Why Regular Septic Tank Pumping Is Important
If your home has a septic tank, you likely know that you should have your tank pumped regularly. You may not understand why and how pumping your tank is good practice to ensure everything functions properly. Understanding how a septic tank functions can help you understand the value of regular septic tank pumping.
HOW DOES A SEPTIC TANK WORK?
A septic tank is a large underground holding tank capable of hundreds of gallons of wastewater. Standard sizes of septic tanks are 1,000 gallons, 1,200 gallons, 1,500 gallons, or more. A plumbing mainline connects the septic tank to the house. All wastewater from the home flows to the septic tank. Sinks, toilets, showers, bathtubs, washing machines, and dishwashers feed into the septic tank.
As wastewater enters the septic tank, it is separated into three layers. Solids (sludge) drop to the bottom, water is in the middle, and papers and solids float to the top. Bacteria lives in the tank and helps break down the top layer of sludge turning it into liquids as well.
Near the top of the tank is a pipe that leads to a spot in the yard called a drain field or dry well. When the wastewater in the tank reaches the pipe, it flows into the drain field and is filtered naturally through the soil. The soil cleans the water and prevents contamination of the groundwater.
HOW DOES PUMPING AFFECT THE SEPTIC TANK?
As time passes, the sludge builds up on the bottom and top of the tank. Even though bacteria can help control the amount of sludge, it cannot break down the sludge fast enough. So, when the tank is pumped, the sludge is removed, and the tank is emptied.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T PUMP YOUR TANK?
If you ignore your septic tank and routine pumping, you will soon run into problems. Solids in the tank will build up over time, and the tank’s holding capacity will be adversely affected. Eventually, the solids will reach the drain field pipe and cause early septic failure.
SIGNS YOU HAVE A CLOGGED DRAIN FIELD PIPE
- If there are issues with your septic tank, here are a few indicators:
- Sewage smell in the yard
- Swampy areas on and around the drain field
- Bright green grass over the drain field
- Wastewater backing up into the house
- Lower drains in the house operate slower
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOUR TANK BE PUMPED?
A good rule of thumb is to pump your septic tank about every 2 years. This also depends largely on the size of your tank and the amount of wastewater produced. It is critical that the tank be sized to the number of people living in the home. If it’s sized smaller, more frequent pumping will be required.
WHY CONTACT A SEPTIC TANK PROFESSIONAL?
Some homeowners are unsure how often their septic tank needs to be pumped. At AJ McDonald Company, Inc, we can help you determine when your tank should be pumped and set up a proper pumping schedule. In addition, we can answer any questions you have about your septic tank and resolve any issues you are experiencing. Contact us today!