How Much It Costs To Repair Your Septic Tank

You may not think twice about your septic tank until you need to call to have it serviced, especially if you find yourself with problems like a sink drain that doesn't fully empty or toilets that are backing up on a routine basis. Or maybe you've noticed the yard doesn't look right, perhaps with the grass seeming to be squishy even when it doesn't rain for a few days. These are signs that you may need to repair your septic tank.

Septic tank repair costs range from $750 up to $3,000, but many factors play a role in that range. The cost you'll pay is dependent on the type and extensiveness of the problem, along with factors like where you live and how accessible the repair actually is. For example, digging up the whole yard to replace a lateral line is more expensive than repairing a lid. More so, the type of septic tank also impacts costs. 

Materials matter. Plastic models tend to be less expensive to repair than concrete because they are lighter in weight and require less labor to install them. Both options are often less expensive than fiberglass, which offers numerous advantages, like being resistant to corrosion. What can you expect then? Getting a formal quote from a technician who can investigate and diagnose the problem is always best, but here are some insights into cost expectations.

What's wrong with your septic tank?

The biggest factor in cost is typically the underlying problem. You may not know the concern until a professional visits, inspects, and diagnoses it. The least expensive repairs tend to be lid and pipe replacement. A lid repair is necessary if the existing one is cracked or no longer holds in place properly, creating an injury risk to someone walking by. It will typically cost between $150 and $500. In situations where you have standing water in a specific area of your yard within the drain field (also called the leach field), that could be due to a broken or cracked pipe. Removing it requires digging it up and replacing the damaged area, typically costing between $200 and $800, depending on the damage location.

Another problem involves repairing the pump, which typically ranges from $250 to $1,500 for repairs. A new pump will likely cost $250 to $500 alone, not including work to remove the existing pump and make other repairs as needed. If you're experiencing sewage backups with a nonworking pump, the pump itself could be the problem. 

Clogs in the line could be due to a failed baffle, which also leads to sewage backup into the home or very slow draining. If your sink empties very slowly and it takes a long time to do so, a clog may be evident because the water is trying to work through that material. Repairing the baffle may cost between $50 to $250.

Bigger costs for more significant problems

Septic tank repair costs may be higher when the problem is in the drain field. For example, if you need to have the entire drain field removed, that will involve excavating the area fully, which could cost as much as $20,000. Without a doubt, this is the most costly type of repair because it requires extensive removal and refitting. It may be possible for rejuvenation to be completed instead, which is a process of cleaning the field if it's currently clogged. This cuts the cost to a range of $1,000 to $5,000. If your drain field is soggy, that's likely the starting point for repairs.

Septic tank repair related to a leaking tank can also carry a hefty price tag, usually between $1,000 and $10,000 to fix. The cost directly depends on where the leak is, the type of material that needs to be replaced, and the overall extensiveness of the repair. Replacing corroded pipes could be more costly than repairing a line leak close to the surface, for example.

Ultimately, there's also the cost of investigating the problem to determine the underlying repair needs. Having an inspection itself will range from $100 to $900. Expect emergency repair costs to be higher, generally adding up to 50% more to the cost of the repairs needed. In many cases, replacing your septic tank costs much more than repairing it.