When To Pump Your Septic Tank Scum Layer? (Solution found)

The septic tank should be pumped when the bottom of the scum layer is within 3 inches of the bottom of the outlet baffle or the top of the sludge layer is within 12 inches of the bottom of the outlet fitting.

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  • Generally, when the floating scum layer is within 6 inches of the outlet pipe or the sludge layer is within 12 inches of your discharge line, your septic tank should be pumped. Levels may be hard to discern, so having your septic tank inspected yearly by AA Septic Services will help prevent backups. Septic Tanks Need Pumping Every 1-3 Years

How do you stop a scum layer on a septic tank?

How to Reduce Sludge in a Septic Tank Without Pumping

  1. Install an aeration system with diffused air in your septic tank.
  2. Break up any compacted sludge.
  3. Add a bio-activator or microbe blend.
  4. Maintain the aeration system.
  5. Add additional Microbes as required.

How is the sludge layer cleaned out of the septic tank?

The floating scum layer and settled sludge layer accumulate in the septic tank until the tank is pumped / emptied by the septic pumping contractor. In turn, the septic pumping company then hauls the septage to an approved disposal site, most-often to a waste treatment plant.

What happens to sludge and scum in septic tank?

Through the normal metabolic activities of these resident bacteria, liquification of the scum and sludge layers occur. In other words, when operating properly bacteria cause organic materials from both the sludge and scum layers to be broken down into smaller sized substances.

What is the scum on top of septic tank?

Scum: Substances lighter than water (oil, grease, fats) float to the top, where they form a scum layer. This scum layer floats on top of the water surface in the tank. Aerobic bacteria work at digesting floating solids. It flows through the septic tank outlet into the drainfield.

How thick should the scum layer be in a septic tank?

Septic tanks need to be pumped out when the sludge layer exceeds 24 inches in depth or when the bottom of the scum layer is less than 3 inches above the Page 2 lower end of the submerged outlet. If you cannot locate the submerged outlet, clean the tank if the scum layer is more than 12 inches thick.

How do u know when your septic tank is full?

Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:

  • Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
  • Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
  • Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
  • You Hear Gurgling Water.
  • You Have A Sewage Backup.
  • How often should you empty your septic tank?

How do I stop sludge in my septic tank?

The best way to keep septic sludge under control between cleanings is to use a bacterial additive in the tank. Bacterial additives give the tanks a healthy dose of extra aerobic bacteria that decompose solid wastes. The hard-working bacteria prevent sludge levels from rising too quickly and causing problems.

How do I check my septic tank sludge level?

To measure the sludge layer:

  1. Slowly lower the tube into the septic tank until it touches the bottom of the tank.
  2. As the device is slowly pulled out of the water, the check valve closes capturing a liquid/solid profile of the septic tank water. The thickness of the sludge layer can be measured.

How do you break up sludge in a septic tank?

Here are a few things you can do to help you break down the solid waste in your septic tank:

  1. Active Yeast. Add ¼ to ½ cup of active dry yeast to your toilet bowl and flush it down your toilet.
  2. Rotten Tomatoes.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide.
  4. Inorganic Acids.
  5. Chemicals.
  6. Pumping.

What does scum in septic look like?

Scum: Substances lighter than water (oil, grease, fats) float to the top, where they form a scum layer. This scum layer floats on top of the water surface in the tank. Aerobic bacteria work at digesting floating solids.

How often should I have my septic pumped out?

Inspect and Pump Frequently The average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years.

Why is my septic tank foaming?

Phosphates that pass through the septic system due to improper design can enter surface water, causing very high growth rates of algae. Surfactants typically cause foaming or suds in water.

How to Measure Septic Tank Floating Scum Thickness

  • Post a QUESTION or COMMENTabout how, when, where, and why to measure the thickness of the scum layer in a septic tank in the comments section. what the thickness of the tank signifies in terms of tank condition the requirement for pumping

InspectAPedia does not allow any form of conflict of interest. The sponsors, goods, and services described on this website are not affiliated with us in any way. Measurement of the thickness of the floating scum layer in a septic tank: A septic tank condition assessment tool and technique are described in this paper, which may be used to determine the thickness of the floating scum layer in a septic tank as an assistance in assessing whether or not the septic tank should be pumped and thoroughly cleaned.

Pumping and checking your septic tank is an important part of septic tank maintenance and septic system maintenance, regardless of whether you have a traditional septic tank and drain field or soakaway bed, an above ground septic system, or even a sewage holding tank.

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How to Measure theScum layer thickness in a septic tank:How to measure the thickness of the floating scum layer in a septic tank

When the septic tank is pumped, measurements of the scum layer and the sludge layer provide information on the system’s condition and effectiveness. The steps in this approach are designed after the steps in the classes that are required to get a Massachusetts Title 5 Septic Inspectors License. Other governments and agencies, on the other hand, describe a method that is comparable. Some septic companies have constructed their own versions of the equipment detailed below, which they transport to the pumpout work.

The septic tank drawing at the top of the page is courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates.

This information allows the home owner to know whether the septic tank is in good condition.

