Septic Tank Cleaning

Protect your Private Septic System’s Drainfield by Scheduling Periodic Septic Tank Cleanings

By Mark J. Donovan

If you have a private septic system it is important to remember to have the septic tank cleaned on a periodic basis. Septic tank cleaning is necessary to protect the leachfield from becoming clogged and damaged. Regular septic tank cleaning is necessary to avoid very expensive leachfield (drainfield) repairs or reconstruction. A leachfield can cost upwards of $20K to replace.

A septic tank works by collecting the untreated household waste. As the waste enters the septic tank the solids settle to the bottom to form sludge. Grease and other light solids collect near the surface of the septic tank to form a scum.

The clarified effluent (liquid) that sits in the middle of the septic tank is discharged from the septic tank to the leachfield.

Septic tank cleaning involves pumping the septic waste from the septic holding tank. The frequency of septic tank cleaning is dependent upon the size of the septic tank and the number of people in the household. For example, a 1250 gallon septic tank with 5 people living in the house should be cleaned every 2.6 years.

The size of the septic tank is dependent upon the septic design, which is derived from the number of bedrooms and bathrooms specified in the house plans.

Check your house plans or septic design plans to see what size septic tank you have. By reviewing the septic design plans you can also discover where the septic tank is located on your property. Usually the top of the septic tank is buried several inches to a foot or more under the surface of the ground.

If you cannot locate the septic design plans, do not assume you have a large septic tank and thus can wait more years between septic tank cleanings.

Uncovered Septic Tank

If you cannot find information on the size of your septic tank, have your septic tank immediately cleaned and ask the septic cleaner if they can determine the size of the tank for you during the septic tank cleaning.

Again, it is better to spend a little more money regularly cleaning the septic tank, than having to replace a leachfield.

Besides pumping out the septic tank waste, a septic tank cleaning also includes a visual inspection of the septic tank for any cracks or tree roots that may have grown into it. In addition, the septic cleaner will also check to make sure that the septic tank inlet from the house, and the outlet to the leach field, are free from any obstructions.

So if your home is on a private septic system make sure you schedule a regular septic tank cleaning. By having a regular septic tank cleaning your private septic system should be able to last 20 or more years without any additional work or investment.

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