From what I can discover with Google polyurethane foam seems to be the best
repair option for wet cracks in concrete septic tanks. Anyone tried this?
Do I need any special tools or perhaps just a caulking gun? Where would I
find this - hardware store, HD, Lowes?
Thanks for any advice.
You know it's time to clean the refrigerator
when something closes the door from the inside.
On Thursday, August 4, 2016 at 9:30:12 AM UTC-4, KenK wrote:
IDK why you'd need anything more than a caulking gun, some disposable
gloves and maybe a disposable plastic putty knife. But then IDK
exactly what cracks you're fixing. And as I said in a previous thread,
a septic tank just feeds a leach field where the water leaches out,
so I don't see the harm in the tank having some cracks that leak,
assuming it's a typical below grade, conventional tank.
Where are these cracks? I'd think you'd have to do major excavation
to find them. Any of those places should have the product.
What part of "leach field" did you find confusing? Perhaps you don't understand how septic
Also... most people who have both septic systems and wells have enough sense to dig the
well a considerable distance away from the leach field, *and* at a great enough depth to be
unaffected by the leachate. Wells used to supply potable water are frequently several
hundred feet deep.
On Thursday, August 4, 2016 at 11:11:38 AM UTC-4, bob_villa wrote:
Like Doug said, are you even aware of how septic tanks work and where
they are installed? The leach field is typically directly next to
the tank. Per code, any well has to be a minimum distance away from
both. So, if the leach field can be leaching starting right after
the tank, what is your issue with the tank also leaching a bit and
somehow involving a well?
Well, the tank itself won't be _in_ the leach field which typically is a
gravel-filled bed, not just subsoil. The probability would be that over
time the ground around the tank would saturate unless the leak were
small enough the ground permeability were sufficient to absorb it
While a leach field eventually does have to get absorbed in ground,
there's a very large (comparatively, anyway) area over which the water
is being dispersed as opposed to essentially a point at the tank.
I'd say it's not a panic but if there's sufficient to be able to know
it's leaking it probably should be taken care of.
The drainfield here is some 60-80 ft from the tank, though, so they're
certainly not always situated in extremely close proximity. In the TN
house, the first drainfield failed in a few years because the contractor
didn't get it leveled properly and all water went to one end from the
middle entry point so it was essentially only half the required size.
The second replacement was forced to be below it by location on the lot
and so also was quite a distance removed. In that TN red clay, a
significant tank leak would quite likely break through the surface in
quite short order; in SW KS sand, it _might_ go indefinitely
until/unless it got to be very sizable.
I'm wondering, too, though, of how OP knows it's leaking...which makes
me suspect it _probably_ has broken thru the surface or at least is
showing green-up of the yard around the tank.
To get approval for a septic system you must do a perk test and will not
get a pass if drainage is too fast or two slow. I had to put in a
second drain field years ago when original came up. I can now easily
switch between the two and new county rules say you need an alternate field.
Leak may not be a problem but my settlement tank had to be patched once
but I don't know what the problem was. I had to rebuild the switch spot
as concrete there was somewhat degraded. Have not looked at it in years
and might only get a clean-out every 4 years as kids have left home, all
my new toilets are low flow, and there are only two of us here. Small
leak anywhere should not be a problem as long as it does not surface.
I don't know about polyurethane patch and would think it would not hold
up as well as cement or a resin like epoxy.
But what will pass for a perc test will be _far_ less than what a point
source of some size could perc with a leak is my point because the field
will be sized for the soil conditions as well as the load. It'd be
extremely easy to soak an area around a tank in soil that perc's pretty
well by the test.
Something similar to what hypothesized maybe or perhaps the field line
connect or such; who knows?
We put a switchover in when didn't the new field in TN, too, altho I
never had to make use of it when the second field was installed properly.
It'd still be interesting to know how OP know he has a leak...
I think of a leak as something minor and if soaking and disclosing
itself it needs fixing.
When my 2nd field was installed it might have been 10 years before
getting saturated and I had a time finding the switch box as it was
buried. That was when I put a ring on it with a cap and fixed the
degraded concrete. When the kids were home and we had high flow
toilets, I had to switch every few years but today have been using the
original field at least 15 years. Living on the side of a hill,
everything is downhill. My settlement tank is about 6 feet below my
basement level and drain fields below another 15-20 feet.
