If you live in an area without town or city waste removal, you likely have a septic tank on your property. Septic tanks hold and filter waste and water from your household plumbing. They are surrounded by a leach field and must be periodically pumped to keep them working. Because of this feature’s importance, repairs must be made quickly to prevent serious issues.
The national average for septic tank repair costs between $750 and $3,000, with the average homeowner paying $2,000 to replace a broken lateral line. Repair prices vary based on the problem and the amount of work required. A broken plastic lid can be repaired for just $150, but an entire leach field replacement in a large space may cost up to $20,000.
|Cost to Fix a Septic Tank|
|National average cost||$2,000|
The cost to repair a septic system varies based on the materials used. For example, most repairs to a plastic septic system will be less expensive than the same repairs for a fiberglass unit. There are also concrete systems that tend to have repair costs in between plastic and fiberglass. Below is a table with average costs for repairs based on the materials that make up your septic system.
|Material||Average Cost (Labor Included)|
|Plastic||$150 - $2,000|
|Concrete||$500 - $5,000|
|Fiberglass||$750 - $7,500|
Repairing a plastic septic tank tends to be the least expensive, with prices ranging from $150 to $2,000. Plastic tanks are also more affordable to install since they are easy to work with and lightweight. They are less likely to crack, can be very hygienic, and are easy to transport. However, they can more easily suffer crushing and experience damage based on the condition of the soil. They also require more maintenance than concrete tanks.
Repairs to a concrete septic tank range from $500 to $5,000. These tanks are stronger and more durable than plastic and resist tree roots and soil conditions. They can also resist crushing and need less maintenance than plastic tanks. However, installation and repairs are more expensive. They are more challenging to transport, and repairs often take more labor and a longer time. Corrosion is also more common with concrete.
The most expensive septic tank to repair is fiberglass 1. Costs range from $750 to $7,500. Fiberglass tanks weigh as little as plastic but resist cracking and rusting. They are also simple to install and have a long lifespan. Fiberglass tanks are more resistant to corrosion than concrete tanks and are watertight. These advantages play into why these tanks (and their repairs) are often more expensive than other materials.
Many issues can arise with your septic tank, and the cost depends on the problem. Some issues can be repaired quickly and cheaply, but others require more costly parts and long hours of labor, leading to higher bills. The table below shows common repairs and the average price for each.
|Type of Repair||Average Costs (Labor Included)|
|Lid||$150 - $500|
|Pipe||$200 - $800|
|Pump||$250 - $1,500|
|Outlet Baffle||$300 - $900|
|Wall||$500 - $4,000|
|Line||$1,000 - $4,500|
|Leach Field Rejuvenation||$1,000 - $5,000|
|Septic Field||$1,000 - $5,000|
|Leak||$1,000 - $10,000|
Repairing this lid averages $150 to $500. This typically needs to be done if there is cracking or other damage on the lid surface. If the surface is not in excellent shape, it may be possible for debris to move through the lid and into the tank. Repairs also may be needed if odors are making their way from the tank.
The average cost to repair these pipes ranges from $200 to $800. This is an important repair to handle as soon as damage is noticed. If odor and standing water are found between the drainfield and tank, it is likely that a pipe is broken and should be repaired. If there are issues with the pipe, you may also experience backups in the toilets or showers of the home.
A homeowner having a pump 2 repaired can expect to pay around $250 to $1,500. If there is damage to the pump, it can cause bad smells, sewage backups, pooling water, and slow drains. This pump connects to the home’s internal plumbing and needs to be maintained regularly to keep it in good shape. A damaged pump can be a health hazard and should be repaired by a professional as soon as possible.
Baffle repairs on a septic tank cost between $300 and $900. The baffle is a key component in any septic system because it stops the pipes from becoming clogged. But baffles can wear and may become cracked or damaged. In most cases, full replacements are needed, but you can patch minor damage on some baffles.
Tank wall repairs for a septic system average $500 to $4,000. The tank wall can be damaged by tree roots, exposure to the elements, and Earth movements. Cracks and holes may lead to worrying leaks if left untreated. Contractors use special equipment to fill cracks and repair damage. While small cracks may not be a problem, larger ones may create additional issues. Once filled, the tank can continue to be used as normal.
