Septic Tank

Choose the answer that you feel is most correct based on this:

A septic system is present on a house in an area that has had very little rain for months.
It is June and the grass is brown except around the perimeter of the tank. The tank according to the owner is only about two feet deep. Only one person lives in the house.

What is a septic field?

In Florida the answer would be… Call a licensed professional, unlicensed home inspectors should be disclaiming septic systems in their entirety.

SEPTIC SYSTEM: A registered septic tank contractor should be called in to make a further evaluation and to provide you with a cost estimate for repairs or replacements as needed. Be forewarned that State of Florida HRS regulations pertaining to installation AND REPAIR of new systems have recently been changed, and older in-ground systems now in use under a grandfather clause must be upgraded to current standards should the drain fields fail. Where major reconstruction of the septic system is required, the cost can easily amount to several thousand dollars. Failed drain fields installed since 1983 can generally be repaired without the expense of upgrading to current standards, at a much lesser cost. Inquire with the County Health Department or your septic contractor if further information is desired.

Same answer here in AZ Joe.:slight_smile:

Sorry I don’t feel the grass being green around the tank is indicative of leakage. Leakage in a tank goes down, especially if two feet below the surface. The green grass could indicate the soil around the tank is better than the soil over the weeping tiles. Fwiw.

In the old days with a concrete tank, usually the grass would die on top of the lid first, because of the heat/ no earth to absorb the sun. The rest of the yard looked pretty good for a while, just more green where it received more water.

Our office subcontracts Septic Inspections only to PSMA Certified Firms.

This is the Standard Level of Reporting acceptable in the Southeastern portion of PA.

I don’t know the answer to this poll, I just posted to see how many opinions it would get…

The least likely one would be a septic tank problem.
I think it could very well be normal in the stated circumstances.

Perhaps it was “fertilized” from a sloppy septic pumper. :slight_smile:

    Turd Farmer:mrgreen:

I have lived in houses with septic systems for almost 20 years. The first area of my lawn to dry up and go brown is around the top of the tank.
If the area around the perimeter of my tank was green and the rest of my lawn was brown, I would suspect leakage around the tank, possibly due to a blocked tile bed. Water will always find the path of least resistance.
My thoughts.:-k

Just for interest…

My tank is buried 24" below grade. There is a vault over the actual tank. The vault lid is only several inches below grade. Because the soil is thin and dries quickly the grass dies, yet the grass around the vault is green because the soil is thick and most likely holds moisture longer and likely better quality.

Wow, that’s a long way down. Is your system gravity or pump? My tank has two chambers with access lids about one foot below grade, that’s it.


The septic is gravity, the line exits the foundation approximately three feet above basement floor. In order to get the slope right they put the tank in deeper with a vault or extension chamber to bring it just under the surface. In my set up you take the first hatch off which accesses the lid to the main tank,24" below.


In the case of my own home, (circa 1960) the sanitary line terminates at the rear floor of the basement slab and runs subgrade to the front yard of the home.

The tank and and field are more than 15-20 feet subgrade.

No access or vent are available as the system is substantially subgrade…

So Joe what do you do when it needs a pump out? Have you ever had it pumped considering the depth?

Mine was 40± older and only had one chamber it also was exactly like Raymonds and it has been pumped every 2 years still works perfectly .
If they are not pumped regullarly then sooner or later new bed cost many times what the regular pump out costs.
Roy Cooke sr

Grass would be green around the lid because it was getting fertilized. Outflow blocked, tank full of effluent which may soon appear as a fluid on the surface. Time to call a septic inspector.

What is being flushed down or washed into the tank will dictate long term performance. (i.e. bleach, paints, fats, oils, amount of water, cigarette butts, hair pins, dispondibles, diapers, too much paper… )

Because only one person lives in the house… better call for a
Professional Septic System inspection.

What would happen if this system got hit by a busy weekend
with all the relatives over.?

I always flood the system from evey outlet for 20 min. to
see if I can create a problem. It helps to smell the soil too.

50% fail this test… (have nose, will travel)