Septic Pumping Services

If you are considering the purchase of a home, you may not know the size of the tank, nor condition of the system as a whole. In this case, you should have the tank pumped and inspected. Sometimes the company pumping the tank will be able to tell you its size, age, and condition. In other cases, you should seek out recommendations of someone who can tell you this information.

Septic tanks will not fail immediately if they are not pumped. However, an un-maintained septic tank is no longer protecting the soil absorption field from solids. Continued neglect may result in system failure and even replacement of the soil absorption field. In some cases, site limitations may make replacement of the absorption field impossible. If system replacement is the only option, contact your local health department since a permit for the new system will be required.

More explanation: In order for a tank to function properly, adequate liquid volume must be maintained to allow for sufficient "settling time" which permits solids to either settle out as sludge or join the floating-scum layer at the top of the tank. Baffles in the tank prevent the floating scum from leaving the tank, an event that would lead to rapid failure of the absorption system.

When pumping is too infrequent, even if the tank is not totally clogged with solids, the reduced liquid volume in the tank cuts settlement time and forces small floating solids out to the absorption system, shortening its life.

TABLE 1 Estimated septic tank pumping frequencies in years
(for year-round residences)

Tank Household size (number of people)
Tank Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
gals. (Years between pumping listed below)
500 6.0 2.5 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.2 0.1
750 9.0 4.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.5 0.5
900 11.0 5.0 3.5 2.5 1.5 1.5 1.0 1.0 0.5
1000 12.5 6.0 3.5 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 1.0 1.0
1250 15.5 7.5 5.0 3.5 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.5 1.0
1500 19.0 9.0 6.0 4.0 3.5 2.5 2.0 2.0 1.5
1750 22.0 10.5 7.0 5.0 4.0 3.0 2.5 2.0 2.0
2000 25.5 12.5 8.0 6.0 4.5 3.5 3.0 2.5 2.0
2250 28.5 14.0 9.0 6.5 5.0 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5
2500 31.9 15.5 10.0 7.5 6.0 5.0 4.0 3.5 3.0

* Below the minimum size allowed by rule.
Note: More frequent pumping is needed if a garbage disposal is used. Generally the indicated frequency will vary with the volume of solids (+20% for high volume, -20% for low volume). Also, more frequent pumping will be needed if your tanks are not water tight, and allow the infiltration of storm or ground water.

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