How often should my tank be pumped, and what about effluent filters?

As a rule, tanks should be checked for solids buildup every year and pumped every three to five years, more often if you have a garbage disposal which can increase solids buildup by 50%. In practice, however, how often solids should be removed depends on the lifestyle of the family using the system and the size of the tank. If you wait until wastewater begins to back up into your home, solids have already started over-flowing from the septic tank and into your absorption field. This can cause some very expensive damage to the soil absorption system. When choosing a company to remove solids from your tank, ask if they thoroughly clean the tank and remove all solids. It is not very useful to just pump the liquids without removing the solids. To effectively clean the tank, the removed liquids should be flushed back into the tank to thoroughly agitate and remove settled solids. In addition, the baffles on the tank should be checked to make sure they are functional and the tank’s effluent filter (if installed) should be cleaned. A riser installed on your septic tank makes solids removal easier, and septic tank maintenance companies may charge less if the tank is easy to access. If your tank has an effluent filter installed, it can be inspected and cleaned through the riser. A properly functioning tank effluent filter protects the soil absorption field much more effectively than a baffle. If your tank does not currently have one, consider installing one the next time you have your tank cleaned. Note: a septic permit is required for any alteration or repair to the system. If you have questions about what is required, contact the Department of Health.

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1. Does the area for the septic system really need to be protected from construction traffic before constructing my house and after installation?
2. What can I plant on or near the septic system?
3. What does a typical septic system look like, and how long does it last?
4. Do those septic tank additives work?
5. How often should my tank be pumped, and what about effluent filters?
6. What steps can I take to reduce water use in my home and around my property, and why is it important?
7. How can I get information about my septic system?
8. What signs tell me my septic system may be headed for replacement?
9. What do I do if my system goes into failure?
10. My system has worked for many years. Why can’t I just replace it with what I have?
11. Can I put in my own septic system? I ran a backhoe once and my buddy has one he says I can use.
12. How do I properly abandon my septic tank or system?