House on top of septic tank

House on top of septic tank
House on top of septic tank

Okay, here’s a scary one I did for a homeowner.  Or should I say couldn’t do for a homeowner.  Here’s why and situation.

Homeowner wants to sell home, buyer is wanting a septic pump and inspection.  Records indicate that this septic system has not been inspected or pumped in at least 10 years.  I went to the house and the homeowner had tried to locate his septic system but was unsuccessful.  I could see multiple holes in the yard of him trying.  I tried my best to find it traditionally, but was unsuccessful at that as well.  Lucky me, I had my electronic locater on the truck.

I simply flushed a transmitter down the toilet and followed the signal to under the house.  Now you may see in this picture one lid to the left.  This is the outlet side of the tank and the second chamber to the tank.  The second chamber of the septic tank only holds water with some sludge on the bottom.  The solids are kept in the first compartment.  You can see just below the green board, a very small section of lid that I was able to expose.  There are load bearing beams on top of the lid and I stopped digging.  I didn’t want the house to fall on me.

Also homeowner built this addition without any permits.  If the homeowner would have acquired a permit, the county would have said, it’s okay to build, but you have to move your septic tank first.  No problems.  There are more problems.

House on top of Septic Tank
House on top of Septic Tank

The septic tank is made of plastic.  A Plastic septic tank, or it could be a fiberglass septic tank as well.  But the homeowner has noticed that yearly the house is sinking.  He has to go under every year and jack up that corner of the house, and put shims in the load bearing beams.  It never crossed his mind that his septic tank may have been under and collapsing.

Fact is his septic tank is collapsing and his house is falling into his septic tank.  Not a pleasant thought.  Good news is that this is not too terrible of a fix.  This addition needs to be supported and lifted by a steel I-Beam.  Then I can pump out the tank and move it to another location.

And of course it does cost a lot of money, but money that could have been avoided if a permit was to be filed.

I know what you’re thinking.  Permits are out of control, and in a sense I agree.   But in this case a permit would have saved this homeowner a lot of heartache, money, and grief had he applied for one.

Thanks for Reading,



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  2. I pulled my permits. I have plans approved. I began to dig for footers and the slab, and found an abandoned tank in my yard.

    In May of 2015, I called a handful of septic specialists for a quote. ONE came by and visited with me, promising a quote at the end of the day.

    I dug the dirt off the cover, discovered (relatively) clean water inside (it had been pumped) but not collapsed or filled.

    After a day with a concrete saw to score the cement top, and a rental of a jackhammer to finish the job, I’ve put 7 yards of pea gravel into this tank and I’m finally ready to prepare my footers.

    And I’m still waiting for that quote from the one contractor who did swing by.

    1. The contractor you mention was not us. We give quotes same day. If you’re in the Vancouver Washington area, let us know, and we can help.

      Thanks for writing,


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