Replacing an old septic tank is not anyone's idea of fun, but it is necessary. If you want to be of assistance to the septic tank contractor, there are a few things you can do, but you have to be really careful with how you do them. Here are a few important things you need to know about septic tank installations and replacements and any DIY help you may provide.
Digging up the Old Tank
Digging up the old septic tank is a delicate process. Even septic tank contractors are very careful with how they handle the backhoe when they do this.
If you want to cut costs and help uncover the old tank for easier access and removal by the contractor, you have to do it like this:
- Dig slowly and shallowly. Shallow scoops and slow scooping prevents you from scraping, cracking, or breaking the old tank.
- Dig a six-by-ten-by-six foot hole above the old tank. The hole should be six feet along the ends of the tank, ten feet along the sides of the tank, and six feet down. If you have not unearthed the septic tank yet, get into the hole and dig down manually until you hit the top of the tank with your spade or shovel. This will tell you how far down the tank is buried.
- If you are really careful, you may use the backhoe to scoop away dirt until a large part of the top of the septic tank is exposed.
- Stop. The backhoe's work here is done. You will need to unearth the rest of the tank using a spade or shovel to avoid damaging the septic line from your house to the tank. You also need to avoid damaging the line that filters effluent (i.e., liquid) waste to the leach field. If you damage either of these lines, you will have a very expensive and ultra-smelly mess for the contractor to clean up.
You have done most of the labor for the contractor when you get to this point. Leave the removal of the tank for the contractor's crew. If you want to do more of the work, wait until he or she and the crew have finished the removal of the old tank and the installation of the new tank. Then you can take over and fill in most of the dirt over the tank, covering it up again after the contractor has verified that the tank and its in and out ports are working. Visit septic contractors' sites, like http://www.southernsanitarysystems.com, for more information.