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This article lists septic tank accidents, cave-ins, and fatalities, including accidents, drownings, overcome by methane gas and similar hazards posed by unsafe septic tanks that have not been properly abandoned, covered, closed, or at tanks that were entered or serviced by people without proper training and equipment. We provide this gruesome data in hope that an increased awareness of the safety hazards around improperly maintained, covered, or serviced septic tanks, cesspools, or drywells can be the cause of very serious accidentsl.
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That septic tank or cesspool accidents and an occasional loss are not a new hazard should come as no surprise, as noted in our copy of a 1962 septic tank report (left) in Melbourne's The Age, 27 June, 1962. The boy who fell into the septic tank had been jumping on top of the concrete tank when the cover gave way beneath him.
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It would appear that the top septic tank hazards include these ultimate mistakes:
Below is a catalog of septic tank or cesspool accidents and loss of lives and a few rescues.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about septic tank and cesspool accidents
Question: what to do about a hidden septic tank & the risks at a home for sale
We recently moved from a rental home. The owner placed the home for sale. The issue resides in the fact the home is now on the city sewer system and a 1000 gal. concrete septic tank is still on the property. I looked into the situation because we discussed purchasing the home.
The tank is full of waste, but since we did not buy, the owner came in and cut the pipe off to the tank and capped it. He than buried the pipe to the tank to hide its existence. We are concerned about whomever may buy the home.
We live in the state of Missouri and a tributary to [deleted] a lake is less than a 1/4 mile from the home. We feel sorry for any one who purchases the home without knowing this tank is on the property. We are also concerned about the environment since the tank is full of waste.
How should we approach this situation to get it resolved. I was told that Missouri has now instated some serious laws concerning septic tanks due to contamination issues on our lakes. Any advice would be appreciated. The home is valued under $100,000.00 and this could cause new owners some serious financial problems if not resolved. Any help would be appreciated. - M & T M 6/6/2013
Reply: give owner written notice; if necessary inform authorities
I agree with you that beyond the risk of a surprise expense for the new homeowners, what the owner has done by improperly "abandoning" a septic is dangerous, risking in the most extreme event, death caused by someone falling into an unsuspected and improperly abandoned septic tank; the proper means of abandonment would be to pump all of the sewage out of the tank and then fill it in.
Keep me posted on what happens - what we learn may assist other readers; - DJF
Questions & answers or comments about septic tank and cesspool accidents
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