In general, a septic tank should be inspected and pumped every 1 – 3 years. The frequency of pumping the septic tank depends on the tank size, number of people in the household, habits of water use as well as the amount of solids accumulated in the tank. Some alternative systems that are more complex may require more frequent inspection or pumping. If you are unsure, ask your local septic system professional. A septic tank effluent filter may also require frequent maintenance and should be included in the inspection and maintenance activities. It is important to save your system’s yearly schedule or maintenance records
If you have not pumped your septic tank in several years, but do not seem to be having any problems, it may mean one of several things:
The owner of the system (i.e., the homeowner, property owner, homeowner’s association, or other responsible management entity) is responsible for the overall operation, maintenance, and upkeep of the system, including repairs or replacement. The system users (i.e., occupants, tenants) are responsible for the proper use of the system, such as what materials go down the drain, how much water is used, etc.
Regular maintenance is the best method to prevent a septic system failure. The frequency for pumping the septic tank depends on the tank size, number of people in the household, the water habits and use, if a garbage disposal is used, and the amount of solids accumulated in the tank. A rule of thumb is to pump the tank when the solids are two-thirds of the volume in the tank. Routine maintenance is the responsibility of the home or property owner. If you rent a home, you have responsibility for the proper use and operation of the system.
There may be several reasons for the smell, which can occur inside or outside your home. If you notice an odor, it may be coming from a roof vent or other vent pipe that allows the system pressure to equalize. This is a normal part of your system. Sometimes these vents can become obstructed and clogged (from leaves, debris, etc.) or the vent pipe can freeze during prolonged cold spells. These situations could cause an odor inside or outside of your home. Another possibility is a down draft (changes to wind pattern) or other location-specific conditions, which can create an odor inside or outside your home. In these cases, the vent may need to be cleaned or raised. There are charcoal filters available for roof vents that may also alleviate the odors. If your drainfield is not working properly, that could be another reason you smell an odor inside your home or around the septic system.
Yes. Using an in-sink garbage disposal unit can impact how often you need to pump your septic tank. Food waste usually is slowly digested by the healthy bacteria in your septic tank and can accumulate as scum and sludge. If a large amount of water enters the septic tank or the tank fills up with solids, it can push the solids into the drainfield, causing the pipes to clog and increasing the thickness of the biomat (a bacteria layer that forms on the bottom and sides of the drainfield trenches). If you must use a garbage disposal unit, your tank will need to be pumped more frequently.
Only flush human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Never flush these items down the toilet because they could clog your septic system and cause a failure: