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When Septic System Repairs May Mean Needing a Totally New System

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When septic repairs may require septic system replacement

When you have a septic system problem, it is likely some sort repair is needed. Simple repairs such as replacing tank access lids or baffles can be done easily; due to recent regulations changes, however, bigger repairs — like tank or drainfield replacement — may actually mean having to get a whole new system.

Major repairs require permits

You must get a permit when making major repairs or changes to your septic system so that local authorities can make sure the work meets local and state regulations.

Malfunctioning septic systems and improperly treated wastewater can contaminate groundwater and make people sick, so it’s important that any work done on your system is up to code.

When repairs may require a new septic system

In 1997 the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) made some drastic changes to septic system regulations. A lot of systems installed before that year do not meet the updated regulations, but are grandfathered in as long as they are functioning properly, not creating a health hazard or public nuisance, and not undergoing any changes or repairs that would necessitate additional capacity to the system.

So if you’ve got an older septic system in need of repair, you may be required to update the system to meet current regulations.

Each property carries its own unique set of circumstances, and there are exceptions to the rule, but usually when we come across a situation like this we end up having to completely replace the septic system.

Educate yourself on local regulations

TCEQ sets the minimum standards for septic systems in Texas, but local authorities can choose to be more stringent.

(Note: Bexar County is the local authority for most of San Antonio, excepting Shavano Park, Hollywood Park, and Hill Country Village — each of these areas operates as their own authority.)

Even though you won’t be doing the actual work, as the homeowner you are responsible for making sure you have the proper permits. Always verify regulations with your local authority or a reputable septic maintenance provider before scheduling any major work on your septic system, and make sure the company that does the work secures the proper permits.

Need help understanding septic regulations?

We’ve been installing and maintaining septic systems in the Texas Hill Country for more than 75 years, and offer free phone consultations to anyone in the area. We know local septic regulations like the back of our hand, and are happy to point you in the right direction.


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