How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Septic Tank?

Average range: $750 - $3,000
Average Cost
(Replacing a broken lateral line)

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Reviewed by Paula Reguero. Written by

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 how important this feature is, 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 amount of work required. A broken baffle can be repaired for just $150, but an entire large leach field replacement may cost up to $20,000.

Cost to Repair a Septic Tank

Septic Tank Repair Cost
National average cost$2,000
Average range$750-$3,000

Septic Tank Repair Cost by Project Range

Repairing a broken baffle
Average Cost
Replacing a broken lateral line
Replacing a large leach field

Septic Tank Repair Cost by Type of Repair

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 needed for septic tanks and the average price for each:

Cost to Repair Septic Tank by Type of Repair: Outlet Baffle, Bacteria Addition, Wall, Roots Removal, Leach Field Rejuvenation…

Cost to Repair Septic Tank by Type of Repair: Outlet Baffle, Bacteria Addition, Wall, Roots Removal, Leach Field Rejuvenation…

Type of RepairAverage Costs
Outlet Baffle$150 - $600
Add Bacteria$350 - $650
Wall$500 - $4,000
Roots Removal$1,000 - $5,000
Leach Field Rejuvenation$1,000 - $5,000
Septic Field$1,000 - $5,000
Leak$1,000 - $10,000

Septic Tank Outlet Baffle Repair Cost

Baffle repairs on a septic tank cost between $150 and $600. 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.

Add Bacteria to a Septic Tank

Adding bacteria to a septic tank ranges from $350 to $650. Bacteria are used in aerobic septic systems to break down waste quickly and efficiently. But the bacteria levels may start to decline if the tank is not used for a while, and the system becomes less efficient.

Septic Tank Wall Repair Cost

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 need to use special equipment to fill cracks and repair damage.

Cost to Remove Roots from a Septic Tank

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 done damage to the tank, which requires patching and repairing.

Leach Field Rejuvenation Cost

Leach field 1 rejuvenation costs between $1,500 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.

Septic Field Repair Cost

Repairing the septic field averages $1,500 and $5,000. The septic field, also known as the drain or leach field, transfers wastewater into the soil. Drain field 1 problems can develop, leading to nasty smells and soaking ground. You can clean the area and resolve the problem’s root cause without resorting to a drain field replacement.

Septic Tank Leak Repair Cost

Repairing leaks in septic tanks costs $1,000 to $10,000, and this wide price range is because there are many possible issues behind a leak. It might be a leak in the line or tank and could be caused by various issues like corroded pipes or damaged leach fields.

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Septic Repair Cost by Type of Replacement

In many cases, the parts of your septic tank 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 top capacity. Some parts are relatively cheap and easy to fit, but others are more expensive. The following table shows common septic tank parts and the average costs to replace each:

Cost to Replace Lid, Baffle, Distribution Box, Pump, Lateral Line, or Leach Field of a Septic Tank

Cost to Replace Lid, Baffle, Distribution Box, Pump, Lateral Line, or Leach Field of a Septic Tank

Replacement PartAverage Costs
Lid$150 - $500
Baffle$250 - $1,000
Distribution Box$500 - $1,500
Pump$500 - $1,500
Lateral Line$1,500 - $5,000
Leach Field$5,000 - $20,000

Septic Tank Lid Replacement Cost

Replacing the tank lid of a septic system ranges from $150 to $500. This is one of the cheaper repair jobs for septic tanks. Lids can be damaged from exposure to dirt and elements. They are designed to last for many years but eventually must be replaced.

Septic Tank Baffle Replacement Cost

Baffle replacements in a septic tank average $250 to $1,000. The material costs for baffles are not too expensive, but it can take some time to replace the baffles, leading to a costly job. You may have to pay more if the baffle is difficult to access.

Septic Distribution Box Replacement Cost

Replacing a septic distribution box costs between $500 and $1,500. This component is also called the D-box. It is very important, 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 Pump Replacement Cost

Replacing a septic tank pump 2 ranges from $500 to $1,500. 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.

Septic Lateral Line Replacement Cost

Septic tank lateral line replacements cost $1,500 to $5,000. 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.

Leach Field Replacement Cost

Leach field replacements for a septic system range from $5,000 to $20,000, and this is one of the most expensive jobs when it comes to septic tank repair. Leach fields can fail for many reasons, mostly associated with improper tank maintenance, and digging out a new field costs a lot of time and money.

Septic System Repair Costs by Type of Problem

There are many situations where homeowners do not know which components have caused the problems, but 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 septic tank complaints and average repair costs for each.

