4 Types Of Septic System Leaks

A leak in your septic system isn't just a nuisance, it can release dangerous toxins into your landscape. Fortunately, leak inspections are typically part of normal septic maintenance visits. 

1. Baffles

The baffles are installed where inlet and outlet pipes connect to the tank. They are designed to prevent solids and scum in the effluent from clogging the connections between the tanks and pipes. Tank pumping typically includes cleaning the baffles to ensure they are able to do their job. If a baffle becomes damaged or clogged, then effluent can back up and begin leaking around the tank connections. Baffles also sometimes loosen and wash away, leading to similar leak issues. Regular maintenance must include inspection and replacement of the baffles, as necessary.

2. Inlet Sewer Lines

Of the two lines connected to a septic tank, the inlet lines are the most prone to leaks because they tend to carry the bulk of the solids. These are the sewer lines that bring wastewater from the home and into the pipes. Leaks can occur if the line becomes clogged or backed up. The pressure of the clog forces effluent to leak out at the easiest point, typically at a pipe joint. You may notice wet or overly green grass over the site of a leak. The smell of raw sewage may also be present.

3. Outlet Lines

The outlet lines connect the septic tank to the drainfield. If the tank is working properly because it is pumped and well maintained, then no solid materials should pass through these lines. Damage to the baffles or an overly full tank in need of pumping can lead to solids in the outlet lines, though, which will result in a leak if the line becomes clogged. The symptoms are similar to inlet line leaks, except the greening and wetness will occur between the tank and drainfield as opposed to near the home. 

4. Tank and Lining

A tank leak can be a major concern. Leaks can occur due to damage to the tank, such as cracks or holes, or they may result from poor or damaged connections within the tank. Your maintenance service will have to pump the tank and clean the inside in order to determine where a leak in the tank is originating. If the leak is a result of a crack or hole in the tank itself, then repair may not be possible. In this case, your maintenance tech will recommend a new tank installation.

Contact a septic tank maintenance service for more help.