Why Septic Pumping is Important
Most homeowners in Rowan County, don’t think about their septic tank. It’s buried somewhere in their yard and does what it’s supposed to do, well, most of the time. Unfortunately, homeowners can get a rude reminder of their septic tanks presence when it’s neglected. This is where Myers Septic comes in. We can help you with all your septic needs, including septic pumping, as well as preventative care and maintenance. The number one question that we get asked most often is “how often should my septic tank be pumped?” We are going to answer that and cover more valuable septic system information below.
How Your Septic System Works
All septic systems have a septic tank, which is a large buried rectangular or cylindrical container made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Waste water from your toilet, shower, sinks, washing machines, and other appliances leave your house and are combined in a single pipe, which drains into the septic tank. Most houses built after the late 1980s will have a septic tank that has two compartments.
When the waste hits the septic tank, it begins to separate. The heaviest matter in the waste, called sludge, sinks to the bottom. At the top of the tank, fats, oils, and proteins form the floating layer called scum. Effluent, or gray water, is the relatively clear liquid that sits in the middle of the sludge and scum. All of this waste is called septage.
The effluent is discharged from the tank into the drain field (also called the leach field). The effluent is degraded enough to be well-filtered by good soil. This effluent can act as a fertilizer, which is why drain fields usually have healthy yards above them.
There are three different types of solids that your septic tank holds, biodegradable “organic” solids such as feces, slowly biodegradable “organic” solids such as toilet paper, and non-biodegradable solids such as plastic and kitty litter. The more slowly biodegradable organic solids and non-biodegradable solids that are in your septic tank, the faster it will fill up, needing it to be frequently pumped.
What is Septic Pumping?
Septic pumping is when a professional pumping provider (such as Myers Septic Services) removes the liquid and floating solids and sludge from the septic tank. Pumpers use a high-pressure water nozzle and pump to remove the solids in your septic tank. If the sludge is heavy, water may have to be added to try and break down the solids.
Septic tanks with two compartments will need to have both sides pumped. The liquid may be drained out from one side, but the solids will need to be pumped out each individual side.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Guidelines on Septic Tanks
The EPA recommends that the sludge and scum should be pumped out of your septic tank when the bottom of the floating scum layer is within six inches of the outlet pipe, or, the top of the sunken sludge layer is within 12 inches of it. However, it is impossible to tell if your waste has reached these levels without the help of a professional. Myers Septic located in Salisbury, NC offers a free estimate for septic pumping and can let you know if your septic system needs to be pumped. We offer septic system services including pumping to Rowan County, Davidson County, and now Mooresville.
A word of caution: There are products on the market that are meant to prolong the periods between pumping. These products contain chemicals that break down the sludge in your tank. The EPA warns against these chemicals saying that the additives can throw off the delicate ecosystem in your septic tank and lawn and advises homeowners to “play it safe and not substitute these products for regular septic inspections and pumping.”
When you are getting your septic pumped, make sure that you are there. Not all companies are as trustworthy as Myers Septic Service, and some pumpers may not do as good of a job as you would like. If you don’t have risers on your septic tank, it may also disrupt your yard. Make sure that you are there to supervise.
6 Signs That Your Septic Tank Is Full
Once a septic tank starts showing problems, it’s normally too late for any type of simple, preventative solution. This is a huge reason why regular septic pumping can save you time, money, and protect your family’s health. We actually wrote an entire article on everything you need to know to take care of your septic system.
#1 The Septic Tank is Draining Slow
The first sign that your septic tank needs pumping will be slow draining fixtures. Your tubs, toilets, sinks, etc., may seem to drain sluggishly. This is one of the most innocuous signs, and if you notice it, get your septic tank drained before anything worse happens.
#2 You Can Smell Your Septic System Outside
A sickly odor is another sign that your septic tank may need to be pumped. As the tank fills with septage, odor-causing gases have nowhere to go and end up wafting up from your drains and drain field. This is a gross and unhealthy problem as breathing in sewage gas can be harmful.
#3 The Grass is too Green
Surprisingly, if you have a lush and green lawn above your drainfield it could be a sign that your septic tank is overflowing. Waste and effluent that drains out into the drainfield acts as a fertilizer, and overly lush grass could be a sign that your drainfield is providing extra fertilizer.
#4 Nitrate Levels in Your Water
If you rely on well water, then a higher than normal nitrate level in your water could be a sign that your septic tank is leaking and leaching into your drinking water. It is recommended that homeowners who have well water get their water tested yearly.
#5 There Standing Water in Your Yard
“Why is There Standing Water in My Yard?” Standing water can start to pool in a number of places if your septic tank is full. The most telling of these places is around your septic tank and drainfield. If you notice standing water, your septic tank needs to be pumped and inspected immediately.
#6 Sewage is Backing Up In Your House
The easiest, and most disgusting, sign that your septic tank needs to be pumped is when raw sewage backs up into your house. This can be a real possibility if you choose to not have your septic tank pumped or checked regularly or if you ignore any of the signs above. Raw sewage is detrimental to the homeowner’s health and clean-up can cost extra time and money.
Increase Your Septic Tank Life & Keep Mother Nature Happy
Septic pumping is an important maintenance step. It extends the life of your septic system by clearing out the septage that accumulates in your tank. If your tank is pumped on a regular basis, the solids can be removed easily, however, the longer you wait, the thicker the sludge becomes and the harder it is to pump. A well-maintained septic tank can last up to 30 years and save you a ton of money, time, and hassle.
Not only will septic pumping increase your tank life, it will also help prevent system overflow. This overflow can back up into the house and even flood your drainfield. When this happens, water can run-off into nearby water bodies like creeks and rivers or taint groundwater.
How Frequent Should My Septic Be Pumped?
You should have your septic tank pumped regularly, at least every three to five years. If you have a larger family or utilize more water, you may need to have it pumped more often. The more people who use your septic tank, the more frequent it’ll need pumping.
Research at Penn State has shown that, in order to improve your septic system, including your drainfield, schedule your septic tank to be pumped right before you and your family go on an extended vacation. This will allow the entire system a chance to dry up and any partially decomposed organic waste that is left over will get a chance to fully decompose.
Myers Septic Services can recommend a schedule based on your family’s needs. The most important question is “how much does it cost to get my septic tank pumped in Rowan County?” We offer a fast and free estimate for septic pumping and can guarantee that it will be done right.