  1. When the septic tank is being pumped, and how often it is being pumped Whether or whether there is proof that the septic fields have been harmed as a result of the failure to pump the tank in a timely manner

Keep an eye out for these potential safety hazards while measuring septic tank scum and sludge levels: Using the technique outlined below, you may assess the thickness of settled sludge in a septic tank as well as the thickness of the floating scum layer in a tank by opening the tank and probing it with a little probe. This operation is hazardous since it involves the possibility of exposure to methane gas as well as the possibility of falling into a septic tank. The technique should be carried out by a septic contractor who is certified in its execution.

In order to avoid contaminating your assistance with septage, use gloves when handling the septic probe and be mindful of where you’re swinging the pole around so that you don’t spill septage all over him or her (never work alone on septic systems).

If the equipment is to be kept for future use, it should be thoroughly cleaned after each usage. Some septic companies transport their poles in a large, plastic-lined box that is then placed back on the truck after they are finished.

How to Make the septic tank probe for measuring scumsludge layer thickness

An example of the type of septic tank scum and sludge measuring instrument displayed here is one that is used by a septic contractor to probe the thickness of the tank scum and sludge layers in the tank. A board measuring 6×6″ to 6×8″ is connected to the end of a pole of (about) 8 feet in length. Poly piping in the size of 2″ is ideal for this application since it is easy to clean up after. A basic door hinge is fastened to the end of the pipe as well as to the flapper board to complete the installation.

(See the graphic above for further information.) In addition, seeTUBE for MEASURING SCUMSLUDGEfor a tool that can measure the thickness of both scum and sludge with a single instrument.

  • Open the access port to the septic tank. If the tank is a single compartment septic tank (as seen on the left by the USDA sketch), this examination should be performed at the tank outlet end since it is at this point that the danger of discharge into the absorption system is the greatest. Some tanks, on the other hand, have a ready access port just on the inlet side – which is less preferable, but you may look there as well. You should be aware that if your tank has two compartments, solids, floating scum and settled sludge are building at the entrance area of the tank, which should be avoided. Sludge and scum will not be discovered in time to avoid septic system damage if the inspection is performed at the final septic tank outflow end. Such tanks may be equipped with a center inspection port, which allows for tank access at the outflow of the sludge/scum holding compartment when the tank is in the middle of the tank. In two-compartment septic tanks, here is where the testing should take place. Insert the septic tank measurement instrument as follows: Probe with the flapper pole into the scum layer at the opening septic tank access port until you feel an output baffle or a hygienic tee, then close the access hole. As a result, the pole has been positioned so that the board will extend beneath the baffle and be able to feel the bottom of it. Make a mark on the pole (chalk or pencil would do) to indicate where you want to go. Using anything easily accessible, such as the top of an access port, we may line up the mark and use it as a standard reference point for the subsequent measurements. In order to feel resistance from the bottom of a floating scum layer, pull the flapper pole up a little bit. Mark the pole once more, this time using the same reference point as previously specified
  • Distance between the scum and the baffle bottom: With the distance between the two markings, we can calculate the distance between the bottom of the scum layer and the (lower) bottom of the exit baffle. This indicates that the tank has to be emptied if the bottom of the scum layer is less than 3 inches above the bottom of the baffle. Distance between the scum and the baffle top: If, upon visual inspection, the top of the floating scum layer in the septic tank is within 1 inch of the top of the outflow baffle, the septic tank will also require pumping
  • Otherwise, the septic tank will not require pumping.

A protocol for measuring sludgescum is described in Septic Tank/Soil-Absorption Systems: How to OperateMaintain-, Equipment Tips, published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

What is The floating scum layer in a septic tank

It is possible that oil and grease will accumulate in the floating scum layer of a septic tank and eventually clog the leach field, which is a component of the septic system. When it comes to septic effluent treatment in the soil absorption system, oil and grease are particularly damaging because they inhibit aerobic treatment. As a result, if the scum layer has developed to the point that it is threatening to force grease and oil out of the tank, we should consider cleaning the septic tank. When the floating scum layer has built to the point that it has reached 3 inches below the bottom of the exit baffle or tee, the septic tank should be flushed.

WHEN TO PUMP – 3 Rules on How thick can the septic tank sludge and scum layer be before septic tank cleaning is needed?

Septic tank scum contains oil and grease, which, when discharged into the leach field, causes that component of the septic system to clog and fail to function properly. When it comes to septic effluent treatment in the soil absorption system, oil and grease are particularly detrimental to the aerobic section. So when the scum layer has developed to the point that it poses a risk of forcing grease and oil out of the tank, we should consider cleaning the septic tank. When the floating scum layer has collected to the point that it has reached 3 inches below the bottom of the exit baffle or tee, the septic tank should be pumped out.

  • Pump the septic tank when the entire depth of scum and sludge layers reaches one-third of the overall depth of the tank
  • 1/3 of tank depth
  • If there is less than three inches between the bottom of the scum layer and the bottom of the septic tank outlet baffle, pump the septic tank (the amount of clearance will vary depending on the length of your outlet baffle or tee)
  • Less than three inches between scum layer and bottom of septic tank outlet baffle
  • Pump the septic tank when the bottom of the outlet baffle is less than 6 inches from the top of the sludge layer found on the septic tank bottom
  • Less than 6 inches from the top of the sludge layer found on the septic tank bottom

Keep an eye out for septic scum and sludge that has accumulated over an extended period of time. It is too late for people who wait until their septic system stops operating as a result of a blocked or over-full septic tank (which is packed with sludge and scum) to take action. As the thickness of the bottom sludge layer rises, and as the thickness of the top septic scum layer increases as well, the amount of effluent left in the tank (known as the “net free area” or “effective septic tank volume”) decreases.

