Septic tanks dispose of wastewater directly into the ground, via a tank built outside of the home.
Wastewater from the home is piped out into the septic tank. As water enters the tank, the same amount of water also leaves the tank to a drain field. Filters prevent the solid materials from exiting the tank. The solids in the water are slowly broken down by natural bacteria. Remaining solids (the “sludge”) remain in the tank until a pumping (removal) is completed by a local septic professional.
At the end of the process, the water that exits the tank goes into a drain field, where it is distributed throughout the area then absorbed by soils, grass, and the sun.
"How often should my septic tank be pumped?"
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, household septic tank systems should be inspected every three to five years, and are typically pumped every three to five years. Exact timing is determined by factors including: number of people living in the home total wastewater generated volume of solids in the wastewater, and septic tank size
Ultimately you should be prepared to pump your septic tank whenever it is needed. Also, many professionals recommend that the filter on the outlet tee is cleaned once a year.
"What common problems do homeowners have with septic tank pumping?"
Common problems include: slow draining, backups throughout the home, sounds in the plumbing system, odors in or near the house, drainage field odors, spots or changing vegetation around the drainage field (e.g., bright green grass), water pooling near the septic tank or the home, septic wastewater mixing with groundwater.
If you are experiencing any of these problems, call a septic tank service pro right away.
"What's the best way to maintain my septic tank?"
Your septic tank system will perform best when: the filter is cleaned regularly, the system is inspected regularly, and, the tank is pumped regularly.
You will need to hire a local septic service professional to perform this work.
Additionally, you can take steps to ensure that your septic tank is working efficiently:
Avoid flushing non-natural waste products.
Floss, diapers, feminine hygiene products, soils, paper towels, cleaning products and cooking ingredients are some of the items that will cause stress on the treatment process within the septic system.
Reduce wastewater disposal.
Take shorter showers, use efficient toilets, and select washing machine settings that reflect the size of the load.
Consider using septic system cleaners.
These cleaning solutions can be flushed into your septic tank to help keep it working properly.
Consult with a local professional to see what's best for your system.
"What do septic tank pumping services do?"
Septic services vary by company and location, but common tasks include: locating the tank (if your septic tank is covered), pumping to remove the sludge at the bottom of the tank, inspection of the system to identify and prevent problems, installation of new parts (e.g., pumps, drains, inlet/outlet tees, filters) as needed, cleaning sewer line drains as needed, cleaning the house drains and drainage field piping as needed.
Contact a local septic service professional for these services.