How to Move a Septic Tank

Septic systems require valuable space. It is usually easier and cheaper to abandon and install a new septic tank than to move an old one. Older concrete septic tanks that have corroded will not have the strength to be moved and may crumble. However, new driveways, home additions and landscape changes may make a septic tank move inevitable. Septic tank moving is a major undertaking, requiring excavation and large equipment.

Moving a concrete septic tank requires large equipment.
  1. Contract a septic system maintenance company to remove all waste water and organic material from the septic tank.

  2. Remove the soil from the top of the septic tank, using an excavator. Hand-shovel on top of the tank as you get close to the tank to prevent damage by the excavator.

  3. Remove the manhole covers on the manhole risers and set aside.

  4. Cut the inlet and outlet pipes attached to the tank with a PVC pipe saw.

  5. Dig down on all sides of the septic tank with the excavator. Take care not to damage the tank by keeping the excavator bucket at least 6 inches from the tank sides and hand-shoveling near the tank.

  6. Attach the lifting bar from the boom of the tank truck to the lifting eyes on the tank. Push the bar into one eye all the way, and then into the lifting eye on the other side of the tank.

  7. Lift the tank slowly, using the cables. There will be a suction on the bottom of the septic tank which can be stronger than the truck's lifting force. Lift in small increments until the suction is broken and the tank is free. Lifting the tank too fast can damage the septic tank or the tank truck.

  8. Place the septic tank onto the flatbed portion of the truck

  9. Excavate the new septic tank hole to the correct dimensions of the septic tank.

  10. Relocate the tank truck next to the new excavation.

  11. Lower the septic tank into the hole with the tank truck.

  12. Insert the Inlet and outlet pipes into the inlet and outlet holes in the tank. The pipes should be clear of the baffle on the inside of the tank.

  13. Back-fill the tank with the excavated soil.

  14. Compact the back-fill in 6- to 12-inch increments with the mechanical soil compactor.

  15. Replace the manhole covers on the manhole risers.


  • Septic tanks are very heavy. Any time they are moved, clear all people from danger zones.

About the Author

Stephen Hasty started writing in 2009. Covering technical articles and newsletters, his work has appeared in "The Kennebec Valley Plumbing Newsletter" and "Maine Leasing." Hasty holds a bachelor's degree from Saint Cloud State University, a real estate sales agent license and a master plumber license from the state of Maine.