See also:  What Are Possible Priblems With Septic Tank Full? (Solution found)

Despite the fact that the drains in the building appear to be working well, the septic tank effluent remains in a continual state of stirred-agitation in this situation.

It is detrimental to the future life of the septic tank and leach field to remove oil, scum, and tiny solid debris from them and deposit them in the leach field.

an instrument that may be used to measure both scum and sludge thickness using a single piece of equipment For deep or difficult-to-access septic tanks, as well as commercial septic tanks that may require close monitoring, seeELECTRIC MONITOR FOR SCUMSLUDGEand also take a look atOther Measures Scum / Sludge for further options.

Septic Tank Sewage Level Articles

  • PROCEDURE FOR SEPTIC TANK INSPECTION
  • LEVELS OF SEWAGE IN SEPTIC TANK INSPECTION
  • TIME FOR EFFLUENT TO RETENTION
  • HOW TO MEASURE SEPTIC SCUM LAYER
  • HOW TO MEASURE SEPTIC SLUDGE LAYER
  • EFFLUENT RETENTION TIME
  • Flooding of the SEPTIC TANK
  • SCUMSLUDGE MEASUREMENT TOOLS
  • And more.

. How to Measure Septic Sludge Layer (Continue Reading) Alternatively, choose a topic from the closely related articles listed below, or browse the entireARTICLE INDEX. Alternatives include TOOLS FOR MEASURING SCUMSLUDGE.

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INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES:ARTICLE INDEX to SEPTIC SYSTEMS

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How Often Should You Pump Your Septic Tank?

The most often asked question we receive is “How often should I pump my septic tank?” This is by far the most common question we receive. New homeowners who are unfamiliar with septic systems are frequently required to learn how to properly manage their septic systems in order to avoid costly difficulties in the future. As an alternative to sewer systems and as an ecologically beneficial approach to handle domestic drain waste, a septic system is distinct from a sewer system and requires extra attention and upkeep to function properly.

Septic tank pumping should be done at the right interval for your home

The fact is that, while there are some broad suggestions that a septic system should be pumped every 2-5 years, the truth is that you actually only need to pump your system as frequently as your system requires. The amount of sludge and scum present in a septic tank is the most important element in determining how often it should be flushed. When your septic system functions, it does so by taking use of the natural force of gravity to break out the household wastewater into three distinct components:

  • Solids (sludge) accumulate at the bottom of the tank
  • Grease (scum) accumulates at the top of the tank
  • And watery mix (effluent) accumulates in the center of the tank.

When the system is operating normally, the sludge and scum remain in the septic tank while the watery mix drains out into the drain field. The sludge and scum in the septic tank, on the other hand, must be removed from time to time in order to keep things running well. Sludge levels that reach dangerous levels, and/or a scum layer that has developed to a significant thickness, will be driven out into the drain field together with the watery effluent, resulting in a clogging of the drain field.

It is possible that forcing particles and oil down the drain field can clog the subterranean system of perforated pipes, resulting in sluggish drains and even wastewater backups into your home. This can result in the growth of harmful germs in your house, as well as the need for a costly repair.

Most homeowners pumping more often than necessary are overspending!

Essentially, by pumping your septic tank too frequently, there is not enough sludge and scum buildup in the tank to ensure that you earn the optimum return on your investment in the costs of pumping your tank. Paying for the service more frequently than you need to is a waste of money that provides no additional benefits, just like paying for any other periodic maintenance. The fact is that your septic system does require a certain number of beneficial bacteria to function properly. Septic tanks employ anaerobic digestion, which is similar to the digestive system of humans, to naturally break down waste before it is sent on to the next phase of treatment.

Yeast is a type of bacterium that enters your tank each time an organic waste material is flushed down the toilet, and it breaks down the waste material into sludge and effluent.

It is really beneficial to leave your septic tank alone unless the quantities of sludge and scum in your tank exceed specified criteria; otherwise, it is detrimental.

So, how will you knowhow often you should pump your septic tank?

As you can see, the sludge and scum levels in your septic tank are the two most important criteria in determining your plan of maintenance. You should have your septic tank pumped when the sludge level reaches one foot at the bottom of the tank, or when the scum layer at the top of the tank has grown to almost six inches in thickness at the top. Contrary to common assumption, the majority of homes do not require yearly pumping. It is purely dependent on the level of your tank, and not on a fixed time frame.

How to Find Out if Your Septic Tank is Full

To begin, find and gently remove the septic tank lid from its mounting bracket. Use extra caution to ensure that the heavy lid does not crack or shatter, and never leave the tank open while you are not watching it! If a person or a pet falls into the tank, which has 4-5 feet of water beneath, it may be quite deadly. In the following stage, you will examine the scum trap at the very top of the tank to see how thick the scum layer is. You should pump your septic tank when the scum level has reached 6 inches thick, as a general rule of thumb.

  • While it is possible to acquire a specialized sludge level measurement stick, it is also possible to create your own at yourself.
  • The velcro end will be the one that will be inserted into the aquarium.
  • Then, holding the measuring stick straight up, verify the velcro strip for accuracy.
  • The septic tank should be pumped after it has accumulated one foot (12 inches) of sludge, as recommended by the manufacturer.

