How Bad Is It To Ignore Routine Septic Tank Cleaning?

If you spend some time reading articles targeted toward homeowners, you will probably conclude that you must keep a laundry list of routine maintenance that's a mile long. Unfortunately, most of this advice is not exaggerated. Homes require substantial maintenance, and many of these tasks will only create more serious and expensive problems when deferred. 

Your septic tank falls solidly in this "must-do" list of maintenance tasks. While well-maintained septic tanks rarely require much attention, regular cleaning (typically every 3-5 years) is essential to prevent many costly outcomes. Understanding why this is the case can help you see how crucial it is to stay on top of regular septic tank cleanings.

Understanding the Septic Waste Pipeline

There's no sense in beating around the bush: your septic system's story is essentially the story of what happens to your home's poop (and other solid wastes). The septic pipeline is like an assembly line in reverse, with multiple stages designed to break down and remove waste from your home. The ultimate goal is to return clean and safe water to the environment.

The first stage in the pipeline is your main drainage line, which carries waste to your septic tank. The septic tank acts as a holding area for the system. Grease and solid waste can clog your septic drainfield and pollute the environment, so the tank holds onto these materials and allows liquid effluent to flow out.

The final stage of the pipeline is the drainfield. Only liquid effluent will ever reach this stage in an ideal septic system. The solid matter remains behind, protecting the drain tiles in your drainfield and allowing the liquid waste to filter naturally into the surrounding soil. The bacteria in your drainfield and the soil's physical structure remove harmful pathogens, ultimately allowing clean water to flow into the ground.

Keeping Your Septic System Flowing

The key to a healthy septic system is a constant flow from your home to the drainfield. Anything that blocks or restricts the waste flow through the system can cause a sewage backup into your home or even flood your lawn with liquid waste. Blockages commonly occur due to excessive solid waste accumulating in the septic tank, forcing waste into the drainfield or creating an obstruction.

Cleaning your tank removes the solid waste and grease from the system, but waiting too long to perform this procedure will inevitably result in severe damage. Not only can the excess waste clog up your system, but it can also flow into the drainfield. This solid waste contamination can clog drain tiles and destroy soil bacteria, potentially forcing you to repair or replace the drainfield.

In other words, waiting to clean your septic tank and having to replace it instead can cost you thousands of dollars. Given the relatively low cost of septic tank cleaning, this routine maintenance procedure is ultimately a money-saving option that can save you from fairly hefty repair and replacement bills.

Contact a local septic tank cleaning service to learn more.