I Bought A House With An Abandoned Septic Tank; Should I Have It Inspected

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Congratulations on your home purchase! Buying a new home will bring you many years of joy. However, buying a home does come with some potential pitfalls. One of those pitfalls can be an abandoned septic tank. While it is possible that this abandoned tank won’t cause you and your property any issues, there is still the outside chance that it could. To prevent any problems from cropping up at your new home, make an appointment to have the tank inspected to cover all your bases.

What Does It Mean To Have An Abandoned Septic Tank?

An abandoned septic tank means that the tank and the system are no longer in use. A (hopefully) empty tank that is not being used is sitting underground on the property. This can happen if a new tank & system needs to be constructed or that the property was able to connect to a municipal system. When either of those things happens, the proper steps need to happen to deal with the septic tank left behind. For safety reasons, that tank must be properly decommissioned to be removed from service.

Why Are Septic Tanks Decommissioned?

Septic tanks are decommissioned for safety reasons. If a tank is not going to be used any longer, the best decision is to render it inoperable. Tanks that were well constructed, as well as those that are surrounded by excellent soil for the drain field, can have a lifespan of 50 years. Some could last even longer than that. But if not in use, these systems must be shut down.

Not every tank and field are well constructed and can pose a safety threat to humans and pets alike. If not properly sealed and decommissioned, the soil around the tank and the field could begin to sink, and humans and/or animals could fall into the resulting sinkhole. Abandoned tanks can also fill with water if not properly filled.

A property owner may no longer need their septic tank for a couple of reasons. The primary one is that the home has been able to link to a municipal sewer system, so the on-property septic tank is no longer needed. Another reason is that the property owner built a new septic tank and drain field to take the place of the existing one. This could happen due to failures in the old system or the need for a larger capacity system.

How Is A Septic Tank Decommissioned?

It is important for safety reasons to have a septic tank properly decommissioned. Once the tank has been decommissioned, your contractor will provide you with a certificate that shows proof that they have completed this important task. Your contractor will also review the do’s and do not’s that pertain to your out-of-service tank.

To remove a tank from service, your technician will take the following steps:

  1. Your tech will unearth your tank and remove the lid.
  2. Any remaining liquid will be removed by pumping your septic tank.
  3. The tank will be sealed shut after it is filled with sand, gravel, or concrete.
  4. All soil will be replaced in the area of the tank.
  5. The property owner will get a certificate that shows that the tank has been rendered inoperable.

Can I Build Over An Abandoned Septic Tank?

Building over the location of an abandoned septic tank is strongly discouraged. Even with all of the liquid pumped out and all parts of the tank sealed, methane gas and other toxins could remain. Also, if the tech in charge of the decommission didn’t properly fill in and around your tank, whatever you build over the tank could sink.

If you need this part of your property for some kind of construction, you should have the old tank dug up and removed from the ground. This is considered much safer than building over an old or abandoned tank. An excavation company can come and remove the tank and the drain field from your land.

Let The Professionals At All Septic & Sewer Handle The Decommissioning Of Your Old Septic Tank

The professionals at All Septic & Sewer have over 20 years in the business. They know exactly the best way to handle old septic systems & tanks as well as the safest way to render them inactive. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and to learn more about the process. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on the latest news and information about the company.

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