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Old 09-24-2010, 07:51 PM   #46
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Full Septic or Clog?


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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
There has been a lot of research on the question of how often it is necessary to pump a septic tank. It is only necessary when the solids level in the tank reaches approximately 20 percent of the depth of the tank. This is easily checked with a wooden stick with a rag on the end. Interestingly enough, if you are careful about what you put down the drain (no food, no chemicals, no garbage, DO NOT use a garbage grinder) it is entirely possible to go years, perhaps decades, with absolutely no need to pump your tank. My tank has gone ten years without the need for pumping, and yes I check it regularly, there are virtually no solids in it. So it is incorrect to assume that you need to pump your tank on a specific schedule, it is totally a function of what you put into the tank, and how well the system is functioning.
From the research I've done, I'm going to follow this in the future. The septic inspector that came over for us advised to have it pumped every 3-5 years as a general rule. We'll probably inspect it ourselves every 3 years or so and get it pumped if it's needed.

You can also use some tricks to keep it from getting too high:
  • Don't do all your laundry in one day, spread it out, and don't overdo it on the detergent. Likewise, don't take a shower and run the dishwasher and washing machine all at the same time.
  • Don't flush stupid stuff down your toilet and your sinks. Lesser-known bad things to flush are grease, oil, lots of food (even if you have a garbage disposal), and paint.
  • Get some yeast packets in bulk from BJ's, Costco, Sams' Club, etc. and flush one down each toilet once a month.
  • If you have any kind of backup, find and open up your cleanout line. It'll usually be in the ground between your septic tank and your house (ours was about 3-5 inches below the ground, though some actually stick out completely). If it does not have water in it, it's in your house somewhere (call a plumber). If it does have water in it, your septic tank is backing up (call a septic specialist).

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Old 09-24-2010, 08:15 PM   #47
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Full Septic or Clog?


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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
. So it is incorrect to assume that you need to pump your tank on a specific schedule, it is totally a function of what you put into the tank, and how well the system is functioning.
If you will notice, I said a suggested schedule and in agreement with your statement, if depends on what you toss down the drain.

The point of a schedule is simply to prevent a person from not checking their tank and causing solids to be sent to the drain field. Once a person understands their tank, yes, they may find they do not need to pump as often as the schedule suggests. If you allow solids to get into the drain field, you can cause irreparable harm. Better to check, or even pump to often rather than cause yourself such problems.

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