On average, repairing this type of line costs about $1,000 to $4,500. The lines are typically made of PVC plastic, ABS, or cast iron and connect the tank with the drainage system in the home. If the line is damaged, the tank will not work as expected. Leaks and other problems can occur. To repair this line, excavation is required to access it. At that point, a professional repairs the line to ensure the system is in good shape and ready to be used.
Leach field 3 rejuvenation costs between $1,000 and $5,000. This method is used to clean leach fields that have become clogged or soaked with wastewater and solid waste. Rejuvenation essentially gives the soil a helping hand and allows the field to absorb wastewater easily. It also involves pumping the field to remove excess water before adding good bacteria and enzymes to refresh the system.
Repairing the septic field costs between $1,000 and $5,000. The field, also known as the drain or leach field, transfers wastewater into the soil. Drain field problems can develop, leading to nasty smells and soaked ground. You can clean the area and resolve the problem’s root cause without resorting to a drain field replacement.
Repairing leaks costs $1,000 to $10,000. This wide price range is because there are many possible issues behind a leak. It might be a leak in the line or tank caused by various issues like corroded pipes or damaged leach fields. When the tank leaks, this can change the water level inside and result in the death of the bacteria that break down waste. Signs of a leak include lush grass nearby, a foul odor, or a moist yard in the area near the tank.
In many cases, the parts of your septic system may be beyond repair and must be replaced. This is often the most efficient repair because new parts last longer and help the system run at full capacity. Some parts are relatively cheap and easy to fit, but others are more expensive. The following table shows common parts and the average costs to replace each.
|Replacement Part||Average Cost (Labor Included)|
|Float||$150 - $500|
|Lid||$150 - $500|
|Filter||$200 - $300|
|Pump||$250 - $500|
|Baffle||$300 - $900|
|Distribution Box||$500 - $1,500|
|Lateral Line||$1,250 - $4,250|
|Leach Field||$2,000 - $20,000|
Replacing the float costs about $150 to $500. This is a straightforward repair that is less expensive than most. The most common reason to replace the sump float is if it does not activate or is not floating in the tank. If debris prevents the float from operating, it can be removed, and a replacement may not be needed.
Replacing the tank lid ranges from $150 to $500. This is one of the cheaper repair jobs for this kind of project. Lids can be damaged from exposure to dirt and elements. They are designed to last for many years but eventually must be replaced. It is important to ensure the same size lid is used for the repair to avoid further issues. However, the material used for the lid varies. Some experts recommend replacing concrete lids with plastic models.
The replacement of a septic tank filter costs $200 to $300. This part is made to add extra fibrillation before the wastewater reaches the drain field or leach. It helps prevent solid materials from reaching the drain field. It is recommended to clean this filter regularly and replace it once a year for the best results.
Replacing a pump ranges from $250 to $500. The pump is another key component of the system, responsible for helping the effluent flow out to the drain field correctly. Pumps naturally wear out over time and must be replaced every few years. Some of the most common signs of a bad pump include too much or too little noise, leaking into the tank, a faulty float, or a burnt out motor. Avoid placing debris into the tank to prolong the life of the pump.
Baffle replacements in this system average $300 to $900. The material costs for baffles are not too expensive. However, it takes some time to replace the baffles, leading to a costly job. You may have to pay more if the baffle is difficult to access. Baffles are located on both the inlet and outlet of the tank and have gaps to allow for venting or gases. This part can deteriorate over time, and a professional will need to replace it to ensure the system works correctly.
Replacing the distribution box costs between $500 and $1,500. This component is also called the D-box. It is very important and is responsible for controlling the even distribution of wastewater into the leach field. A damaged or broken box may vastly increase the risk of leach field issues, so have it checked regularly and replaced when necessary.
Septic tank lateral line replacements cost $1,250 to $4,250. Lateral lines are also called percolation pipes and are the pipes leading out from the tank to the soil, providing a passage for the effluent to flow into the leach field. If a thorough cleaning of the lateral line does not improve the efficiency, a replacement may be needed. These lines can also break and necessitate a replacement.