Grant’s Septic Techs, in contrast to many other septic service companies, will actually use photographic documentation to show you exactly where your waste levels are, as well as to assist you in tracking the amount of time it takes for your scum and sludge levels to build up to the appropriate levels.

  • If you do not require septic pumping services, there is no reason to pay for them.
  • For the low price of $127, we will come to your home and do all of the necessary measurements for you.
  • We’ll take actual images of your systems to document their current state and create a personalized proposal for your unique timetable.
  • In fact, if we discover that your septic tank levels require pumping at the time of inspection, we will not charge you for the measurement service.
  • In order to maintain the health of your septic system and get on the bestseptic tank pumping maintenance plan for your house, please contact Grant Septic Technologies at (508) 529-6255 or book a septic tank pumping appointment conveniently online.

Check to see whether your town is included in our Massachusetts service region by entering your address here.

How to Inspect Your Septic Tank – Septic Maxx

If you give your septic system the attention and care it deserves, it will survive a long time. It will endure for many years if you pump as regularly as you need to for the size of your tank, utilize it properly, and do not let anything that shouldn’t be in it to enter. Steel septic tanks corrode with time, generally after 15-20 years of service in most climates. Concrete septic tanks have a lifespan ranging from 40 years to nearly indefinitely. If you want to see your septic system live to a ripe old age and not have to worry about replacing it, it is in your best interests to do periodic septic maintenance.

Gather Materials

It is necessary to have the correct equipment in order to assess the state of your septic tank and determine whether it is necessary to have it pumped out. Aside from wearing loose-fitting clothes and rubber gloves and shoes, you’ll need a specific gadget known as a Sludge Judge to quantify the quantities of scum and sludge that are present in your tank. This instrument is basically a transparent plastic pipe that has been marked at one-foot intervals and divided into three pieces, each of which is five feet in length.

Sludge, effluent, and scum are the three types of waste that accumulate in a septic tank.

Scum is formed when fats, oils, cooking grease, and other lighter trash float to the surface of the water.

To check your tank, you must first assess how much sludge and scum is present within in order to evaluate whether or not it needs to be pumped.

Inspect the Area Around Your Septic Tank

Checking the ground around your septic tank is a good idea before opening the lid and pumping out the sewage. Check to see if there is any accumulation of effluent around the tank, and look over the septic tank lid to check whether it is in good shape.

Remove the Manhole Cover

Many septic systems these days are equipped with ” risers,” which make this task much easier by elevating the lids above earth. If you are unable to locate the lid of your septic tank, locate the tank and dig it up. There should be two lids, one for each compartment, in the box. In the majority of situations, the hole on the left corresponds to the first compartment, while the hole on the right corresponds to the second. In the first one, you simply need to take measurements, and that’s all.

Measure the Scum’s Thickness (SC)

To determine how thick the scum layer is in your tank, you’ll need to go for your trusty scum measuring stick, of course. Measure the distance between the stick and the opening of the septic tank, and then lower the stick until it lies on top of the scum layer and indicate the location of this intersection. As a further step, descend down through the whole scum layer with the elbow end leading directly into the scum layer. Rotate the stick 90 degrees and raise the stick as high as you can until you feel the bottom of the scum layer.

Mark the spot on the scum stick where it comes into contact with the bottom of the scum layer. Take the distance between the two markers and multiply it by two. This is the measurement of the thickness of the scum layer (SC).

Measure the Sludge’s Thickness (SL)

Make a hole in the scum layer with your handy sludge measuring stick and carefully lower the stick through it after tying two feet of a white cloth to the stick. Mark the point on the stick where it comes into contact with the aperture of the manhole or riser. After that, drop it to the very bottom of the tank and keep it there for 5 minutes to allow the sludge to adhere to the cloth towel. Measure the distance between the tanks or the operating depth of the tank. Remove the stick and use the rag to measure the height of the black stain that should be visible on it.

Following the completion of these measures, you will be able to calculate when it is necessary to pump your septic tank.

  1. SC plus SL equals inches
  2. WD inches divided by 3 equals inches
  3. If the sum of A and B equals the sum of A and B, pump your tank.

It is recommended that you engage a professional to examine your tank in order to get an accurate reading; but, if you are comfortable doing it yourself, you may save money by using this approach. Besides saving you money, Septic Maxx may also save you money by reducing the amount of accumulation in your tank and so extending the intervals between pumping.

How to Care for Your Septic System

It is recommended that you engage a professional to examine your tank in order to get an accurate reading; but, if you are comfortable doing it yourself, you may save money by using this technique. It is also possible to save money by reducing the amount of accumulation in your tank and extending the intervals between pumping sessions with the help of Septic Maxx.

  • It is recommended that you contact a professional to examine your tank in order to get an accurate reading
  • But, if you are comfortable doing it yourself, this technique can save you money. Septic Maxx can also save you money by reducing the amount of accumulation in your tank and allowing you to extend the time between pumping sessions.
See also:  Septic Tank Over Flowin With Wwaer What Does That Mean? (Solved)

Inspect and Pump Frequently

Inspection of the ordinary residential septic system should be performed by a septic service specialist at least once every three years. Household septic tanks are normally pumped every three to five years, depending on how often they are used. Alternative systems that use electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components should be examined more frequently, typically once a year, to ensure that they are in proper working order. Because alternative systems contain mechanical components, it is essential to have a service contract.

