To Pump or Not Pump?

One of the main services that must be performed on your septic system is regular pumping of the tank. For some, this can be a confusing issue as it can be difficult to know when you should pump and when you can wait a bit longer. The problem with septic tanks is there isn’t a simple way to check when your tank is almost full, at least not for homeowners. Due to the gases present in the tank, it can be dangerous to try to access the tank to check the level. So, how do you know whether to pump or not to pump?

Most septic tanks should be pumped about every 2-3 years; however, this is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Many factors determine how quickly your septic tank will be filled. The size of the tank is usually based on the number of bedrooms in the home. But, some houses have larger tanks than is needed, or more people may live in the house than the number of bedrooms. The size, amount of people in the home, waste habits and many other factors contribute to how often a tank must be pumped.

The best way to stay on top of the pumping for your septic tank is to have regular service performed on your septic system by a professional. Annual service helps keep your equipment maintained and assures that everything is working like it should. This is also a good time for your service technician to check your tank level. They can let you know an approximate time when you should schedule your next pumping. This way, you are not pumping too soon or not enough, keeping your septic system well maintained.

Posted on behalf of:
Seagraves Plumbing Sewer & Septic
4980 Plant Atkinson Rd SE
Smyrna, GA 30080
(494) 792-2221

Commercial Septic Pumping Services

Much like rural or residential septic tanks, a commercial septic system is a self-contained, private form of wastewater treatment. It is simply a large concrete or steel tank buried in the ground. Wastewater from the commercial facility flows into one end of a large holding tank buried in the ground, wherein the solids and liquid are separated, with the solids either floating to the top or their weight carrying them to the bottom. When new wastewater enters the tank, the previously separated water is then pushed out from the tank into a drain field, where it is slowly filtered and absorbed back into the ground soil. Gases from the bacteria in the tank naturally help to continue breaking down the remaining organic solids. However, eventually these solids, like a residential system, do need to be pumped out.

Your local sewer and septic pumping service company can usually provide commercial services that include sewer and septic repair and installation, in addition to commercial septic pumping. Unlike a residential septic system, a commercial septic system requires septic tank pumping more often. The amount of times a septic system needs to be pumped depends on the size of a business size of the septic tank, volume and speed of wastewater flow, as well as the quantity of debris within the wastewater. On average, your commercial septic tank will probably require pumping about every three months.

Most pumping service companies will also set you up with a schedule of planned maintenance to make sure your trap and lines flow without restraint. Such routine maintenance service will prevent bad odors and safety concerns associated with a defective grease trap.

Septic System Inspections

Every person buying a home with a septic system should have the entire system inspected by a qualified plumbing  or sewer-septic contractor that constructs and services septic systems.  The septic system inspection should occur prior to closing on the home and a satisfactory report should be part of the purchase agreement of the home.  Septic system repairs can be expensive, disruptive and messy, so it is best to know the condition of the septic system before you buy the home.  An inspection will allow the buyer to make an informed decision on the property.

The plumbing contractor will look at the design criteria of the septic system, as well as the actual condition of the system.  In many jurisdictions it is not the number of bathrooms that determine the design of the system, but the number of bedrooms, as this is a better indicator of how many people are going to live in the home.  The number of people is what determines the load on the system when it is designed.   The plumbing contractor will be able to determine the design load on the system and compare it to the number of bedrooms in the home.  If it was designed for 4 bedrooms or 5 people and there are 8 people in the house because the current owner added two additional bedrooms in the basement without a permit, there could be an issue.

As a part of the inspection, the contractor will look at the actual system including the septic tank and drain field and determine the overall condition of the septic system, with a focus on the condition of the drain field to determine if there are signs of it failing.  Once the inspection is complete, the plumbing contractor will provide the potential purchaser a written report detailing the findings.