Leach field replacements for a septic system range from $2,000 to $20,000. This is one of the most expensive jobs when it comes to this type of repair. Leach fields fail for many reasons, mostly associated with improper tank maintenance, and digging out a new field costs a lot of time and money. While leach fields can last as long as 50 years, damage can occur that requires them to be replaced. A few signs include sewage odors near the leach field, mushy grass, or standing water.
There are many situations where homeowners do not know which components have caused the problems. However, they know something must be wrong due to strange smells, overflowing tanks, or other unpleasant or unusual situations. If you notice something strange going on with your tank, contact a professional and call them out to take a look and diagnose the issue. The table below shows common complaints and average repair costs for each.
|Type of Problem||Average Cost to Repair (Labor Included)|
|Backing Up||$250 - $1,000|
|Septic Smell||$250 - $5,000|
|Loud Noise||$250 - $10,000|
|Tank Overflow||$250 - $10,000|
|Water Not Draining||$250 - $10,000|
|Clog||$350 - $1,000|
|Ground Sinking Around Tank||$1,000 - $10,000|
|Leak||$1,500 - $20,000|
|Collapsed||$2,000 - $10,000|
|Crack||$2,000 - $10,000|
If you have a septic tank backing up into your bathtub, the repair may cost from $250 to $1,000. This problem can be caused by an issue with an effluent filter or an outlet baffle. It causes sewage to back up into the home or near the tank. If these two components are in good shape, the issue may be related to the inlet baffle. Unclogging should rectify the problem.
Repairing a septic system causing smells in the home costs between $250 and $5,000. In most cases, this issue is caused by a pipe clog or blockage preventing waste from flowing properly. It may also be caused by a full tank that needs to be emptied. Cleaning it regularly prevents this issue. Pipe clogs and other issues that create a foul odor from the tank should be handled by experts.
The cost to repair a system making loud noises ranges from $250 to $10,000. Some noises can be caused by the need to pump the tank, which is relatively inexpensive. However, these noises can also result from cracks and holes in the tank. Pump issues or drainfield problems may also create loud noises signifying the need for repairs.
Repairing an overflowing tank averages $250 to $10,000. There are a few possible causes of this problem. It might be that it needs to be pumped, which is cheap and simple. However, it might signify a more serious clog or leak that needs more expensive repairs. This is often the result of plant or tree roots that manage to get into the tank itself. This can be a serious situation, and a professional should be tasked with repairs as soon as possible.
Fixing a tank that does not drain costs $250 to $10,000. A common reason for this problem is a blockage in the tank or pipes, which may have become clogged with sludge, dirt, or tree roots. It might also be an issue with the distribution box, or the tank could need pumping. When the tank is filled with water, it can back up into the main line or even find an outlet inside a home. This serious issue should be handled by a professional due to the potential for making the problem worse.
The average cost to repair a clog between the house and a septic tank runs about $350 to $1,000. In some cases, this occurs due to the tank not being unclogged recently. This causes the tank to fill with waste which can backup the toilet or cause sinks and tubs to drain more slowly than usual. If a clog is present, pipes may need to be drained. If this is not the solution, the filter or baffle may need to be repaired.
Repairing a tank with ground sinking around it ranges from $1,000 to $10,000. This issue might be caused by a leak, causing water to flow out into the surrounding soil and creating a small sinkhole. A repairman must take a closer look and identify the issue’s cause before providing a repair quote. If a tank has been abandoned or is failing, it can also cause a sinkhole which may cause damage to the area nearby. Therefore, filling in or disposing of old tanks when new ones are installed is essential.
Repairing a leaking tank costs $1,500 to $20,000. One of the most common areas of the leak is the leach field. Various potential leach field problems might be causing this issue, and it could also be connected to damage in and around the tank. In the worst-case scenario, you might need a full leach field replacement. Less intensive leaks can occur at the tank and any lines and pipes associated with the system.
If a septic tank experiences a collapse, the repair costs range from $2,000 to $10,000. This is most common when it has not been maintained or inspected in the recent past. The causes of a collapse include pressure from above the ground, the growth of tree roots into the tank, or an aging structure. If it is no longer holding water, this hastens the process of collapse. The walls can also collapse. This is most common in older units made of cinder blocks rather than modern models.
