Damaged or Cracked Septic Tank

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Published: December 28, 2014 Last Updated: August 3, 2017

Septic tanks may be cracked, have deteriorated concrete, damaged baffles, cracked lids and damaged or loose raisers. There are warning sings to watch for and some defects can only be discovered by a septic inspection.

The 3 most common materials for septic tanks are:

  • Concrete
  • Plastic
  • Fiberglass

Tanks can be damaged in a number of ways

1. Vehicles driving over the top of the tank

One of the more common ways a tank gets cracked or damaged is from cars, trucks and tractors driving over the top of them and damaging either the access / lid or the tank. Avoid driving over the tank or leach field whenever possible.

2. Installing the tank improperly may result in damage

Occasionally a tank gets dropped or hit by a piece of equipment in the installation, causing damage.

3. Back fill or ground water pressure

Improper back filling the area around the tank may cause damage, including big rocks against it. If the ground water level is high, the pressure from the ground water may damage the tank.

4. Deterioration of the concrete

Concrete, if not properly mix and designed right, may deteriorate after long exposure to the waste water. Concrete can be patched under some circumstances, depending on the location and amount of damage.

5. Tree roots

Tree roots may slowly squeeze into small crevasses and then as they grow they exert tremendous pressure. This force may crack concrete, plastic or fiberglass. Roots are so powerful that they can lift or damage house foundation, driveways and sidewalks

Warning signs that there is a crack or damage

Owners and buyers may often be alerted that there is a crack or damage to their tank. However, some of the signs may also relate to other issues with the septic system. Signs to watch for:

  • Foul Odor
  • Lush vegetation
  • Soggy spot in yard
  • Standing water
  • Toilet or sinks backing up

Diagnoses of these warning signs – ( Read more about warning signs )


If Cracked or Damaged

At times, a septic tank inspection will reveal that a tank is cracked or damaged. The severity and location will be taken into consideration as what should be done. In severe circumstances replacement of the tank may be necessary, however, most tanks inspected pass inspection and nothing has to be done.

If a septic system is failing, it may be do to the leach field or sewer line

At times we may think that septic issues are because of the septic tank, but in reality they are for other reasons. Two of the most common reasons are that the leach field has failed or the sewer line going to the septic tank is clogged or damaged.

  • Leach field issues can be do to clogs, drainage, distribution box issues or the field may have reached the end of its useful life.  (Read more about LEACH FIELDS )
  • Sewer line problems may include roots clogging the line, cracks or damage to the line. A separated sewer line where a section of pipe has pulled loose or a line that has developed a sag in the line can also cause problems. An easy way to determine if the sewer line is the problem with the system septic system is to have it videoed. ( Read more about VIDEOING SEWER LINES )

Tip – If you just can’t find the septic tank

There are times that you feel that you have a septic tank issue, but you can’t find the septic tank. Nobody can remember were it is or who would know. You have looked everywhere possible. Now what do you do?

The newer sewer video equipment has great cameras and may also have transmitting equipment that will transmit a signal from the camera. Using the signal, you can mark where the sewer line runs to the tank. Not only can you locate where the sewer line runs, but you can tell how deep the line is. Doing this you can locate the tank and the depth of the line running to the tank. So call a plumber and ask about the capabilities of his equipment and what he charges.


Who to consult? Plumbers work on sewer lines to septic tanks and septic tank contractors fix and replace tanks and leach fields.

Plumbers and qualified handymen can work on sewer lines running to septic tanks. Septic tank contractors can work on the sewer line running to the tank; inspect and repair septic tanks and leach fields, as well as, replace them if necessary.

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how is a septic tank inspected for cracks as I´ve read that you cannot climb inside a septic tank.

Can a concrete septic lid with a 1″ crack be repaired or should be it be replaced?

Septic was pumped. They noticed a circular hole on the side wall of the concrete tank? Should this be there or shpild we fill it in

We have a septic tank that the top is deteriorated is it possible to just replace the top of tank without digging it up or put liner in it

The one I had contract with him for my walnut planting, damaged my LEACH LINE by RIPPING, cost me $6500.00. who has to pay for ?

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