Cost to Repair Septic Tank by Problem: Septic Smell, Tank Overflow, Water Not Draining, Ground Sinking, or Leach Field Leaking

Cost to Repair Septic Tank by Problem: Septic Smell, Tank Overflow, Water Not Draining, Ground Sinking, or Leach Field Leaking

Type of ProblemAverage Costs
Septic Smell$250 - $5,000
Tank Overflow$250 - $10,000
Water Not Draining$250 - $10,000
Ground Sinking Around Tank$1,000 - $10,000
Leach Field Leaking$1,500 - $20,000

Septic Smell in House

Repairing a septic tank causing septic 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 properly flowing through. It may also be caused by a full tank that needs to be emptied.

Septic Tank Overflow

Repairing an overflowing septic tank averages $250 to $10,000. There are a few possible causes of this problem. It might be that the tank needs to be pumped, which is cheap and simple. However, it might be a sign of a more serious clog or leak that needs more expensive repairs.

Septic Tank Full of Water Not Draining

Fixing a septic 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.

Ground Sinking around Septic Tank

Repairing a septic 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.

Leach Field Leaking at the End

Repairing a leaking leach field costs $1,500 to $20,000. 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.

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Labor Costs to Repair a Septic Tank

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, with an included 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. In some cases, repairmen may also charge per hour, with rates ranging from $100 to $250 per hour.

Signs That a Septic Tank Reeds Repairing

Septic tanks have numerous parts, meaning several things can break or wear out. Symptoms that might mean that your septic tank needs repairing include:

  • Wet areas or puddles forming above the septic tank.
  • Strong smell of sewage in the vicinity of the tank.
  • Grass over the tank suddenly increasing in color and density.
  • Plumbing inside the house backing up or not draining properly.
  • Sunken area or depression over the tank.
  • Gurgling within other drains when one plumbing fixture is used.
  • Strong smell or odor coming from the drains inside the house.

Not all of these necessarily indicate a repair is necessary. Some may mean the tank 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 Tank Inspection Cost

Septic tank inspections cost between $150 and $300. During an inspection, a septic tank expert looks at the various parts of your system to identify possible issues, including the tank, pump, and leach field 1. Various septic companies offer this service to keep homeowners’ septic tanks properly maintained, which is useful for spotting problems before becoming more serious.

Professional Emptying Household Septic Tank

Cost to Relocate a Septic Tank

The cost to relocate a septic tank ranges from $2,000 to $20,000 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.

Septic Tank Maintenance

Septic tanks 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 turn up 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 additional 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.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Septic Tank Pumping

Your tank should be pumped regularly every few years. To make repairs, the service provider may sometimes first pump the tank for a better look. Pumping a septic tank usually costs between $250 and $895.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • If you live in a freeze/thaw climate and need repairs during the winter, your rates could be higher because workers may require additional equipment to cut through the frozen ground.
  • Be advised that heavy vehicles like tractors driven over the top of a septic tank may damage it.
  • You may not have to remove the septic tank right away if you have a sewer hookup, but you need to remove it if you sell the property, open a new business, or build in that area.
  • Do not dispose of non-biodegradable materials like plastics in your septic tank.
  • Do not dispose of old medications or large amounts of disinfectant or chemicals into your septic tank because these could kill the beneficial bacteria.
  • Bleaches and detergents used in moderation do not pose a threat to the system.
  • Using less water may keep your system healthy. Extra water in the tank prevents the timely breakdown of waste. Using water-saving toilets, faucets, and showerheads can help. Turn off the tap when not actively using the water.


  • What are the signs of a failing septic system?

Signs of a failing system include slow drains, water pooling above the tank, an odor around the tank or coming from drains, or sunken ground around the tank.

  • Can you repair a septic tank?

In some instances, you can repair a tank. Pipes, baffles, and other moving parts can be replaced to keep the tank working..​

  • How many years does a septic tank last?

When well-maintained, a septic tank should last at least 15 years.

  • Can a concrete septic tank be repaired?

This depends on the area that needs repair. Many parts can be repaired, while some major issues with the tank may require replacement..​

  • Do old septic tanks need to be removed?

Old septic tanks need removing only when selling the property, starting a new business, or extending the property into the area..​

  • Is it bad for a septic system to sit unused?

It is not necessarily bad, but you may need new bacteria introduced to get it working again..​

  • What should you not put in a septic system?

Do not put plastics, medications, or chemicals into the septic system.​​

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Leach field: (Also known as Drain field) The part of a septic system that is used to remove pollutants and impurities from the fluid coming out of the septic tank.
glossary term picture Pump 2 Pump: A device used to move air, liquid, or gas by mechanical means

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.

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Open Access Hatch of a Septic Tank Being Repaired Next to Some Pairs of Gloves
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