Repairing a cracked septic tank costs between $2,000 and $10,000. Seasonal changes like thawing and freezing, shifting ground conditions, and additional environmental factors can cause a tank to crack. Some cracks are simple to repair, while others take additional work, leading to more expensive repair costs.
The solution used to repair a septic system factors into the price a homeowner pays. For instance, adding bacteria is a quick and straightforward solution that costs less than removing several tree roots from the tank to avoid damage. Below are some of the most common solutions for septic system repairs and the price you can expect to pay for them. These range from $50 to add bacteria to $5,000 to remove tree roots.
|Solution||Average Cost (Labor Included)|
|Add Bacteria||$50 - $500|
|Patch||$200 - $500|
|Clean||$400 - $1,000|
|Root Removal||$1,000 - $5,000|
Adding bacteria to a septic tank ranges from $50 to $500. Bacteria are used in aerobic septic systems to break down waste quickly and efficiently. The bacteria prevent waste from building up at the bottom of the tank. The bacteria float through the system, breaking up solid waste and turning it into a liquid. But the bacteria levels may start to decline if the system is not used for a while, and the system becomes less efficient.
Patching a hole or damaged area in a septic tank costs about $200 to $500. The patching process varies based on the material. For instance, a plastic septic tank can be plastic-welded in any damaged areas. On the other hand, a concrete one needs concrete filler installed. Keep in mind that a patch may be temporary, and further work could be needed in the future.
The average cost to clean a septic tank ranges from $400 to $1,000. Regular cleaning is required to ensure the tank works properly. If not cleaned correctly, it could have a bad odor, cause gurgling sounds, or lead to slow-draining sinks and showers. It can even lead to wet spots in the lawn. Cleaning avoids various problems and ensures your septic system remains in good shape for years.
Removing roots from your septic tank costs from $1,000 to $5,000. Over time, tree and plant roots grow into the tank or pipes. If the issue is minor, the job can be done cheaply. However, the situation may become more expensive if the roots are numerous and have damaged the tank, which requires patching and repairing. The tree roots can be removed mechanically or chemically. A professional can also remove the roots using a hydro jetter or manually take them from the earth.
Some plumbers work on septic systems, but you want a septic company to handle the work in most cases. The same company that oversees your tank’s pumping can handle most repairs. Many companies have flat fees for each repair, including a general inspection fee of $100 for the call-out. The most common repair type, a broken pipe, typically has a flat-rate fee of around $1,500. However, repairs can be more expensive based on factors like the location of the tank and how hard it is to reach. In some cases, repairmen may also charge per hour, with rates ranging from $125 to $250 per hour. Depending on the company, a discount may be available when using the same company for inspection and repairs. Expect to see a 10% to 20% discount in most locations.
When emergency septic repair is needed, costs increase compared to non-emergency service. This is because the professional doing the repairs needs to handle your problem quickly, which may cut into other work or time away from the job. There are several situations where emergency septic service may be needed. If the drain field is flooding, the toilets or drinks are backing up, or you have a septic alarm going off, a professional should be contacted immediately. A premium of around 25% to 50% is needed for these repairs. If a lid repair would otherwise cost $200, having it done on an emergency basis might bring the costs to $250 to $300 instead.
Septic tank inspections cost between $100 and $900 and should be carried out approximately once a year. Inspections should also be done when the house is being put on the market to be sold. During an inspection, a septic system expert looks at the various parts of your system to identify possible issues, including the tank, pump, and leach field. Various septic companies offer this service to keep homeowners’ systems properly maintained, which is useful for spotting problems before becoming more serious.
Two types of inspections can be done. A visual inspection is usually done when a home is being sold. This involves asking the homeowner questions, running the water, flushing the toilets, and making sure there is no standing water on the drain field. A full inspection incorporates all of these aspects and more. The process involves removing the cover and checking the water level. A dye test may also be done.
If the inspection turns up issues, a homeowner will typically work with a septic company professional to make repairs or replacements. The average cost per hour for the septic work ranges from $125 to $175. Additional fees are based on the specific problem and type of septic tank.
