What happens if you never pump your septic tank?
If your property or business is located in an isolated or rural area, chances are that you are not connected to a centralised sewer system. If this is the case, then you’ll find a septic tank system to be the most cost-efficient and green solution to the wastewater that’s generated in your kitchen, lavatory, and laundry areas.
Septic tanks use ingenious, yet simple technology to process and disperse your wastewater naturally.
Essentially, they are simple tanks made out of concrete or fiberglass that allow naturally occurring bacteria to breakdown biodegradable material inside the tank, and then gradually flush it away deep into a soil drainage field. Mother Earth will then take it from there and the leftover fluids and odours are safely reabsorbed back into the surrounding area.
Why Do Septic Tanks Need Pumping?
Over time inside the tank, the wastewater will separate out into three components: scum, sludge, and effluent.
Scum is composed of oils that accumulate on the surface of the liquid. Sludge is made of denser materials that start to settle on the bottom. In between the two is wastewater known as effluent.
While effluent gets flushed out and dispersed into the earth, sludge, in particular, will build up over time and need to be cleaned from your septic tank.
A tank that has accumulated build-up inside will lose its effectiveness at breaking down the material. The longer you leave it, the worse and more expensive the problem can become down the road.
How Often Do They Need It?
It’s recommended that septic tanks get a good inspection every year, and then a thorough cleaning out every three to five years.
When exactly it needs to be pumped depends on many factors, including the size of your household, the size of your tank, and how contentiously the home’s inhabitants took care to not dump damaging oils, chemicals, and other non-biodegradable materials down the drain.
So again, regular visual inspections are the best way to determine if your tank needs a proper pumping out.
Can It Be Done at Home or Does It Require a Professional?
Although you might fancy yourself a hardcore DIY enthusiast who’s good at fixing all sorts of projects around the home learned from YouTube videos, pumping septic tanks should not be one of your hobbies.
For one, the leftover solids in your tank are both extremely hazardous and difficult to remove without the proper safety equipment.
Secondly, even if you could pump it all out of your system, you would still need to store this foul smelling material and then safely transport it off of your property and over to a municipal treatment plant. It’s doubtful your local council is going to be very happy with you.
Do yourself a favour, and hire a professional with the proper tank truck and hoses that can clean out your septic system and haul it off your property to be safely disposed of.
What Happens If You’re Behind on Getting It Done?
This is OK, as long as it’s not been too big a gap between your last cleaning. If you and your family have not been washing cooking grease, kitchen towels, and solvents down the drain, your septic tank may still be in good working order.
But just because a septic system is working well today doesn’t mean it won’t cause a problem tomorrow. The entire system is buried beneath the ground, so unless you can see what’s really going on inside, there’s no proper way to know if it needs pumping or not.
For reasons we’ll get into below, the consequences for not cleaning out a backed-up tank can be financially disastrous. Much like going to the dentist regularly, it’s wise to have a specialist come to your home and do a visual inspection of your tank.
What If It Never Gets Done at All?
If the septic system is not maintained periodically, the accumulated sludge will diminish your tank’s liquid holding capacity. The healthy bacterial balance inside and its ability to process all the runoff from your property, loses efficiency and sooner or later solids will start to make their way into the dispersal pipe and cause a blockage.
As you might imagine, this is when things can really go wrong. Homeowners with a blocked septic tank may start to notice many of the following problems:
- Wastewater backing up into the house itself
- Boggy patches over the drain field
- Drains in the house becoming slower
- The strong odour of sewage outside.
Even worse than the obviously hazardous presence of backed-up sewage in your home and the drainage field outside, is the cost of this clean up. The bill for properly draining and re-excavating a new leach field is massive, while the regular maintenance of your septic system is comparatively simple and inexpensive.
Although pumping septic tanks full of sludge is not the most pleasant of mental images for anyone, it’s far worse if it needs to be pumped out of your house itself. When performed regularly, it can save your property (and you) a tremendous amount of grief.
Why Choose OMDI?
At OMDI we’re specialists at pumping septic tanks. We have decades of experience in the installation, servicing, and maintenance of septic systems. Regular visits by our team of professionals will keep your septic tank functioning healthily, and make sure that you don’t end up with any unexpected costs down the road.
If you suspect that your septic tank is blocked or damaged in any way, we can quickly perform an inspection and ascertain whether repairs may be required.
Give us a ring. Our experts are on call to answer any questions you may have. We will be happy to discuss your septic tank needs in-depth, and provide a free, no-obligation quote.
Contact OMDI today.