Permits Search
- El Paso County Records Search
- Jefferson County Septic Records Search
- Jefferson County Records Search
- Mesa County Septic Systems Search
- Pueblo County Records Search. Colorado Septic Records Search
- Pueblo County Records Search
3. Determine Septic Tank Material
If you’ve located your septic permit, you’ll find information about the size, shape, and material of your septic tank there as well. But don’t be concerned if your septic data aren’t readily available. We can perform some basic detective work to determine what material your septic system is built of. Let’s start with a look at the materials.
Types of Septic Tank Materials
The size, shape, and material of your septic tank are all specified in your septic permit, if you have located it. But don’t be concerned if your septic records aren’t accessible. In order to determine what material your septic tank is composed of, we will need to undertake some detective work. The materials will be discussed first.
How Old is Your House?
Next, let’s determine the approximate age of your home. In some cases, all you need to do is take a glance at the house’s façade to get an idea of how old it really is. However, you may examine the tax assessor’s records in your county to get a more precise assessment.
Similarly to searching for septic records, your mileage may vary depending on which county’s digitized documents you are searching for. Let’s go over an example search utilizing Boulder County’s Property Search tool so that you can have a better sense of what you should be looking for.
- Look up your home address on the internet. When searching for a home, some programs provide separate areas for your address and street name, while others (such as Boulder County) merge the two into a single search box. Look for information on Deeds and/or Sales Records in the public domain. You’ll find a list of transactions here, with dates showing when the property was purchased and sold. Find the transaction that occurred on the earliest possible date. This is most likely the year in which your home was constructed.
This information allows you to make an informed guess regarding the sort of material that your septic tank is built of.
4A. If it’s Concrete or Steel, Use a Metal Detector
After coming to the conclusion that the tank is most likely built of concrete or steel in Step 3, a metal detector may be used to make the work of locating it much simpler. But not just any metal detector will do. It must be the right one. Standard metal detectors have a depth range of 6 – 8″ (15 – 20 cm) below the surface of the ground. As previously stated, the majority of septic tanks are placed 1′ to 3′ (0.3 m to 1 m) underground, putting them outside of the acceptable range. An advanced sort of metal detector known as a Magnetic Locator, which can detect objects as deep as 16′ (4.8 m), is available for purchase.
How to Use a Metal Detector to Search for a Septic Tank
If you have a septic permit record, you may refer to it to figure out how far you need to go to install a septic tank. Start at the point where the drain line meets the home and work your way out to where the septic tank is shown on the diagram. Keep in mind that this graphic depicts the proposed installation area and may not accurately depict the actual ground conditions on the site. We’ll have a look at the illustration below. One inch (2.5 centimeters) is equivalent to fifty feet (50 meters).
By using a ruler to measure the design, we’ve determined that the septic tank should be roughly 13′ (3.96 m) away from the home.
- To begin, start at the location you marked in Step 1 where the sewer drain line leaves the house. From here, you may switch on the locator and adjust the gain to a high setting. Walking over the search area, sweep the locator from left to right, as if looking for anything. As you go, make a note of the regions with the strongest signal strength. It is most likely that the tank-iron lid’s handles will be located in one of these positions
- As soon as you’ve exhausted the search region in one direction, sweep over it perpendicularly and make note of the spots with the strongest signal strength. Continue on to Step 5
4B. If it’s Plastic or Fiberglass, Probe Gently
Septic tanks made of plastic or fiberglass are typically buried one to two feet (0.3 to 0.91 m) below ground level. They feature circular covers made of green or black plastic that are roughly two feet (0.91 m) wide and have a diameter of around two feet (0.91 m). Due to the fact that these tanks are totally made of plastic, a metal detector will not be of use in locating them. In this situation, a soil probe is really useful. An inexpensive soil sampling instrument, soil probes are comprised of a 4′ (1.2 m) metal rod with a pointed tip on one end and are used for soil sample.
Gently poke the earth with a soil probe every 2 to 3 feet, using a light touch (0.61 to 0.91 m).
The use of a soft touch is essential here, since the metal tip of the probe can cause damage to plastic septic tanks (and sewage lines) if too much force is used.
5. Time to Dig
Following the placement of an amagnetic locator (or the probing of the ground) to record the places with the highest signal strength, you are ready to begin digging.
Septic tank lids can be located anywhere from 4″ (10 cm) to 4′ (1.2 m) below the surface of the ground.
