Septic tank troubles

12 Replies

All depends the problem .  Wet yard ?  tank caving in ?  Crap coming out of lid ?   Backing up ?   

Cant tell you until there is more info

It all depends like Matthew Paul stated, here in Jax it can be anywhere from 250 to drain to 10,000 or more on a new one depending on type of septic tank; which depends on how many bedrooms and occupants. distance from home. If it has a lift station which most commercial places do and so on....  I know it’s a broad margin but you would have to be more specific. The easiest would be to have an inspection done before hand, bc if it does need a new one, you can drop the price.

@Christopher J Lemmon In my area, where the soil tends to be sandy and will drain well, we budget $35,000 and hope for $20,000 - $25,000.

It's hindsight now, but when writing an offer, I always include a contingency that lets the buyer either get a price reduction or cancel the sale based on the outcome of the septic inspection.  Better yet, require that the seller delivers the property with a passing inspection by an inspector of your choosing.

Call a few septic companies in the local area and ask them.  The cost of this varies WIDELY depending on the soil, available space, and the type of system required.

What one company told me was on duplex’s you have to install two 1000 gallon tanks. The cost to replace one tank is $13,500, so $27,000 if when when the tank fails.

For a duplex that only costs $83,000 and with rent at $575 x 2 = $1150 monthly I am leaning toward backing out of the contract. Seems like too great a risk if it were to fail.

@Christopher J Lemmon - a couple of things here:

  • as part of your due diligence, you can pay to have the tank(s) pumped and then the Septic Tank Professional can provide you an assessment on the condition of the tank. Should be around $2-300/tank.
  • In the 3 counties we have units, the County Health Dept is who decides laws/governance/code on septic tanks. They should have a record of when the tank(s) were installed and update you on any new codes/regulations, bigger tanks needed, more drain fields required, etc. 

The life expectancy on septic tanks is typically 30-40 yrs. Some of the prices mentioned here are extremely high compared to what I've actually paid, suggest shopping around. Best of luck!

could depend on if there is a drain field also with the septic tank,,, a new mound system could be 20 to 40 K depending on size.

like others recommended get at bid now for before you get any further down the road. 

Around here, septics have to be inspected before property can transfer. All local companies will do it; last time I had one done, it was about $500. That included pumping out, visual inspection, verification of leach field, re-fill with clean water & replacing the cover with some stupid green plastic thing the county now requires & which could be taken off by any 8-year-old. (Sorry - soapbox!) Every county likely has requirements for septic inspection, replacement, etc. already in place & any local septic contractor should be able to help you out. Of course, if replacement is called for, get multiple bids! 

I only have one house with a septic tank.  Prior to purchase I asked if it was on city sewer as I suspected it might not be (the backyard had an old, shut down well) and was told "yep".  Found out later this wasn't true. 

Between tenants I attempted to get the house connected to our city sewer line only to learn there wasn't a line on the street the house is on.  It's a short, dead end street; just three houses and a mobile home.  No sewer connection and no plans by my county to put one in in the near future.

So...the biggest issue I try is to limit the number of tenants living there to limit the load on the system, encourage them NOT to pour every cleaning agent known to mankind down the drain and provide them with products to periodically "feed" the system regarding the bacterial content.  Every couple of years I have it pumped out which costs about $200 in my area.


I would call around more.  Prices varies widely.  Usually the tanks are good for a long time.  Sometimes the drain fields can go bad from various things.  A few years back a place I sold had some issues and they ended up putting in a new drain field for maybe$2K.  At the time a brand new septic system with a 1500 tank and drain field was going for $4500-8000 depending who you had do it.  

Take a look at some alternative treatment units to septic. Sometimes they are cheaper to install and maintain (no pumping or leach lines required) which might be a better alternative! I've know that Hydrocor units aren't affected by high water tables and the water can be hooked up to sub-irrigation.