  • The size of the household
  • The total amount of wastewater produced
  • The amount of solids present in wastewater
  • The size of the septic tank

Service provider coming? Here is what you need to know.

When you contact a septic service provider, he or she will inspect your septic tank for leaks as well as the scum and sludge layers that have built up over time. Maintain detailed records of any maintenance work conducted on your septic system. Because of the T-shaped outlet on the side of your tank, sludge and scum will not be able to escape from the tank and travel to the drainfield region. A pumping is required when the bottom of the scum layer or the top of the sludge layer is within six inches of the bottom of the outlet, or if the top of the sludge layer is within 12 inches of the bottom of the outlet.

In the service report for your system, the service provider should mention the completion of repairs as well as the condition of the tank.

If additional repairs are recommended, contact a repair professional as soon as possible. An online septic finder from the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) makes it simple to identify service specialists in your region.

Use Water Efficiently

In a normal single-family house, the average indoor water consumption is about 70 gallons per person, per day, on average. A single leaking or running toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water each day, depending on the situation. The septic system is responsible for disposing of all of the water that a residence sends down its pipes. The more water that is conserved in a household, the less water that enters the sewage system. A septic system that is operated efficiently will operate more efficiently and will have a lower chance of failure.

  • Toilets with a high level of efficiency. The usage of toilets accounts for 25 to 30% of total home water use. Many older homes have toilets with reservoirs that hold 3.5 to 5 gallons of water, but contemporary, high-efficiency toilets consume 1.6 gallons or less of water for each flush. Changing out your old toilets for high-efficiency versions is a simple approach to lessen the amount of household water that gets into your septic system. Aerators for faucets and high-efficiency showerheads are also available. Reduce water use and the volume of water entering your septic system by using faucet aerators, high-efficiency showerheads, and shower flow restriction devices. Machines for washing clothes. Water and energy are wasted when little loads of laundry are washed on the large-load cycle of your washing machine. By selecting the appropriate load size, you may limit the amount of water wasted. If you are unable to specify a load size, only complete loads of washing should be performed. Washing machine use should be spread throughout the week if at all possible. Doing all of your household laundry in one day may appear to be a time-saving strategy
  • Nevertheless, it can cause damage to your septic system by denying your septic tank adequate time to handle waste and may even cause your drainfield to overflow. Machines that have earned theENERGY STARlabel consume 35 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than ordinary ones, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Other Energy Star appliances can save you a lot of money on your energy and water bills.

Properly Dispose of Waste

Everything that goes down your drains, whether it’s flushed down the toilet, ground up in the trash disposal, or poured down the sink, shower, or bath, ends up in your septic system, which is where it belongs. What you flush down the toilet has an impact on how effectively your septic system functions.

Toilets aren’t trash cans!

Your septic system is not a garbage disposal system. A simple rule of thumb is to never flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Never flush a toilet:

  • Cooking grease or oil
  • Wipes that are not flushable, such as baby wipes or other wet wipes
  • Photographic solutions
  • Feminine hygiene items Condoms
  • Medical supplies such as dental floss and disposable diapers, cigarette butts and coffee grounds, cat litter and paper towels, pharmaceuticals, and household chemicals such as gasoline and oil, insecticides, antifreeze, and paint or paint thinners

Toilet Paper Needs to Be Flushed! Check out this video, which demonstrates why the only item you should flush down your toilet are toilet paper rolls.

Think at the sink!

Toilet Paper Must Be Flushed! To understand why the only item you should flush down your toilet is toilet paper, watch this video.

  • If you have a clogged drain, avoid using chemical drain openers. To prevent this from happening, use hot water or a drain snake
  • Never dump cooking oil or grease down the sink or toilet. It is never a good idea to flush oil-based paints, solvents, or huge quantities of harmful cleansers down the toilet. Even latex paint waste should be kept to a bare minimum. Disposal of rubbish should be avoided or limited to a minimum. Fats, grease, and particles will be considerably reduced in your septic tank, reducing the likelihood of your drainfield being clogged.

Own a recreational vehicle (RV), boat or mobile home?

If you have ever spent any time in an RV or boat, you are undoubtedly familiar with the issue of aromas emanating from sewage holding tanks.

  • The National Small Flows Clearinghouse’s Septic System Care hotline, which may be reached toll-free at 800-624-8301, has a factsheet on safe wastewater disposal for RV, boat, and mobile home owners and operators.

Maintain Your Drainfield

It is critical that you maintain the integrity of your drainfield, which is a component of your septic system that filters impurities from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank once it has been installed. Here are some things you should do to keep it in good condition:

  • Parking: Do not park or drive on your drainfield at any time. Plan your tree plantings so that their roots do not grow into your drainfield or septic system. An experienced septic service provider can recommend the appropriate distance for your septic tank and surrounding landscaping, based on your specific situation. Locating Your Drainfield: Keep any roof drains, sump pumps, and other rainfall drainage systems away from the drainfield area. Excess water causes the wastewater treatment process to slow down or halt completely.

How Often Should A Septic Tank Be Pumped?

