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How Septic System Pumping Works

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There's not much you can do as a homeowner to clean out your septic system. There's a lot you can do to prevent putting the wrong things down your drain, but when the tank is full, you need to hire a septic system pumping service to empty it. You may wonder what this entails and how the frequency of pumping is determined. Here's a look at how septic system pumping works.

Only Solids And Fats Accumulate

Since all the waste and water from your drains go into the septic tank, you may wonder why it doesn't fill up very fast. That's because the water passes through the tank and goes into the drainfield. This isn't supposed to happen very fast since more solids fall out of the water if the water stays in the tank for a while. That's why conserving water is important when you have a septic system.

The drain on a septic tank is in the middle of the tank. The tank contents separate into layers. Solids fall to the bottom, water stays in the middle, and fats rise to the top. Water then flows out the drain and solids and fats accumulate in the tank. These have to be removed by the pumping service. If they were to pass through to the drainfield, the field could clog up and be ruined.

The Tank Is Pumped Out Every Few Years

The frequency of pumping out the tank depends on the tank size, how many people live in your house, and whether you are careful about only putting things down the drain that decompose fast. Unless you have a small tank, you can probably go a few years between service calls.

However, you should always watch for signs of a full tank, such as toilet backups and slow flushing so you can call for tank cleaning early if it's needed.

The Solids Are Vacuumed Into A Pump Truck

The contents of a septic tank are toxic. Even the fumes are toxic, so it's important to leave your tank alone and let a professional remove the lid and clean out the tank. The septic pumping contractor arrives with a big pump truck that has a long hose attached. They open your tank and put the hose in so they can vacuum out the solids. They may scrape and stir the contents to get everything stuck to the bottom. When the contents are removed, the contractor can give the tank a quick inspection to look for problems and make repairs if needed.

Water Fills The Tank Fairly Fast

Once the septic system pumping service leaves and you resume using your plumbing as normal, the septic tank fills up with water fairly fast. That's because water keeps accumulating until it reaches the drain in the middle of the tank.

Soon, solid and fat layers will form and the water layer will get smaller. If you ever want to know if it's time to pump out the tank, the contractor can use a device to measure the size of the solid and fat layers rather than measure the water layer. The tank should always be pumped out before the solids or fats grow so deep that they can pass through the drain in the middle of the tank.

For more information, contact a company like Morris Septic & Sewer.