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How To Safely Leave Behind An Old Septic Tank On Your Property

When you buy an older home, the chances are good that there is a septic tank underground somewhere on your property. Even if the house is connected to the municipal sewage system now, it might not always have been. It is likely one of the previous owners might have connected the house and just left the old tank where it was.
This is because years ago there was no legislation like now regulating how septic tanks need to be treated and most were simply left where they were and forgotten about. Having a huge underground metal tank that was previously used to house sewage now slowly disintegrating poses a huge safety risk. More so if you have pets, livestock and children roaming about. The safest solution is to have the old tank filled or destroyed. A general overview of this process is provided.

Permits and Inspections May Most Likely Be Required
These old septic tanks are so dangerous that there are local codes and regulations stipulating how these need to be treated when no longer in use. One of the dangers is that a child might get curious enough to force the lid open and may fall in. The old tanks also become brittle and may crumble when someone walks over them causing the person or animal to fall in. Falling through sharp metal and into what is left of its toxic content with concrete potentially also falling in could be very serious if not fatal.
Steel tanks used to be used for septic tanks many years ago. Because these steel tanks would rust, they became prone to collapsing and were consequently discontinued. Even the concrete version of these tanks starts to crack and break after a long time underground.
Any old tank needs to be dealt with. The underground tank removal needs to be in accordance with local codes and is subject to an inspection by the city to ensure its safety before you may abandon your tank. You can imagine that an old tank is similar to an underground cavern with a lid that can collapse at any moment.

The Old Tank Is Crushed and Buried or Removed
The best way to abandon your septic tank will be established by your contractor. Typically, if it is a steel tank, they will crush it where it lies and bury it deep. If it is a concrete tank, they will destroy the sides and bottom to make sure that no water is retained and fill it up using gravel, sand or rubble and bury it. The topsoil is well compacted to ensure that there are no air pockets and that the filling material is solid and will not shift. You do not want any part of your land to sink when walked on.
These tanks can also be completely removed or demolished and buried where they lay. Your intended use for the land greatly impacts on this decision. If you want to build a pool or a house then it is best to opt for a complete underground tank removal and fill the hole completely.

The Abandonment is Documented and Mapped
Since septic tanks are underground, they are often difficult to find even if they are in use. It is even easier to forget that an old abandoned tank even exists and new owners might never know it is there. It is important to provide the new owners with the permit and inspection documents proving that the abandonment was done legally and you might even provide a drawing of where the tank is. This is not just in good faith, but can also protect you against future claims.
The fact that your septic tank location is known and that it was legally abandoned might even be a selling point for your home as the new owners will appreciate knowing where there are underground obstacles on their property before they find it out the hard way.

You might have an abandoned rusting old tank in your backyard and it will take a lot of historical digging to find out if you do. It might be well worth the effort if it can prevent a disaster from happening when it collapses.
Should you find an old abandoned septic tank on your property give us at Industrial Demolition & Metal Management a call. We will take care of the hazard for you to keep your pets, animals, and family from getting hurt or worse. We are tank demolition experts and we use the required tank abandonment procedures in compliance with your local codes and provide you with the proof.

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