When Does Your Septic Tank Need to Be Pumped

When you live out in the country or in rural areas, city sewer systems are usually not available.  Individual septic systems are used instead.  These systems can provide reliable service if properly maintained and will provide reliable service for years, however with these systems they do need to be pumped out.  How can you tell when the tank needs to be pumped out though?  Here are your signs that your tank is full. septic-tank-pooling-waterOne of first signs that your tank is full is pooling of water at the site of the tank.  Waste water should not start pooling around the drain field unless the tank is full and solid waste starts clogging the pipes making wastewater to rise to the surface. Odor is a sure sign that your tank is full.  After the collection of wastewater from you home’s sinks, toilets, dishwasher, laundry machine, showers and tubs emission of foul smelling odors is expected.  If you smell this odor outside near the tanks, the tank is most likely full and need to be pumped. Slow draining sinks, tubs, and toilets can also be a sign that your tank is full.  Although there is the possibility that the drain may just be clogged and need to be cleared with cleaning products or a plunger, but if that does not work it may be time to check you tank. You sure don’t want a sewage backup, but if does occur and it is black and has a very foul smell you should get your tank serviced and pumped out. The color and health of the grass above the drain field is a sign as well.  Normally, grass above the drain field looks just as the grass around it.  However, if the grass above the drain field seems lush or greener than other grass, it means that wastewater is rising faster and in excessive than normal.  The tank will need servicing. The level of nitrates in your well water is important in whether or not your septic system needs to be serviced.  You can test the levels of nitrates in your water to determine whether the water is healthy or not.  If your tank is full, bacteria and nitrates reach up to the soil and well water.  You should check your nitrate levels in your well water on a regular basis. septicproblems-300x160To make sure you don’t run into septic system problems due to overly full tanks, watch for the signs, have your water tested, and keep on a schedule as to when to pump your tank out.  Normally your tank should be pumped every 3 to 5 years.  If you don’t pay attention to the signs and have your system maintained, you could be asking for a number of problems concerning your septic system and pipes, your ground water, well water, drain field, and in for one huge mess to clean up.
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