Concrete septic tanks are among the most durable options available for home septic systems. These tanks can last many years and typically don't suffer from severe problems. In fact, a well-maintained concrete septic tank will likely last for decades, so it's not uncommon for septic owners to never need to pay for a replacement.
Unfortunately, not every septic tank will live to its full potential. Concrete septic tanks can wear down and fail prematurely like any other structure. Replacing a concrete tank is labor-intensive and expensive, so it can pay to understand why these premature failures occur and what you can do to prevent them. This guide will go over three common reasons your tank may fail prematurely.
1. Aboveground Activity
There are many good reasons to know the location of your septic tank, including quicker and easier pump-outs. However, knowing your septic tank's location is also important to avoid inadvertently causing damage. While concrete tanks are strong, they cannot withstand the weight of structures or large vehicles such as cars or work trucks.
Building a shed above your septic tank or parking a car directly overhead can stress the tank's lid and walls, creating the potential for cracks and even collapse. If you want to extend the life of your tank as much as possible, it's important to avoid aboveground activity that may place additional weight on the tank.
2. Concrete Corrosion
Concrete, while strong, is a highly porous material. Various chemicals can seep into the concrete over time, causing it to corrode and deteriorate. This corrosion is often a slow process but can have drastic consequences. For example, it's common for concrete baffles on older septic tanks to wear away into almost nothing.
More rapid corrosion can occur if your home has particularly acidic soil or if you routinely flush acidic chemicals into your tank. Routine pumping and proper usage can help with the latter, but the former is often an unavoidable problem. If you know your yard has unfavorable soil for concrete, you should expect your septic tank to have a reduced lifespan.
3. Inadequate Maintenance
Of course, inadequate maintenance is the most likely reason for premature failure. Routinely pumping your septic tank prevents acidic waste from building up and corroding the concrete while allowing your plumber to inspect the tank and look for problems. Small problems are often repairable when addressed early but can cause premature failure when ignored.
Staying on top of maintenance for your tank will help extend its life while keeping your septic system running efficiently and cleanly. The relatively small cost of routine septic services can help you avoid drastically more expensive repairs and replacements in the future.
Contact a septic tank service for more information.