Rural residents frequently inquire as to how frequently they should have their septic tanks drained. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide them with a number or formula because everything is dependent. The frequency with which the tank must be pumped will be determined by the size of the tank and the amount of solids that are dumped into it. Tanks with greater capacity will require fewer pumpings in less time than tanks of lesser capacity. More significantly, if the amount of solids entering the system is kept to a minimum, the tank will have a longer interval between pumpings.

  • Scum is formed at the top of the tank as a result of lighter material floating to the surface.
  • When sludge and scum accumulate in the tank, the effective tank volume decreases.
  • Furthermore, sediments might be transported to the drainfield, leading it to get clogged.
  • Have the tank pumped by a Nebraska pumper who is licensed and insured.
  • Under Title 124, rules set out by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) limit the maximum amount of waste that can accumulate before pumping is necessary.
  • If you have any questions, please contact us.
  • As a result of gathering this information, your qualified professional will be better able to identify whether or not the level of sludge and scum in your tank has reached the point where pumping is necessary.
  • How many years have elapsed since the first pumping took place?
  • If the amount of wastewater generated varies, repeat the operation or alter the pumping frequency.

You may take steps to reduce the amount of sediments that enter your tank. First and foremost, avoid using a waste disposal or use it only rarely. According to studies, when a waste disposal is utilized, tanks must be pumped twice as often as when they are not. Other suggestions are as follows:

  • Cigarettes, diapers, feminine hygiene items, paper towels, face tissue, and “wipes” should not be flushed down the toilet. They may not decompose completely and will lead to the formation of scum or sludge layers. Dispose of these goods in the same manner as other solid garbage. Grease and oils should not be flushed down the toilet. Grease and oils from cooking, frying, and applying skin creams contribute to the formation of a scum layer in the septic system. Instead of powdered detergents, liquid detergents should be used. Powdered detergents include “fillers,” which contribute to the formation of the sludge layer. Make use of toilet tissue that decomposes quickly. To perform the test, place a tissue sample in a jar of water, cover the jar opening with a cloth, and shake vigorously. When the jar is shaken, the toilet paper should come apart in a short period of time. Filter the washing machine’s water output pipe to catch lint and prevent it from getting into the machine. Clean in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • An effluent filter at the septic tank outflow can assist in preventing particles from entering the drainfield. Have it cleaned in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations

How to Measure Septic Tank Sludge Depth

What is the best way to determine when to pump your septic tank? In a previous piece, you learned that the only way to know for certain when to pump your septic tank is to take an actual measurement of the amount of accumulated sludge and scum in the tank. It is designed such that the septic tank should be pumped when the combined sludge and scum layer displaces 30% of the tank’s total volume. Using the above example, if the liquid depth of the tank is 48″, the tank should be pumped when the combined thickness of the sludge and scum layer measures 14 12″ (48″ X 0.30).

An example of this would be a long hollow plastic tube with a check valve at the bottom of it.

  • The scum layer should be pushed through until it is almost broken through by the sludge judge. Mark on the tube in a visibly obvious manner the link between the top of the scum layer and the spot on it. Pulling the tube up and measuring the length of the tube are two options. In many cases, you may see part of the scum layer adhered to the tube to help you locate it
  • This is normal.

The following are the measurements for the sludge layer:

  • Slowly lower the tube into the septic tank until it comes into contact with the tank’s bottom
  • And With each gradual pull of the gadget out of the water, the check valve shuts, allowing a liquid/solid profile of the septic tank water to be captured. It is possible to determine the thickness of the sludge layer

Continue to slowly lower the tube until it comes into contact with the tank’s floor; With each gradual pull of the gadget out of the water, the check valve shuts, taking a profile of the septic tank water’s liquid/solid ratio. It is possible to determine the thickness of the sludge layer.

How Often Should a Septic Tank Be Pumped?

It’s a subject that comes up time and time again: how frequently should a septic tank be pumped? In my role as co-owner of Western SepticExcavation, a firm that pumps sewage tanks, I and my partners get asked this question on a weekly basis. The short answer is that no one is sure. I’m curious how we, as professionals tasked with the important responsibility of safely disposing of wastewater from rural houses and businesses, came to learn about this intriguing piece of information. Please bear with me as I explain.

Starting with a simple question that many individuals are unable to answer, let’s go on.

Why do I need to pump my septic tank?

Old-school thinkers frequently assert that a septic tank does not require pumping if it is operating properly. Ever. Providing that we also infer that very few, if any, septic tanks function “properly,” we may make the assumption that this is valid. While theoretically conceivable, achieving this degree of septic nirvana in real life is very hard to achieve. To avoid the hassle of going around in circles, it is much simpler to accept the overwhelming facts and come to the conclusion that septic tanks must be pumped on a regular basis in order to extend the life of the system.

  • As a result, it must be preserved.
  • Second, it serves to store substances that have not been digested in order to be removed later by pumping.
  • This is due to the fact that solids degrade at different rates in different environments.
  • Fats, oils, and greases float on top of the liquid in the tank, forming a layer of solids known as scum, which is lighter than water and hence floats on top of the liquid.
  • Without a doubt, when you utter the word “septic sludge,” everyone’s mind immediately goes to the ickiest of the ickies, but trust me when I say there’s a lot more to it than that.
  • How does this play out in the event that I fail to pump out my septic tank?
  • As a result, the tank’s practical holding capacity is reduced by a factor of several hundred percent.
See also:  What Does The Average Septic Tank Hold? (Perfect answer)

In a two-pronged attack on your drain field, this reduces the amount of time the bacteria have to digest particles while simultaneously decreasing the amount of time the undigested solids have to divide into their respective layers.

