If you have a septic tank attached to your home to deal with the removal and containment of solid waste materials, then you probably know that it is extremely important to have the tank pumped regularly. There are several factors that can help you figure out how often the tank should be cleaned out. The size of the tank, the amount of waste that flows into the tank, and the amount of time since your last pumping are three important factors you should consider. On average, pumping should occur around every three years. However, you should understand that there are some times when a septic cleaning should not take place right away.
After a Flood
If heavy rainfall has flooded your property recently, if a local river or lake has flooded nearby, or if a hurricane or tropical storm has recently come through, then you should not schedule a septic cleaning. All of these things indicate that the water table is likely higher than usual and possibly completely congested all the way to the surface of your property.
This can cause a variety of problems if a cleaning is scheduled. If your septic tank is a smaller variety or a newer device made from plastic or fiberglass, then the groundwater can seep into the hole as the tank is dug up and actually cause it to float up out of the ground. The water pressure will rip the sewage lines from the tank and cause sewage to leak into the opening. The result will be the need for a new septic tank and the cleaning of the material. Special precautions and procedures will need to occur to safely collect the sewage wastes. The entire septic replacement and cleaning process can be quite pricey.
Water Table Considerations
To reduce issues with floating septic tanks, you will need to make sure that the water table returns to normal before you schedule a septic tank cleaning. Wait two to four weeks for water to recede naturally, and then ask your septic tank professional to use a probe in the ground to determine the height of the water table. Usually, a device called a soil moisture sensor probe is used.
If the sensor indicates that the water table is raised to the top or middle of the septic tank, then a pumping should not be performed. You will need to wait until the probe indicates that the water has receded to about three feet below the top of the septic tank. Since your septic tank is likely secured two to three feet below the earth's surface, the water table will need to be measured at five or six feet below the surface before a pumping can be performed.
Your Tank Has Recently Been Pumped
If you need to invest in a septic tank inspection because sewage has backed up into your home for some reason or if you think that there may be a crack or hole in your septic tank, then you may ask your septic professional to also clean the tank while the top cap or cover is removed. While this may save you time and money in the future by asking for a cleaning before there is a need, this is a bad idea if a septic cleaning has been completed within the last year. Septic tanks cannot be continually cleaned, because this would cause issues with the way the septic tank sludge and scum layers build within the containment tank.
Understanding Scum and Bacteria
A septic tank contains several different layers of material. Usually, solid wastes settle to the bottom of the tank, grease and oils float to the top, and liquid materials sit in between the two layers. These separate layers allow the septic tank to work properly. The scum layer at the top of the tank contains some bacteria that help to break down solids as they float to the bottom of the tank. The same bacteria sit on the bottom and continuously break down solids over time. Fluids drain out of the tank and solids remain inside.
When your septic tank is pumped when it is completely full, some of the bacteria and scum will stick to the sides of the tank. This helps the scum layer rebuild itself, and the bacteria to break down new wastes that move into the tank. If the tank is almost empty when it is cleaned, then very little scum and bacteria will remain. This can cause issues with solids moving into the drainage field and causing clogs and backups. Make sure to only invest in cleaning when an inspection indicates that your septic tank is mostly full to avoid scum and bacterial problems. For more information, contact a business such as AAA Pumping Service.
During the summer months, I enjoy taking care of my outdoor plants and flowers. Because I live in the southern United States, my vegetation needs water almost daily. Thankfully, I have a convenient outdoor faucet connected to my home. However, I recently endured some problems with this source of water. When I turned on the faucet, I was greeted with a forceful spray of water going in all directions. Before I could gather my senses and turn the water off, I resembled my dog after she jumps into a pool of water. To avoid the wet dog look in the future, I plan to hire a professional plumber to take care of my faulty faucet. On this blog, you will learn about the benefits of securing a reputable plumber to repair your problematic faucets.