Septic: From A to Z

New To Septic Tanks? What You Need To Know About Pumping

Septic systems are common in homes across the country, particularly in rural and less urban areas that are not serviced by municipal utilities. Septic systems run both liquid and solid waste from a home into a drain field and into an underground tank. If you have a home with its own septic system, or you are planning to purchase a home with a septic system, you should know how the systems work. Consider the following:

What Is a Septic Tank?

A septic tank is a large vessel made from either concrete, polyethylene, or fiberglass. It is water-tight and is buried underground near the home. The tank includes a pipe inlet where the waste travels from the house to the tank. there is also a pipe that sends liquids from the wastewater flows to a drain field to free up tank space. The top of the tank is near the surface with an access area for the tank's maintenance. Over time, the solid waste has to be pumped from the tank to prevent overflow.

How Does Septic Tank Pumping Work?

When you need septic system pumping services, you will contact a professional who services septic systems. He or she will inspect the system to determine when the tank needs to be pumped.

In general, it is time to pump the septic tank when a scum layer that sits between the floating water and the solid waste is within a few inches from the pipe that sends liquid to the drain field.

The technician will come to your home with a big tanker truck. The truck has a vacuum mechanism that goes into the tank. The vacuum will remove the waste from the septic tank and into the truck. The technician may have to physically stir inside the tank to help facilitate the solids through the vacuum.

When Should You Have Your Septic Tank Pumped?

You should have your septic tank checked every few years. The timeframe will largely depend on several factors. The size of your septic tank, how many people live in your home and regularly use your plumbing, the amount of wastewater your home generates, and the size of your home all factor into how often you need your tank pumped out. If you are unsure when the last time your septic tank was pumped out, you can call your septic tank technician to check the tank for you.