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The Ins and Outs of Septic Pumping

Most septic owners know that they need to have their septic systems pumped every 1-3 years, depending on the size of the family and overall usage. However, one of the biggest questions we get is what happens during a septic tank cleaning and where the septage goes afterward. It’s important to know your septic hauler is not only abiding by industry standards when it comes to cleaning, but also that they are adhering to state regulations when it comes to disposing of septage.

septic pumping

The Process of Septic Pumping

The process of septic pumping includes completely emptying the tank. It is critically important that homeowners have this process done every 1-3 years, depending on how many people live within the home, and the general use of the system. Larger households will generate more solid waste and, even with a larger septic tank, will require more frequent cleanings. The use of garbage disposals (which we advise against) will also fill up the septic tank faster. Even the type of toilet paper your household uses may necessitate more frequent cleanings. In order to avoid sewage backups into the home or solids finding their way into the drain field, septic tanks need to be pumped before the layer of sludge reaches the baffles.

During the process of septic pumping, a technician stretches a hose from a vacuum truck to an opening in the septic tank and pumps the contents into the truck. Generally, the process takes less than an hour, and during that time the technician will also inspect the tank level, baffles, sump pumps as well as clean the aerator shaft. If any issues are found during the inspection, the technician will be able to evaluate, diagnose, and repair the septic or aeration system.

Telltale Signs Your Septic Tank Needs to Be Pumped

One of the most concerning indicators that your tank is in need of immediate septic pumping is slow or gurgling drains. While there may be other reasons for gurgling drains, this is the most common and, if left unaddressed, often precedes sewage backing up into your house. Similarly, if you notice septic odors inside your home, a common reason is that your tank has exceeded capacity and needs to be serviced. Like gurgling drains, these odors are often the first warning sign that a sewage backup is imminent. If you notice any of these warning signs, you need to immediately stop all water usage and schedule an emergency service visit. An overfull tank indicates that there is a problem with the tank caused either by a failed pump or issues within the secondary treatment (typically the drain field).

Ignoring these signs could lead to sewage backing up into your home, which often occurs in the lowest drains first, such as those located in the basement. If you notice any of these signs, it is time to call your septic provider and begin preparing to have your septic tank pumped.

Preparing for Your Septic Tank Pumping

In order to prepare for your septic pumping, it is important that you clear away any debris that may be surrounding your septic system. During a cleaning, the cover of the tank will be removed so the technician can assess the tank and pump the contents out. Any yard debris that falls into the tank during this process can catastrophically damage your septic components. Particularly in spring, which is often a time when septic systems need extra attention, it is important to pick up any leaves or twigs that may have fallen during heavy storms.

Mulch is particularly harmful to septic systems, and many homeowners make the mistake of laying mulch around or near the septic system. Be sure mulch has been cleared away from the area surrounding the septic system. When landscaping around your septic tank, we always recommend using stones as a septic-safe alternative to mulch.

Have you noticed any of the telltale signs it’s time to have your septic tank pumped? Contact Mid-Tenn Septic & Plumbing today to schedule a service visit!

Mid-Tenn Septic and Plumbing
4470 old Lebanon dirt rd. Mt Juliet TN 37122
(615) 808-7898

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