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Why You Should Have Your Septic Tank Pumped Regularly

Pumping a septic tank
You may have heard that if you start seeing sewage in your yard or smelling nasty odors coming from the drains, you need to have your septic tank pumped. This is true - but it's better to have your tank pumped before it gets to this point.

A septic care professional can tell you how often you need your tank pumped based on the size of the tank, how many people live in your home, and your water usage habits. But for the majority of homeowners, having the tank pumped every two to three years is sufficient. Otherwise, you might face some of the following consequences.

Sewage and Water Damage in Your Home

Over time, solids settle to the bottom of your septic tank and greasy material rises to the top. If too much solid material or scum accumulates in the tank, these materials may block the pipe through which the water leaves the tank and enters your drain field.

Then, when you let more water down the drain, the water has nowhere to go but back into your home's pipes and up through your drains. You may see sewage coming up through the toilets, shower drains, and sink drains. 

If sewage spews out onto the floor unnoticed, it can cause serious structural damage. Repairing water damage alone costs an average of about $18 per square foot - or $1440 for an 80-square-foot bathroom. Even small sewage spills can be dangerous. Sewage contains pathogenic bacteria like E. coli, Streptococcus, and Salmonella, all of which can cause intestinal illness.

A Scum-Saturated Drain Field

The drain field is the part of your yard into which your septic tank drains. Drain fields usually have a layer of gravel at the bottom of the drain field, and the soil on top of the gravel is left loose enough for water to flow through it easily.

When you do not have your septic tank pumped often enough, scum from the tank can start flowing out into the drain field. This greasy scum coats and saturates the gravel and soil in your drain field. This keeps the drain field from properly filtering the wastewater that comes through it, which may lead to pooling water in your backyard. Plus, dangerous sewage may appear in your yard, exposing you, your kids, and animals to the bacteria mentioned above.

Once a drain field has been saturated with greasy scum, the only solution is typically to remove the replace the contaminated soil. It's a lot easier to have your tank pumped regularly than to deal with this hassle.

Undetected Leaks

When your septic tank professional comes to pump out the tank, they also take a close look at the tank to make sure there are no leaks. Leaks often develop between the upper and bottom portions of the tank, which are sealed together with a seam. 

A leak in your septic tank may not cause any obvious signs, like a wet yard, if it is small. However, a leak does present an environmental hazard as it allows untreated sewage to be released into the soil. If you have your tank pumped regularly, leaks won't go undetected for very long, and there's a better chance that your septic care team will be able to repair them rather than having to replace the whole tank.

If it has been more than two years since you've had your septic tank pumped, contact the experts at  Whites Septic Tank Services, Inc. We offer free estimates and will make sure your tank gets the service it needs to prevent the troubles discussed in this blog.