Septic tank leak? Help please

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JB1071

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Hi All - I am currently in contract to buy a house with a septic tank. There is a disagreement between two inspectors as to whether the tank needs to be replaced or not. Any help would be much appreciated!

The inspector I hired opened the tank and the water level was found to be 5” below the invert of the outlet pipe and is not making it out to the leaching fields. He told me this means there is a leak and it needed to be replaced.

A second inspector evaluated the tank and said that since no one had been living in the house for a few months, the level had decreased and that there was no leak.

Does anyone have a view on this? Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks
 

JG plumbing

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How did the second guy say he thought the level decreased without a leak?

Is possible the level went down just by natural bacteria eating solids. 5"seems like a lot, but also possibly not, lol. Which inspector had more experience? Did they talk to each other and run their theories by each other?

I would error on the side of saftey and say its leaking.

You'll likley need a third inspector to break the tie if you and the current owner don't agree on which persons opinion to go on.
 

Twowaxhack

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I’d go with the information given by inspector that benefited my interest.

I can’t answer if your tank has a problem or not.
 

JB1071

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I’d go with the information given by inspector that benefited my interest.

I can’t answer if your tank has a problem or not.
Agreed. I guess I’m trying to figure out if it is even possible for the level to be 5” below the pipe if there isn’t a leak.
 

JB1071

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How did the second guy say he thought the level decreased without a leak?

Is possible the level went down just by natural bacteria eating solids. 5"seems like a lot, but also possibly not, lol. Which inspector had more experience? Did they talk to each other and run their theories by each other?

I would error on the side of saftey and say its leaking.

You'll likley need a third inspector to break the tie if you and the current owner don't agree on which persons opinion to go on.
I am still waiting to get the official report back but I was told it had to do with no one living there for a few months. I will revert with more info when I get it. Both inspectors had very good reviews and many years of experience. The 2nd inspector however is the person who installed the tank 20 years ago and has been servicing it for the current homeowner. The inspectors didn’t speak with each other.
 

JG plumbing

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So this is something... Maybe a compromise.

Let me say I haven't seen this with a septic tank per se, but there are some very very very good coatings out there.

If you could find an industrial coatings company they might have a way to coat the inside of the tank.

This is an out of the box thought. And would have to be approved by the county or whatever authority has jurisdiction.

The hard part would be finding someone that could clean the tank well enough to do it,and by the time all of that is done it may be better to replace it.
 

fixitron

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I have seen low water levels in septic tanks when it has not been used in months. I have been told by the guy pumping the tank that it is common for the level to go down when not used for some time. Common sense tells me that if there were a leak and the house had not been used in months, then any leak would be very tiny. In reality, concrete tanks are not treated and some moisture will pass through concrete, Water will also evaporate to lower the level.
 
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