Is a septic tank baffle repair possible?

Repair or replace | By Sam Warren

Questions about septic tank baffle repair might not keep everyone awake at night, but if you have a property with an off mains drainage system such as a septic tank, and you're having some septic tank problems, you'll want to know the answer.

It might help to explain what a baffle is, and what it looks like, to get into the nitty gritty of whether a septic tank baffle repair is possible. Below are two diagrams, showing the most common types of baffles in modern septic tanks. They both perform the same function - think of a baffle as an upside down sieve. It is there to keep the solid waste within the tank, and is slotted so that only the waste water can pass through. It is this waste water that then passes through the outlet pipe and into the soakaway system or outlet pipe. Solid waste stays within the tank, thanks to the baffle, and it is then removed during a routine empty.

Here are some diagrams showing the two different types of septic tank baffle:

So, let's get on to the reason you're reading this - is a septic tank baffle repair possible?

This will depend on a few different factors.

Whether a septic tank baffle repair is possible depends on what type of baffle your septic tank has. The two diagrams above show the main types of baffles found in modern septic tanks. The first one is a welded ball and cone baffle, and effectively it is clamped in place around the diameter of the septic tank. The two half spheres of the septic tank wedge it firmly in place during the manufacturing process, so it's really not likely to budge! If the baffle becomes damaged or is forced out of place, it would be impossible to repair. This is because repairing it would effectively mean digging the septic tank out of the ground and attempting to break it in to two halves again!

If you have the second type of baffle, which is a hanging baffle, it's usually secured in place to the neck of the septic tank by a number of metal hooks. If the baffle gets knocked out of position and/or the metal hooks are damaged, a repair can be tricky. If the baffle itself is completely undamaged, and the metal hooks remain in place, then it may be possible to re-hang it. However, if the baffle or the hooks are damaged, it would mean having to fashion another method of holding the baffle in place. The problem with this? Most manufacturers don't recommend it. Tinkering with a septic tank is not a good idea at the best of times, but messing around with the component parts might invalidate any warranty you have left.

But there is one other reason why a septic tank baffle repair is not possible!

And this is if your septic tank discharges to a soakaway system. As I mentioned above, the purpose of a septic tank baffle is to keep the solid waste in the tank, whilst allowing the waste water to leave the tank. This then passes through the soakaway system, which is usually a network of perforated or slotted pipes which enables the waste to safely percolate through the sub soils.

What's this got to do with a septic tank baffle repair, I hear you ask? Well, most people with a damaged septic tank baffle will find that they are also starting to have soakaway problems. This is because if the baffle is not doing its job, solid waste can leave the tank and enter into the soakaway system. Soakaways can only deal with waste water, not solid waste, and unfortunately this results in the soakaway becoming blocked. And not in a way that can be cleared through either - this kind of damage is permanent and irreversible.

So, even if a septic tank baffle repair was possible, more often than not it won't solve the drainage problems you're having. Even if the septic tank started working again, the soakaway will have failed. Instead of the waste water filtering into the surrounding soil, it will be unable to do so and will just flow back to the tank, or make its way above ground.

What should you do now?

Firstly, you need a thorough septic tank inspection carried out. No problem, we can do that for you. This is really important, because you'll want to know if it's just a damaged baffle or a damaged soakaway that you're dealing with. If the problem is bigger than you thought, there's no need to stress because UKDP are on your side. We can check whether you might be covered by your buildings insurance policy, and if so we can manage everything for you from start to finish.

If it's just a repair you're after, we can arrange for one of our panel of expert specialist contractors to provide you with a price and recommendations to get you back up and running as quickly as possible.

Call the team at UKDP today on 0800 028 9903 or 01628 788600 or send us a message and we can talk you through how we can help.

0800 028 9903