Many years ago, it was common for people to simply abandon their septic systems and tanks. This can be linked to the spread of municipal sewer systems as they became more widely available. There was inadequate information available on the dangers of this practice, especially if the abandoned septic system was near livestock, children, and frequent human activity.
Nowadays, there are safety regulations in place by counties and governing bodies that help to prevent unsafe abandoned septic systems. These older tanks that have been left unattended for years can pose many hazards, including instabilities in the ground and toxic chemicals. If you have a reason to be concerned about the status of an abandoned septic system, seek a professional inspection.
Dangers of Abandoned Septic Systems
While many people understand that an improperly abandoned septic system can cause unsafe conditions for homeowners and unassuming pedestrians, some dangers are less obvious. Septic systems need to be closed off according to regulation and destroyed before being forgotten or else they can emit dangerous gases and potentially cause an area of collapsed earth.
Due to septic systems being below ground, if they’re left abandoned with liquid still in them, the toxicity of the containments can put the surrounding rock at risk of collapsing in on itself. This can result in a sinkhole or weaken the ground to the point that it gives way when somebody steps on it.
As we all know, Florida is already prone to sinkholes. Don’t add to that by abandoning your septic system.
When a system has been left abandoned and lacks proper maintenance and inspection, dangerous gases can build up within the tank. This can be traced back to leftover human waste, as it begins to break down and turn into a toxic gas. Gases such as methane and hydrogen sulfide can build up, which becomes a flammable combination.
Many diseases can be linked back to contact with human waste, such as hepatitis A, cholera, dysentery, and all types of gastrointestinal diseases. When a tank has been abandoned with waste still inside of it, there is potential for seepage and this can result in unhealthy contact with those who are in the vicinity and groundwater contamination.
How to Deal with Abandoned Septic Tanks
If you’ve recently moved into an older home and found that there is an abandoned septic system on the property, you should have it inspected. This is especially true if there is no documentation concerning the system and whether or not it was destroyed. Abandoned septic tanks can cause hazards to small children, family pets, and livestock that graze the property.
Abandoning a septic tank without taking the proper precautions is illegal in many counties. Call a professional septic technician and the local county office to discuss any permits or regulations. Oftentimes, a map will need to be provided so future owners are aware of the location of the previous system. Inspection documents will also be required that verify the job was done according to the code.
When abandoning a steel septic tank, the metal must be crushed and buried. For concrete tanks, the material must be broken into pieces and filled with sand or gravel. Safety measures are in place to avoid anyone becoming injured after unknowingly walking across an abandoned septic system. This can happen many years down the line but it may prove to be fatal due to the toxic contents of the old tank.
Found an Abandoned Septic System?
Abandoned septic tanks are more common than you may think. At Advanced Septic Services of Florida, we can provide homeowners with the peace of mind that a septic system was safely abandoned. Protect your family and call us today to schedule an inspection or to discuss how to safely abandon your tank.