There are a number of items which will determine how often your septic tank needs to be pumped or cleaned out. On average, a septic tank will need to be pumped out every three to five years. In most areas this will cost you between $350 and $500. If your tank does not have an above ground access port this cost will be increased since the contractor will need to locate and dig down to the septic tank.
This is not a task you should attempt yourself. Allow a licensed contractor to perform this task . They will have the proper equipment and experienced to get the job done quickly and with minimum effect to your yard. In addition, they will have the proper permits and means to dispose of the waste material they remove from your tank.
To determine if your tank needs to be emptied you can conduct a simple inspection. For this task you will need a means to open the access port, a tape measure and a long pole or rod. Open the access port to provide a direct access to the septic tank. Determine the distance from the top of the access port to the top of the septic tank. Most septic tanks will be buried twenty-four inches or less below the surface. Once you have this number, lower the pole or rod into the septic tank. You should be able to feel when the pole comes in contact with the solid sludge lining the bottom of the tank. Record the measurement when you contact the sludge and a final measurement when you reach the bottom of the tank.
Calculate the overall height of the interior of the septic tank by the measurements you have taken. Then determine how much of the interior of the tank is occupied by sludge. Example, it the overall height of the septic tank is fifty inches, and the sludge is twenty inches deep, this means the sludge occupies forty percent of the tank. Fifty divided by twenty equals forty percent.
If the sludge occupies thirty-five percent of more of the tank’s interior it is recommended you have the tank pumped out. When the sludge occupies over thirty-five percent it can result in solid materials being allowed to the septic field lines. This will result in the field lines becoming clogged and render your septic system ineffective. It can also result in the inlet port to the tank becoming clogged and force a back-up of waste materials into your home.
The size tank you have installed, the number of people in your household, the amount of water used and the types of materials entering the septic tank all have a direct effect on how rapidly the tank files with sludge. Proper care of your system can greatly reduce the frequency of pumping.