Septic System Mistakes To Avoid

All About Septic Tank Pumping

by Melinda Crawford

If you live in a rural area with no connection to a municipal sewage system, then you will probably have to use a septic tank to dispose of your household waste water. For homeowners who use septic systems, certain maintenance tasks are essential in order to keep the system in good working order. This article looks at one of the most important of these tasks; septic pump out

How the System Works

Your septic system sends your household sewage and wastewater into a septic tank that is buried underground. Bacteria in the tank work on the wastewater and separate it into three parts: scum, effluent and sludge. The effluent is a liquid layer that is dispersed into a drainfield on your property through a series of perforated pipes. The scum and sludge layers are not meant to enter the drainfield, however, and are prevented from doing so by various components of the septic tank.

Even though the scum and sludge are kept in the tank for a time, they cannot remain there indefinitely. If these substances are not pumped out occasionally, they can damage your tank or escape into the drainfield. In either case, you will probably be looking at expensive repairs. For this reason, you need to contact a professional septic service to pump out the tank on a regular basis.


A key question for every homeowner is how often they should clean out their tank. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, recommends that owners pump out their system at least once every three years to five years. The EPA also recommends that you have the tank inspected at least once every three years to see if your system is in good working order.

The exact interval between pump outs depends on various factors, such as how many people live in the house, the amount of wastewater poured into the system, the size of any solid material in the waste and the size of your septic tank.


The cost to have a septic service pump out your tank can vary. The average range as of 2018 is between $284 and $504, according to the website HomeAdvisor. The national average as of 2018 is $380.

Getting your septic tank pumped out at regular intervals is a crucial part of keeping the system functioning properly. To learn more about this topic and to get an estimate on how much it will cost to clean out your tank, contact a septic professional in your area.