Once at the wastewater treatment plant, these sediments settle out of the wastewater, blocking pipes and forming a thick layer of sludge, known as a biomat, which decreases the capacity of the water to seep into the ground.

Yet another typical problem that arises as a result of inadequate septic pumping is that the floating scum layer becomes too thick and actually obstructs the line that leads to the septic tank, creating an obstruction that results in sewer backup into the residence.

Is it clear enough?

Usually, within a week of pumping, the tank will be completely filled with liquid waste.

Our concern is with the solids that have settled to the bottom and have risen to the surface of the water column.

If a pumper ever states that the tank is “full,” he is most likely referring to a solids accumulation that necessitates the need to pump the tank as soon as possible. Now that we’ve covered the reasons for why I need to pump my septic tank, let’s move on to the next step.

How often do you recommend I pump my septic tank?

The guidelines of the Health District are always the first thing I point people to when they ask me a question like this. Their recommendations, which are supported by the Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency, are to use one of two ways to decide when and how often to pump a septic tank. According to the first technique, the thickness of the scum and sludge layers must be measured, and a pump must be placed in the tank when the volume of solids in the tank surpasses around 25 percent to 35 percent of the total volume of the tank.

  • If a sample tool is not available, there are other options for measuring scum and sludge, including the use of a handmade instrument.
  • However, even when done with adequate equipment, septic tank sampling is an imprecise science that can lead to incorrect conclusions.
  • However, in practice, this is not the case.
  • There is a broad range of precision in the sample used to determine the volume of solids, depending on where it is collected (for example, at the inlet, center, or outflow end of the tank), and this accuracy will vary depending on where it is taken.
  • Many of these older tanks, as well as some current tanks, have the primary access lid located in the center of the tank or even at the outlet end of the tank, which is a common practice.
  • The scum layer will occasionally be quite thick at the input end of the tank and nearly non-existent at the output end, depending on the conditions.
  • The collection of scum around the entrance will become a problem long before the amount of settled solids exceeds the acceptable volume of 25 percent to 35 percent, which would necessitate the pumping of the tank under those circumstances.

In order to identify when to pump my septic tank, the second way that has been advocated is to set up a regular plan for pumping that is based on calendar years.

Even this advice, on the other hand, is highly subjective.

People’s behaviors differ significantly from one household to the next.

Cooking oils enter the septic system through dishwashing and bodily wastes, and they contaminate the water supply.

Septic tank bacterial populations have been shown to be negatively affected by the fragrances and colors contained inside these items.

A gourmand who adores baking frequently mistakenly flushes a large amount of oil down the toilet.

Every batch of chocolate chip cookies was baked in a pan that had been greased with shortening before being placed in the oven.

Germs and viruses are a source of great anxiety for some individuals.

Chemicals such as antibacterial agents and disinfectants are toxic to the bacteria in the septic system.

Residents who use recreational drugs have been known to cause damage to septic systems in rare instances.

As a result, some homes will produce solid waste at a significantly higher pace than others, while having the same number of people and living in an apparently identical environment.

Then there’s the issue of water use. In contrast, a struggling family of six may be sharing a small home that should only handle three or four people, but a moderately rich elderly grandma may live alone in a huge home with a septic system that is meant to accommodate six people. It is unlikely that a family of the same size with very young children will consume nearly as much water as a family of the same size whose children are teens in high school, involved in sports, and who wash two or three times each day.

  • Because of the numerous variables that might effect a septic system, it is practically hard to get a definitive conclusion on how frequently I should pump my septic tank, as seen above.
  • I’ll use myself as an illustration.
  • Even though I had finally made up my mind to pump it, I had no idea what the solids buildup would look like until I actually opened the top.
  • We’ve encountered septic tanks that had accumulated a significant amount of particles only a few months after being pumped, and on another occasion, I pumped a tank for an old gentleman who hadn’t had his tank pumped in more than 15 years.
  • There were hardly no solids in it at all, which was surprising.
  • In order to identify when to pump my septic tank, the second way that has been advocated is to set up a regular plan for pumping that is based on calendar years.
  • Even this advice, on the other hand, is highly subjective.

People’s behaviors differ significantly from one household to the next.

Cooking oils enter the septic system through dishwashing and bodily wastes, and they contaminate the water supply.

Septic tank bacterial populations have been shown to be negatively affected by the fragrances and colors contained inside these items.

A gourmand who adores baking frequently mistakenly flushes a large amount of oil down the toilet.

Every batch of chocolate chip cookies was baked in a pan that had been greased with shortening before being placed in the oven.

Germs and viruses are a source of great anxiety for some individuals.

Chemicals such as antibacterial agents and disinfectants are toxic to the bacteria in the septic system.

Residents who use recreational drugs have been known to cause damage to septic systems in rare instances.

As a result, some homes will produce solid waste at a significantly higher pace than others, while having the same number of people and living in an apparently identical environment.

Is there a way to find out how often I should pump my septic tank?

