Septic tank pumping is a normal part of owning a home with a septic system on the property. The system is designed to remove waste and break it down, leaving a certain amount of sludge behind that can only be removed from the tank by pumping it out manually. When that needs to happen can change depending on the system and the way it is used.
Understanding Septic Tanks
When you flush a toilet in your home or run water down a drain, the liquids and solids move down the septic line to the septic tank in your yard. The tank allows the solids to sink, and through a process of digestion that depends on microorganisms, convert the solids into sludge in the tank.
The liquid in the tank passes through a line to the drain field and leaches off through the soil, filtering the water and returning it to the ground over time. Some of the broken down solids leach off, but the remaining biomass or sludge requires a septic tank pumping service to remove it from the tank, or it will build up and eventually cause the system to back up.
Pumping The Tank
Septic tank pumping should be part of regular septic system maintenance, and most services recommend pumping the tank every other year to ensure it is clean, functioning correctly, and does not back up. If you are unsure when a service pumped the tank last but have lived in the home for more than two years, it is a good idea to have a service come clean the tank for you.
Other indicators of a full tank can include water on the ground above the tank with a foul odor, drains that are extremely slow, and backups in the house. While some of these things can be plumbing-related, if you are experiencing them, it is a good idea to have a septic tank pumping service come and check the tank to determine if it needs service.
Often the cost of septic tank pumping is related to the size of the tank and the amount of material in the system. Check with your local septic service because sometimes the first cleanout can require the most work, so the cost may be a little higher and drop for maintenance calls later.
If the tank is filling up because of damage to the system, you may need to have a septic service do a full inspection of the tank and system, but they often require septic tank pumping before they open the system to work on it. Some pumping services are part of the septic service, so one company can handle all the work for you, saving time and money on the inspection and repair.