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Thread: Can a septic tank COVER be repaired/replaced?

  1. #1

    Question Can a septic tank COVER be repaired/replaced?

    Hi,

    The other day, I couldn't help but notice that the concrete cover for my septic tank had "disappeared"! Yep, it apparently crumbled and slipped into and below the muck. The level looks like it is 2 1/2 to 3 feet down.

    I called a local septic installer and he was presuming that the whole concrete tank would have to be replaced. He's ball-parking an estimate from $6500 --- all the way up to $14000! The 1000 gallon tank & the system is about 27 years old. During most of that time, only my wife and I have lived here... our only daughter moved about 15 years ago.

    I know that nothing lasts forever, but I am hoping that I could get just the concrete cover replaced. I read somewhere in another septic forum that one should get that from the original manufacturer. How would I do that now?

    Haven't experienced any negative effects of septic problems inside the house as of this date. Just anxious to get it looking normal again. I have the hole temporarily covered with a 1/2" 4x5' steel plate from a road construction friend.

    This potential replacement of the entire septic tank comes at a real bad time for me--still paying off some huge medical bills. Just hoping to postpone what may not really have to be done this fall. Or maybe it does have to be done now -- I don't know yet.


    Any advice and/or opinions would be greatly appreciated.

    (What do you guys say about plastic vs. concrete tanks these days?)

    Thanks,

    Jack

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    east of MrT, west of MDShunk, north of Jacksnap, south of Mr Fixit, eh
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    Jack,
    I've replaced lids and even the whole top of a tank...if you replace the tank, it's considered a new system and depending where you're at and local codes, you might have to put in a sand mound.
    do you have a riser? How deep is the top of tank from ground level? are you driving over it?

    that 3' from the top crust level seems low, although i can't see your tanks inlet/outlet heights

    i would get the tank pumped and inspected to see if there are any other problems...check baffles & condition of the rest of tank. any cracks or top collapsing? baffle problems will cause leach bed problems.

    i've set a new tank just beyond the old one, broke the top & the back side so it won't hold water, filled it with dirt & extended the waste pipe into the new one.

    the only time i use plastic is if i can't get the triaxle tank hauler into the property...

    if you're tanks OK...make your own lid...it doesn't have to be a recessed one which is probably what came with tank.
    or check with concrete tank companies in your area...they might have one

    if you have to replace the tank...get a few more estimates
    Last edited by xkvator; August 22nd, 2005 at 11:25 AM.
    some mornings i wake up grouchy...............others i let her sleep

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by xkvator
    Jack,
    I've replaced lids and even the whole top of a tank...if you replace the tank, it's considered a new system and depending where you're at and local codes, you might have to put in a sand mound.
    do you have a riser? How deep is the top of tank from ground level? are you driving over it?

    that 3' from the top crust level seems low, although i can't see your tanks inlet/outlet heights

    i would get the tank pumped and inspected to see if there are any other problems...check baffles & condition of the rest of tank. any cracks or top collapsing? baffle problems will cause leach bed problems.

    i've set a new tank just beyond the old one, broke the top & the back side so it won't hold water, filled it with dirt & extended the waste pipe into the new one.

    the only time i use plastic is if i can't get the triaxle tank hauler into the property...

    if you're tanks OK...make your own lid...it doesn't have to be a recessed one which is probably what came with tank.
    or check with concrete tank companies in your area...they might have one

    if you have to replace the tank...get a few more estimates
    Thanks so much for your reply. It's all VERY helpful to me.

    "do you have a riser?" *Please forgive my super-dumb question -- What's a riser?

    "How deep is the top of tank from ground level?" *8 to 10 inches, I think. I'll measure it when I get home today.

    "are you driving over it?" *Nope and never did drive over it even with the lawn mower. Had a layer of small decorative rocks inside of the concrete outer collar.


    "i would get the tank pumped and inspected to see if there are any other problems...check baffles & condition of the rest of tank." *I will do that. I just have a feeling that most of the septic guys in my small county will be gravitating toward wanting to sell me an entire new system for a lot of $$ and not want to mess with a repair, even if it is plausible.

    " that 3' from the top crust level seems low, although i can't see your tanks inlet/outlet heights" *Maybe it is 2 to 2 1/2 feet. I'll measure that and get back to you tonight.

    Thanks again,

    Jack

  4. #4

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    I know more than one person who has used a big square concrete air conditioner pad and tarred it to the top of the tank for a lid.
    "Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool"

  5. #5

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    Hey MDSHUNK & xkavator,

    Thanks for your helpful input on my problem. I've had a few septic installers tell me over the phone that the best remedy in the long run would be to just replace the tank. However, I found a septic contractor who does complete new installs and also does repairs. He's been in the business for many years and comes recommended by a plumber friend of mine.

    He checked the tank top that disintegrated & said that what happened to mine was not at all uncommon. He checked the inside of the tank, probed the inside visible walls with a metal rod. He said the tank was in surprisingly good condition. He then checked the first two distribution boxes and said that they also were in good condition and the leach field looked fine.

    He proposes to have a custom round concrete top made - 90 inches in diameter and 4" thick. What was originally there was 3" thick. Because of limited access problems to get to the tank area with normal equipment, he proposes to have the cover made in 5 sections - each one weighing approximately 500 to 600 pounds - to be joined together on-site by tar.

    He needs to pump out the tank, install a new elbow, remove the broken old top & all concrete chunks, then install the new top.

    Total cost = $2900

    What do you both think about the work description and the price for that material & work?

    Thanks,

    Jack

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    east of MrT, west of MDShunk, north of Jacksnap, south of Mr Fixit, eh
    Posts
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    if you are able to do the job yourself with some help from friends, you'll save yourself some money IMO.
    step 1 -have the tank pumper & a small excavator with a thumb there at the same time to get everything out of the tank. have hose to wash off concrete pieces as he's pumping. $150/pumping + $200 - $300 for the excavator to lift out the concrete pieces and dig some dirt past the outside perimeter of the tank.
    step 2 - have your plumber friend replace the broken baffle(s) T's & pipe = $10
    step 3 -form the top & rebar. lumber/plywood & rebar = about $200
    step 4 - approx. 1 yard of concrete = $100

    doing it yourself = around $800
    some mornings i wake up grouchy...............others i let her sleep

  7. Default

    To repair or replace the septic tank depends on how deep is the top of tank from ground level.

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