The guidelines of the Health District are always the first thing I point people to when they ask me a question about them. As recommended by the Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one of two approaches should be used in determining when and how often to pump out your septic tank. According to the first technique, the thickness of the scum and sludge layers must be measured, and a pump must be placed in the tank when the volume of solids in the tank surpasses roughly 25 percent to 35 percent of the total volume of the tank, respectively.

  • It is possible to quantify scum and sludge using a handmade device if a sample gear is not readily available.
  • However, even when done with adequate equipment, septic tank sampling is a flawed science.
  • In most tanks, the inflow end of the tank is where sludge and scum tend to collect at a much higher pace.
  • The inlet end of some newer septic tanks has a big access cover that makes it easy to get into the tank, while many older septic tanks have no access at all at the inlet end.
  • It will not be possible to get a good image of the solids buildup at the intake end of the tank if the solids levels are only measured at these places.
  • It has been previously said that a thick layer of scum around the inlet might accumulate to the point where it blocks the inlet and produces a sewage backup in the house.
  • It would be in the best interest of the property owner to have the tank pumped at that time in order to remove the overly thick scum layer and avoid the likelihood of a blockage that would result in an unpleasant sewage backup in the future.

Environmental health professionals believe that, as a general rule of thumb, a homeowner should pump his or her septic tank every 3-5 years for a household of four.

Individuality distinguishes each and every home.

Foods cooked in oil are consumed in large quantities by several cultures.

In lieu of regular Kleenex, some people choose to use scented Kleenex.

In the course of doing laundry and cleaning the house, a conscientious housekeeper will use more detergent than the ordinary person.

How?

It was then necessary to wash that pan.

These individuals frequently insist on the usage of antibacterial hand soaps and incorporate a large number of disinfectants into their cleaning routine.

To make matters even more complicated, some powerful prescription medications, such as chemotherapy treatments, can enter the system through bodily wastes and cause damage to the ecology that exists within the septic tank and drain field.

All of these factors, as well as a slew of others, contribute to the buildup of solids in the tank in one of two ways: either by directly disposing of fats, oils, and greases, as well as other solids, into the system, or by hurting the bacteria that are charged with digesting these materials.

So even with the same number of people and a seemingly similar lifestyle, some families will create solid waste at a significantly higher pace than others.

Next, we have water consumption to consider. In contrast, a poor family of six may be sharing a small home that should only handle three or four people, but a moderately rich elderly grandma may live alone in a huge home with a septic system that is built to house six people. An average-sized family with very young children will use less water than a family of the same size whose children are teens in high school, involved in sports, and who wash two or three times a day. Money may have an impact on water use as well: owners of huge “trophy homes” might install six shower sprays in their bathroom, but homeowners from the middle class would often be satisfied with a single shower head.

  1. Our best assumption is that the solids will accumulate at a very rapid rate.
  2. It wasn’t even clear to me how often I should pump my septic tank as a septic professional.
  3. The good news is that my septic tank seemed to be in good functioning order and was not overflowing with solids, but the reality is that I didn’t realize it until I lifted the lid.
  4. The fact that his tank was in such good condition may have been mistook for a brand new one.
  5. His situation, on the other hand, was an exception, and no one who is knowledgeable about septic systems would advocate waiting so long to have your system serviced and maintained.
  6. Environmental health professionals believe that, as a general rule of thumb, a homeowner should pump his or her septic tank every 3-5 years for a household of four.
  7. Individuality distinguishes each and every home.

Foods cooked in oil are consumed in large quantities by several cultures.

In lieu of regular Kleenex, some people choose to use scented Kleenex.

In the course of doing laundry and cleaning the house, a conscientious housekeeper will use more detergent than the ordinary person.

How?

It was then necessary to wash that pan.

These individuals frequently insist on the usage of antibacterial hand soaps and incorporate a large number of disinfectants into their cleaning routine.

To make matters even more complicated, some powerful prescription medications, such as chemotherapy treatments, can enter the system through bodily wastes and cause damage to the ecology that exists within the septic tank and drain field.

All of these factors, as well as a slew of others, contribute to the buildup of solids in the tank in one of two ways: either by directly disposing of fats, oils, and greases, as well as other solids, into the system, or by hurting the bacteria that are charged with digesting these materials.

Besides removing solids, is there any other reason to pump my septic tank?

Yes, pumping your septic tank gives you the opportunity to check the various components of the tank that would otherwise be difficult to view without the pump. Baffles at the inlet and outflow of the drainfield, which are critical components in protecting the drainfield, can occasionally fail. Lids occasionally deteriorate as a result of the gases created by the system. A deteriorated lid may crumble and fall into the tank, which might be fatal if a kid or pet happened to be wandering through the location at the time of the collapse and fall.

This enables for tiny repairs to be performed that might avert a catastrophe later on.

I like to use the analogy of changing the oil in my automobile to explain things.

Additionally, if I pump my septic tank on a regular basis, my drainfield will endure for many years, provided that I don’t develop behaviors that overload the system or cause it to malfunction biochemically.

Similarly, if I ignore septic maintenance until sewage begins to back up into my home, I have very certainly ruined my drainfield and significantly reduced the life of the system.

Western SepticExcavation may be reached at (208) 539-4207 or via email to make a septic tank pumping appointment.

With permission, this post was prepared by Kendall Unruh, Owner of Western Septic and Excavation, and is being shared with you.

Western Septic’s official website may be seen by clicking here.

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