Septic Tank Pumping and Septic Tank Maintenance

Your septic system does critical work for your home daily, but only if you take care of it. Make sure to get the tank pumped regularly and avoid flushing anything other than human poop, pee, toilet paper, laundry soap, and water-conserving showerheads.

Keep track of pumping and inspection records. Repair any problems found during your annual inspection. Click to learn more.

septic tank pumping

Septic tank pumping is one of the most important components of a septic system maintenance plan. It is essential for preventing major problems and prolonging the life of your septic system. A septic system will not work properly without regular pumping and can cause environmental damage. Scheduling septic tank pumping on a regular cadence extends the life of your system and prevents costly repairs.

Your septic tank should be located away from buildings and water sources. It should also be easily accessible for maintenance and inspection. If you are concerned about the location of your septic tank, or it is difficult to get to due to terrain and topography, talk to a septic professional.

One of the most obvious signs that a septic tank needs to be pumped is slow draining fixtures. When a septic tank is full, the solid waste will clog drains and the soil absorption field. This can result in sewage back up into the house and can be a health risk as it can contain pathogens and other harmful bacteria.

Another sign that a septic tank is full is a foul odor. When a septic tank is overflowing, odor-causing gases have nowhere to go and will waft through the house and outside. This is a serious problem and should be addressed immediately.

During the pumping process, septic professionals will insert a large hose into the manhole and begin removing the contents of the tank. They will use a vacuum like process to remove the liquids, sludge, and scum from the tank. During this time, they will also stir the contents of the tank to break up any solids and ensure that everything is being removed.

Once the septic tank is empty, the septic professionals will return the clean lid and fill any holes made during the pumping process. They will also check the septic system to make sure that it is working properly.

A septic tank should be pumped every 3 to 5 years, depending on the size of the tank and the number of people living in the home. This is to prevent the solid waste from overwhelming the tank and clogging the drain field. You can reduce the need to have your septic tank pumped by using water-saving plumbing fixtures and by only flushing items that are septic safe, such as paper products and human waste.

In addition to pumping, a septic tank should be regularly cleaned. Septic tank cleaning specialists use a vacuum truck with a heavy-duty hose to remove the sludge from the septic tank walls and bottom. The waste is then hauled away for disposal. The technician also looks for cracks in the tank and the baffles. He or she should never enter the septic tank itself, as doing so could cause serious injury.

During the pre-pumping inspection, the specialist should look for high liquid levels in the tank. This indicates that the wastewater is not being adequately drained down into the drain field. This could be a result of faulty baffles, a clogged pump, or other problems.

The inspector should also check the septic tank lid to make sure it is secure. If it is not, a new lid will need to be installed. A poorly secured lid can allow septic wastewater to seep into the ground, contaminating nearby water sources.

Before the septic tank is pumped, the technician should examine the sludge and scum layers to determine when the next cleaning is necessary. This can help prevent the septic system from overflowing into the home. The inspector will also inspect the distribution box, or D-box, for cracked outlets that restrict flow and look for sinkholes and wetness around the D-box that indicate a problem.

The septic tank should be located far from wells and streams, as the waste in it may eventually contaminate these sources. If the septic tank is too close to these sources, the wastewater will flow into them instead of out into the drainage field.

The septic tank is home to an amazing ecosystem of bacteria that help break down your household waste. It is important to keep the bacteria happy by avoiding household chemicals, antibacterial soaps, and other products that may upset their balance. You should also avoid flushing paper towels, coffee grounds, feminine products, and other materials that do not degrade quickly. These items can overload the septic tank and clog the pipes.

A septic tank is a large underground storage facility where wastewater from drains, sinks, toilets, and appliances goes after leaving the home. It is treated by bacteria and microorganisms to break down the waste matter. The treated wastewater (called effluent) flows out of the tank and into a drain field where it percolates back into the ground. The septic tank must be monitored and pumped as needed to prevent overflowing the system.

It is important to have a clear, concise, and detailed maintenance record for the septic tank and system. This is especially helpful if you ever decide to sell your house, as prospective buyers may be concerned about the condition of the septic tank. If you have comprehensive maintenance records, your septic system is much more likely to sell for a higher price.

Professionals who perform septic tank pumping services will also inspect the drainfield to assess its condition and look for signs of septic system leaks. They should also check the sludge and scum layers to determine whether it is time for a cleaning session. In addition, the professional should examine any plushy grass areas surrounding the septic tank or strong sewage-like odors that may indicate a septic system problem.

If you notice a wet area or standing water in the yard near the septic tank, it could be because the system has become saturated from recent rains. You should call a professional to see if the problem can wait until the weather is drier. If the septic tank is already full, you should have it pumped out immediately to avoid a backup into your home.

While most solid waste in the septic tank should decompose, there are some materials that will not decompose, such as cat litter, coffee grounds, diapers, towelettes (even the ‘flushable’ type), cigarette butts, grease, dental floss, paints, thinners, oils, and medicines. You should never flush these substances down the drains, as they will clog and damage your septic system.

To reduce the likelihood of septic system failure, keep heavy traffic and vehicles away from the septic tank and drainfield, and plant grass and shallow-rooted plants over the area. It is also important to limit water use in the home to prevent oversaturating the septic system.

Keeping up with routine maintenance can prevent problems and extend the life of your septic system. A septic tank should be inspected at least once each year. A basic inspection includes checking for a properly functioning drain field, verifying that the septic tank is not overflowing, and looking for leaks in or around the tanks. A more comprehensive inspection also includes opening the lid and examining the sludge layers inside. A dye test may also be used to determine how full the septic tank is and whether water is entering the tank as it should.

A septic tank should be repaired as soon as possible if it is cracked, broken, or otherwise damaged. A replacement septic tank can cost $5,000 to $50,000, depending on the size and material of the tank. A less expensive option is to repair the tank walls instead of replacing them, but this can be a tricky and time-consuming job.

It is important to limit waste water to the amount that the septic system can process. This can be done by fixing any leaky faucets and toilets immediately, and by taking shorter showers and only using the garbage disposal for food waste. Other ways to conserve water are by avoiding excessive household chemical use and by planting grass and shallow-rooted shrubs over the absorption area, rather than trees and other long-rooted plants that can cause unseen damage to underground pipes.

A septic system should be inspected and cleaned annually, and at any sign of a problem the tank should be pumped as soon as possible. Regular pumping and cleaning can help prevent the failure of the soil absorption field, which can result in raw sewage backing up into the home, lasting odors, stains, and expensive repairs.

It is also a good idea to save all maintenance records on the septic system, including dated records of when the tank was pumped, when the filter was cleaned, and any equipment installations or inspections. This can be useful for future reference when trouble arises or when selling the property. Also, map out the location of your septic system components and mark them with permanent stakes or labels to avoid accidentally damaging the septic tank or its associated structures while doing yard work or home maintenance.

Carol Cluck