I've seen all kinds of septic systems. Guys in back of me have to pump
grey water up hill. Pump failure means saturation in tank. Guy across
the street had a cesspool from single elderly couple that failed when
the house filled with people. Fortunately a sewer line came in below
his side of the hill and he could hook up. Guy down the street also
went into sewer. He inherited a system that allowed chlorination of his
grey water to discharge into the creek that went past his house. Would
never be allowed today.
On Thursday, August 4, 2016 at 3:58:01 PM UTC-4, Frank wrote:
Another aspect of this, which I believed was discussed in the
previous thread, is that even if a tank has some cracks, I don't
see how you get effluent pooling up, unless something is wrong
with the leach field and/or the connection to the leach field.
The leach field, at least the one's I've seen, are a couple
feet below grade and are downhill from the tank. So, for there
to be effluent coming up at the tank, it would seem the leach
field would have to be not leaching properly, allowing the water
to back up. In other words, I tend to doubt that his real problem
Well, I've seen several, and as described, none have had the entrance to
the drain field anyways _near_ that close to the tank; the minimum has
been some 20-ft and the furtherest here is pushing 100.
The tank sits in the ground; no installation I've seen has anything
except backfill around the tank so unless the soil is extremely porous
or there's a path somewhere for the leaking water to follow, what else
_can_ it do but pond in the near area if the leak is sizable?
I've seen no other thread that describes the situation so it's all
hypothetical as far as the actual case, but again, if it were a
slow-enough leak that it doesn't pond/break through/show the signs of
impending breakthrough I don't know that one would have any way
typically to know it was leaking.
If one _did_ have such signs, then it's still possible it isn't the tank
actually having crack but a failed outlet pipe joint or other leak cause...
On Thursday, August 4, 2016 at 3:40:14 PM UTC-4, dpb wrote:
Who said it would be? But the leach field typical starts right next
to it, very close by, not a hundred feet away. And I've never seen a
well near either.
Whatever permeability exists at the tank is likely to be similar
permeability at a leach field that's nearby. If the water goes
down in the leach field, I don't see why some water escaping from
a crack in a septic tank would not go down too.
It would seem to me the first few holes that are in the first foot
of the leach pipe are probably bigger than a "crack" in a septic
tank. It is 4" pipe full of holes you know. If the "crack" is a
foot wide opening, I see your point.
I lived in houses with cesspools for years. They were made of cement
block, just loosely cemented together and with no bottom. They leaked
everywhere, by design. The top was just a few inches below grade.
The only time effluent ever showed up on top was if something was
wrong, it would not drain properly, and the tank overflowed. And then
you could see it bubbling right up from the tank cover when you
flushed a toilet. Otherwise, leaking like a sieve, like it was
supposed to, no effluent on the surface.
Sure, that can be the case sometimes. I would hope the OP has brains
enough to know that if his well is where he craps, then he has a
I would suspect that something more is wrong than some cracks too.
Which as I recall we suggested in a previous thread. But the OP
isn't saying much.
Well (so to speak), that may be _your_ experience, it certainly isn't
mine so how close is "typical" I'd say is entirely dependent upon the
Even if it is relatively close, there's still got to be a pathway for
the outflow to get to the actual drain field; in TN clay unless there
were a cavity alongside the outlet pipe, even a foot could be about as
effective a dam as a concrete wall; it just doesn't flow that well.
Well really has nothing to do with it although before the days of
widespread inspections and permitting, there were a lot of very bad
installations that were either too close or had geologic faults or other
unplugged wells or the like that allowed entrances to potable aquifers.
Most domestic well contamination, however, comes from surface water
managing to run down a casing owing to poor installation or flooding or
Well, again, that would rely upon there being sufficient soil
permeability...which may or may not be OP's case.
I have no real idea regarding what OP's problem actually might be;
insufficient data to have any way to know.
Only that I'm certain many installations if a tank were to leak
excessively, even if the drainfield were in perfect condition it would
eventually lead to a breakthrough around the tank.
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