The cost to relocate a septic tank ranges from $5,000 to $15,000 or higher in some cases. This can be very costly, often equivalent to installing an entirely new septic system, but it can be necessary in certain situations. For example, it may not be safe to keep the tank in its existing location if there is ground movement, and relocation is necessary. This process involves excavating the tank and moving it to a new location, which also must be excavated, plus extra landscaping costs.
Relocating or replacing a system takes from two to five days. Excessive tree roots, wet weather, and a hard-to-access site make the process take longer. For instance, the presence of lots of tree roots could add $1,000 to $4,000 to the price. The type of tank, its size, and the regional labor costs factor into what is paid to relocate a tank.
Septic tanks have numerous parts, meaning several things can break or wear out. Symptoms that might mean that it needs repairing vary based on the issue. Puddles or wet areas located above the septic tank are one sign. You also may smell the odor of sewage when you are near the tank. If the grass has become more dense and colorful, your tank may need to be repaired. Plumbing inside the house that does not drain properly or backs up is another sign. You may notice a depression or sunken area over the tank, gurgling in other drains when one fixture is used, or a strong odor coming from the drains when repairs are required.
Not all of these necessarily indicate a repair is needed. Some may mean it is overdue for regular service or a separate issue with the plumbing. You should still have the system checked to ensure no serious issues need an emergency repair.
Septic systems do not require much hands-on maintenance. They should be pumped regularly, according to the schedule determined by you and the service provider. You may also want to have it inspected every few years by the same provider to ensure things are working. During this inspection, they may identify small issues that can be corrected before they become expensive repairs.
If your septic provider recommends it, you can send additives through the system by flushing them down the toilet. These additives contain bacteria that help your system work efficiently. Not every system operates the same, so do not add anything to your tank without first checking with your service provider.
Using a smaller amount of water keeps the system healthy. When it has additional water, this causes it to take longer to break down waste. Using water-saving showerheads, faucets, and toilets will help. Homeowners should also make sure the tap is turned off when the water is not actively being used. It is also important to avoid disposing of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials in the septic tank. Large amounts of chemicals, disinfectants, or medications should never be placed in the septic system. However, detergents and bleaches are okay to dispose of in moderate amounts.
As time goes on, problems may occur with your septic tank. Depending on what damage is present, you can choose to have repairs made, or you can choose to have a replacement septic tank installed. However, it is important to properly maintain the system to stave off problems for as long as possible. This is especially true for simple tasks like replacing filters or lids.
If the tank is experiencing major damage or cracks, replacement may be needed. The same applies if it is contaminating nearby water, causing patchy grass, or resulting in slow toilet flushing and sink or shower draining. Intense odors of sewage or the presence of standing water may indicate the need for a replacement of the tank itself.
For general repairs, a homeowner can expect to pay an average of $750 to $3,000. On the other hand, you can replace a septic tank for about $9,500 to $15,000, including the price to remove the old one. When deciding whether to repair or replace, consider the extent of damage and the cost for each option.
|Type of Service||Average Cost (Labor Included)|
|Repair||$750 - $3,000|
|Replacement||$9,500 - $15,000|
A clogged septic tank requires cleaning and pumping to work properly again. In most cases, this costs between $350 and $1,000. They should be inspected regularly to determine whether clogging or other issues are present.
Signs of a failing system include slow drains, water pooling above the tank, an odor around it or coming from drains, or sunken ground around the tank.
In some instances, you can repair a tank. Pipes, baffles, and other moving parts can be replaced to keep the tank working.
On average, a well-maintained septic system lasts 20 to 30 years. It is not unheard of for a tank to last more than 40 years in some cases. Regular maintenance is the best way to ensure it lasts for decades.
This depends on the area that needs repair. Many parts can be repaired, while some major issues with the tank may require replacement. The average price to repair a concrete septic tank is about $500 to $5,000, depending on which parts need attention.
Old units need removing only when selling the property, starting a new business, or extending the property into the area.
It is not necessarily bad, but you may need new bacteria introduced to get it working again.
Hazardous items like paint, paint thinner, and gasoline should not be put in a septic system. Do not put plastics, medications, or chemicals into the septic system. Other items to avoid introducing into the system include motor oil, coffee grounds, cat litter, cigarette butts, paper towels, and disposable diapers.
Cost to repair a septic tank varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.