Residential septic tanks are safe and environmentally friendly ways to manage household drain waste. They are very different from traditional sewer systems, and they require special care and maintenance. There are some general guidelines that we all follow when it comes to how often they need to be pumped out. Most homes only need a professional septic tank pump out every 2 to 5 years but the truth is that you only need a pump out as often as your system dictates it needs it. The biggest factor that impacts how often your septic tank needs pumping and cleaning are clear in the sludge accumulation levels inside the tank. We’ll go over some more factors to consider below to help you plan for your next tank pump out.

How Do Septic Tank Systems Work?

A septic tank system is essentially a waste storage and treatment facility. All household wastewater from the kitchen and bathrooms will pass through the septic tank for treatment. They are low-maintenance and very reliable sewerage systems that have grown in popularity for residential usage across Australia. Tank and drain cleaning experts will tell you how often your tank needs serious attention, but you can rest assured that it won’t be very often if you use it right. The wastewater (effluent) that is stored in the septic tank goes through a process of treatment which includes settling and anaerobic processes. The solid waste is separated from the treated effluent that is then distributed through leach drains where the water can flow into the gravel and then on into the surrounding soil.

How Often Should a Septic Tank Be Pumped Out?

Home septic tanks should be pumped out every two to five years, depending on their unique usage patterns on site. The interval time that is best suited to you depends on how many litres your septic tank holds, and how many people are in your household. Whether they are used by water prudent residents or at homes with increased pressure, all septic tanks will need cleaning and pumping out to prevent overflow or blockages.

How Does A Professional Perform Septic Tank Pump Outs?

The entire process begins with an overall health check which should be conducted by a professional. This is to help assess the stability of the system and accurately measure the sludge and scum layer. After the levels have been properly inspected, the professional will use a waste removal and storage truck. It has a high-powered pump with an adjustable pipe. This is used to quickly pump out the septic tank’s contents entirely. They will then hose and scrape down the tank’s inner walls and inspect them for any damage. Your tank will then be refilled with clean water, re-sealed and put back in service for another 2 to 5 years.

Why Do You Need A Septic Tank Pump out?

Septic tank systems accumulate and store solid and liquid waste. Liquid waste accumulates more rapidly and is more likely to reduce the volume in the tank. The longer this waste is left to accumulate the more potential it has to produce disease-causing parasites and micro-organisms. A septic tank that is too full will also fail at handling household waste effectively and safely. These are some of the reasons why septic tanks must be regularly pumped and maintained. We’re also going to list some other consequences below, which are indications that you may need emergency maintenance:

  • Slow-draining toilets and drain
  • Blockages or sewerage backflow
  • Liquid waste may start to overflow
  • Strong smells and odours will linger
  • Wet areas near or on top of the septic tank

If you’ve noticed any of the above, these are signs that you need a pump out and simply cannot ignore it anymore. You should go ahead and reach out to your local drain and tank professional.

Maintaining Your Septic Tank

You need to continually invest in the proper maintenance of your septic tank if you want it to keep operating without any unsightly accidents. Sewerage is a highly dangerous material to be exposed to and that’s also the case for the professionals that have to do so regularly. Your septic tank will continue to work for you if you continue to take care of it. You can even prolong the need for a full pump-out if your maintenance expert has other measures to treat the waste accumulation.

Septic Tank maintenance also requires that everyone is sensible with their water usage. Everyone on the property needs to do their part every day to minimize and control their water and waste behaviours. Water needs to be used sparingly and not in a wasteful manner because liquid wastewater is what fills up the tank the quickest. Residents also need to be aware of the things they flush or wash down the drain because these things may end up in the tank and cause many other faults. Things like chemicals, grease, and oil should all be avoided.