6. Mark the Location for Future Maintenance
Having discovered your septic tank, you’ll want to ensure that it can be readily detected and accessed in the event that it has to be repaired or replaced. You may accomplish this by installing a septic tank riser. Sewage Tank Risers are devices that provide for easy access to the septic tank from the ground. They are shafts made of plastic or concrete that link the top of the tank to the surface of the ground below the tank. The tank lid will no longer require you to dig to access it whenever maintenance is required.
HOW TO SAFELY ABANDON AN OLD SEPTIC TANK ON YOUR PROPERTY
If you’ve recently purchased an older house, it’s possible that a septic tank is located on the property. This is true even if your home is currently linked to the municipal water and sewer systems. A prior owner may have abandoned the ancient septic system and connected to the city sewage system when it became accessible at some time in the past. Despite the fact that there are standards in place today for properly leaving a septic tank, it was typical practice years ago to just leave the tanks in place and forget about them.
- The old tank may either be demolished or filled with water to solve the problem.
- It is possible that permits and inspections will be required.
- They are dangerous because curious children may pry open the lid and fall into the container.
- Falls into a septic tank can be lethal owing to the toxicity of the contents and the fact that concrete can collapse on top of you while falling into a tank.
- Eventually, this approach was phased out due to the fact that the steel would corrode and leave the tank susceptible to collapse.
- When it comes to ancient septic tanks, they are similar to little caves with a lid that might collapse at any time.
- The old tank is crushed and buried, or it is removed from the site.
If it is built of steel, it will very certainly be crushed and buried in its current location.
After that, the tank can be completely filled with sand, gravel, or any other form of rubble and buried.
Tanks can either be entirely dismantled or destroyed and buried in their original location.
The abandonment has been documented and plotted on a map.
It’s possible that you’ll forget about the tank once it’s been abandoned.
As a result, you might wish to sketch a map of the area where the old tank used to stand.
If you can demonstrate that an old septic tank was properly decommissioned, you may be able to increase the value of your property, and the new owners will enjoy knowing that large chunks of concrete are buried underground before they start digging in the yard to put something in it.
It may take some detective work to discover about the history of your land and what may be lying beneath the surface of the earth.
Upon discovering an old septic tank on your property that is no longer in service, contact Total Enviro Services for propertank abandonment procedures that meet with local standards and protect your family, pets, and farm animals from harm or death.
How to Repair the Top of a Rusted Septic Tank
Steel septic tanks were designed to be strong, but even the most durable man-made metals, such as stainless steel, can rust out after 15 or 20 years of use. Most of the time, rust accumulates near the bottom of an uncoated steel septic tank; when it does develop at the top of a tank, it is usually restricted to the tank lid. A rusted-out steel septic tank lid may be repaired with a very affordable replacement; however, a rusty septic tank should be completely removed and replaced with new steel.
The contours of your septic tank should be visible. You should be able to obtain a copy of the blueprints from your local town clerk’s office, as the office is most likely responsible for issuing the septic system permit.
Remove the sod that has been covering the septic tank. Make a visual inspection of the tank’s top for evidence of corrosion. Tank replacement is recommended if the corroded area on top of the tank is visible. The earth over the top of a rusted-out septic tank has the potential to collapse, providing a threat to anybody who walks on it. If there is no rust on the tank’s surface, the sod should be replaced.
Remove the sod that has accumulated around the septic tank by digging it up. Keep an eye out for corrosion on the tank’s surface. Tank replacement is recommended if the corroded area on top of the tank is present. The earth over the top of a rusted-out septic tank has the potential to collapse, providing a threat to anybody who walks on it. If there is no rust on the tank’s surface, it is necessary to replace the sod beneath it.
Remove the sod that was covering the septic tank. Check the tank’s top for indications of corrosion. If the rusty portion of the tank is visible, the tank should be replaced. A corroded septic tank’s surrounding earth might collapse, providing a threat to anyone who walk on it. If there is no rust on the tank’s surface, it is necessary to replace the sod.
Remove the sod that has accumulated around the septic tank. Check the top of the tank for indications of corrosion. If the rusty section of the tank is visible, the tank should be replaced. The earth over the top of a rusted-out septic tank has the potential to collapse, providing a threat to anyone who walk on it. If there is no rust on the tank’s top, it is necessary to replace the sod.
Make certain that the replacement cover fits securely over the tank in order to prevent runoff from entering the container.
Before you begin working around your tank, get it pumped. The tank may hold enormous levels of methane, which may be both combustible and dangerous when released into the atmosphere.