Frequently Asked Questions About Septic System Pumping

Many homes in the U.S. have a septic system, especially in rural areas with no municipal sewer services. Instead of pumping sewage through sewer mains and directing it to the sewage facility, a septic system pumps waste from your house into an underground septic tank. Here are frequently asked questions about septic system pumping.

How Often Should Your Septic Tank Be Pumped?

Septic pumping should be done every three to five years. Failing to pump your septic tank can result in liquid waste, which will clog the soil. Over time, the sewage will back up in your house, resulting in many problems, including clogged toilets and issues with your drainage systems.

How often you should pump your septic tank depends on several factors, including the size of your household, the amount of wastewater generated, the solids in the wastewater, and the size of the septic tank. Generally, large households generate more waste and fill up their septic tanks faster.

Additionally, the volume of wastewater getting into your septic tank will affect how soon it fills up. The volume of solids in wastewater also causes the septic tank to fill up quickly. Households with several toilets and which frequently use garbage disposal systems fill up their septic systems faster. Lastly, large tanks hold more sludge and, therefore, go longer before being pumped.

What Are Signs Your Septic Tank Should Be Pumped?

One of the common signs you need a septic system pumping is when you notice your shower, tub, and sink aren't draining as quickly as they used to. Also, you'll notice your toilet doesn't flush quickly. Another sign is a foul odor. When your septic tank is full, there's no space for odor-causing gases in the tank. These gases tend to emanate from drains in your home and through the toilet.

Water pooling is also caused by a full septic tank and is a sign you need to pump it. You'll notice water pooling in the area around the drainfield and septic tank. Lastly, if you ignore the above signs, your sewage will back up.

What Does Septic Pumping Involve?

Septic system pumping involves extracting all the materials in your septic tank. The scum layer is broken down, and the sludge layer is mixed with the liquid in the tank. This process is achieved by pumping liquid from the tank and restoring it back at the bottom of the tank. The septic tank is pumped through the central access ports.

It isn't advisable to use additives as an alternative to pumping to reduce the volume of sludge in your septic tank. These additives, over time, cause a septic system failure. After septic pumping, it's recommended you ask a septic tank professional to check whether your tank requires any repairs or if there are components that need maintenance.