Septic System Repairs – Minor

Historically, when discussing possible septic repairs with customers, there seems to be some confusion as to what a septic system repair means.  Usually, recommendations for septic system repairs, if needed, come from a Real Estate Septic Inspection. Sometimes repair recommendations are the result of reported problems by a homeowner. In either instance a fair, honest and thorough septic inspection is critical!

Over the next two weeks, my goal will be to discuss septic repairs from both a functional and a regulatory point of view. We can easily break down septic repairs into two basic categories.

  • Minor Septic Repairs
  • Major Septic Repairs

This blog post will be centered on the Minor Septic Repair.  I will discuss what our definition of this is and under what circumstances these repairs may be recommended and possibly required by the Health Department. Our next blog post will be centered around Major Septic Repairs.

First, this is the definition of “Repair” as found in NJAC 7:9A – “Repair” means to fix, refurbish or replace one or more components of an individual subsurface sewage disposal system in a manner that will restore, preserve and not change the original location, design, construction and installation, size, capacity, type, or number of the components of the system.

A “Repair” can be further broken down into the two categories by determining if a Professional Engineer is required.  Any repair dealing with the system’s absorption area will require an Engineer to “Sign-Off” on the repair. Examples of absorption areas are drain fields (in-ground and mounded), seepage pits and trenches. These repairs we consider “Major” and will likely exceed $5,000.

Any “Repair” to any component other than the absorption area is allowed without requiring an engineer and these are the repairs we consider “Minor”.  These repairs will still normally require a permit but the permit can be submitted by us without engineering support.  The clear majority of minor repairs are priced from $150 to $1,500. However, some minor repairs can still cost as much as $5,000.

Here are some of the minor septic repairs that are of the less expensive variety:

  • Inspection Port Caps
  • Cleanout Caps
  • Septic Tank Baffles (Inlet/Outlet)
  • Septic Tank Lid
  • Septic Tank Risers
  • Pump Station Lids
  • Internal Effluent Filters
  • Small/Shallow Distribution Boxes
  • Conveyance Lines

Here are some of the minor repairs that can be more expensive:

  • Larger/Deeper Distribution Boxes
  • Septic Tank Replacements
  • Additional Septic Tank Installations
  • External Effluent Filters
  • Internal Components for Pump Stations

Under what circumstance(s) might we recommend a septic repair? I’m glad you asked! Here are some pictures from a septic inspection we performed just last week.

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The first picture shows the outlet line leaving the septic tank is back-pitched which means the water is not leaving the tank correctly and needs to be repaired.The next two pictures show the distribution box is not level and is showing signs of deterioration. More than likely the Health Department will require the distribution box be replaced.The last picture shows signs of minor root penetration beneath the steel ring that holds the steel lid. This means the lid is not secured correctly to the concrete riser which may allow rain water/storm water to enter the tank which could hydraulically overload the septic system.  From a functional perspective, the system is not working as intended. The regulatory response is non-compliant conditions exist which require repairs. There really is a method to the madness!

The next two pictures show the distribution box is not level and is showing signs of deterioration. More than likely the Health Department will require the distribution box be replaced.The last picture shows signs of minor root penetration beneath the steel ring that holds the steel lid. This means the lid is not secured correctly to the concrete riser which may allow rain water/storm water to enter the tank which could hydraulically overload the septic system.  From a functional perspective, the system is not working as intended. The regulatory response is non-compliant conditions exist which require repairs. There really is a method to the madness!

This example is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a recommendation/requirement for a septic repair, and in this case, is a result of a septic inspection. The homeowner reports they’ve never had issues with the septic system (I believe them) and this system is 6 years old which means any warranty has expired. My heart goes out to the seller’s but my head must stay focused and follow the Standards laid out by NJDEP.

We are always available for questions and we have a page on our website dedicated to septic system repairs www.careseptics.com/septic-repairs/.

Sincerely,

Joe Garner – Owner

CARE SEPTICS

jgarner@careseptics.com

(T) 844-54-SEPTIC  (844-547-3784)

(O) 856-213-5193

(C) 856-513-5660

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