What Happens During the Septic Tank Cleaning Process?

Septic tank systems should be pumped regularly to maintain proper wastewater flow and system functionality. Understanding the fundamentals of septic systems can help homeowners to appreciate regular pumping and exercise proper care for their septic tank investment.

What happens during the septic tank cleaning process?

Septic tank cleaning steps:

1. Locating the Tank
Septic tank cleaning professionals locate the septic tank, conduct excavation work to open the access lid and expose the underground septic tank.

2. Examining Waste Levels
The tank cleaning team inspects the waste to determine whether liquid levels are normal, high, or low.

High water levels are caused by:

  • Cracks and leaks
  • Damaged or faulty tank baffles
  • Malfunctioning pumps
  • Problems in the drain field
3. Tank Pumping
Septic tank cleaning professionals use vacuum trucks, a pump and hose to remove sludge by inserting the hose through the open tank lid and completely removing the contents.
The hose uses a suction mechanism to transfer liquid waste from the septic compartment to the truck’s tank. Some cleaners use specialized tools, including a septic cleaning spoon, to aid in waste removal.
4. Tank Cleaning
The team of technicians rinse the tank using freshwater. Most specialists use water jetting tools to effectively and thoroughly clean the tank.
Additional tank parts are cleaned, such as:
  • Drain field lines: The lines permitting the proper flow of the sludge and other compounds.
  • Filters: Responsible for collecting coffee grounds, lint, and other items that cannot be broken down.
5. Inspection
After cleaning the tank, technicians inspect for:
  • Baffles
  • Cracks
  • Filters
  • Outlet conditions
  • Water drainage
What happens if the septic tank is not pumped?
If the tank is not pumped, solid wastes build up and the tank’s holding capacity will be reduced. In time, waste will eventually reach the drain field’s maximum capacity and clog. Clog indications:
  • Freshly grown, healthy grass over the drain field
  • Sewage smell
  • Slow drains in the house
  • Swampy areas near the drain field
  • Wastewater backing up to toilets
How often should the tank be pumped?
Septic tanks are typically pumped every 3 to 5 years, however, timelines depend on:
  • Amount of solids in the wastewater
  • Home size
  • Produced wastewater by the household
  • Tank size

Septic System Care Tips

1. Know your septic system. Get familiar with the operation, the type and the location of your septic system. All septic system files, including permits, certifications, and contractor information, should be documented and kept safe.
2. Conserve water when using washing machines, showerheads, and toilets to reduce the likelihood of septic tank malfunction and drain failure.
3. Water should be disposed of properly to ensure proper septic tank function.

4. Never flush items or substances including:

  • Baby wipes
  • Cat litter
  • Chemical drain openers
  • Cigarette butts
  • Cooking oil or grease
  • Coffee grounds
  • Diapers
  • Dental floss
  • Fats, solids, and grease
  • Household chemicals including oil, antifreeze, paint, and gasoline
  • Oil-based paints or solvents
  • Paper towels
5. Never drive or park on top of the drain field.
6. Never plant trees or shrubs on top of the drain field. Roots can damage septic tank systems.
7. The drain field should be kept away from rainwater drainage systems, sump pumps, and roof drains.
8. Be careful what is poured down drains, especially cleaning chemicals. Certain cleaning products harm the good bacteria in a septic system. Avoid using:
  • Antibacterial soaps and disinfectants
  • Bleach drain cleaners
  • Toilet bowl cleaners
9. Routinely pump the system. Household septic systems should be pumped every 3 to 5 years. When hiring a septic service provider, they will also inspect the septic tank for leaks and sludge. Document everything correctly and keep the records for future reference.

Florida’s Septic Tank System Cleaning Experts | West Michigan Septic Sewer and Drain Service 

Efficient septic tank systems dispose of waste properly, promote effective water flow and deter expensive septic system repairs. West Michigan Septic Sewer and Drain Service helps property owners manage waste with quality septic tank cleaning services with their septic tank systems.
Call West Michigan Septic Sewer and Drain Service or connect with us online today to learn more.
  • Allendale: 616-895-9080
  • Coopersville: 616-837-1800
  • Grand Haven: 616-847-1072
  • Holland: 616-392-8988
  • Muskegon: 231-739-7423
  • Twin Lake: 231-828-5595
  • Whitehall: 231-893-4252
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