Septic Tank Cleaning
Who cleans septic tanks? What is Involved?
     


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Septic tank cleaning or pumping: homeowner information. This document explains the process of cleaning a septic tank, including pumping, inspection, and possible repairs. This information is for homeowners and discusses the septic tank pumping procedure so that the reader knows what to expect from the septic tank pumping contractor, what to watch out for,and what to ask during the septic tank pumping process.

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An Owner's Guide to Cleaning out Septic Tanks, Who Does It? Why? How often? What is Involved?

PHOTO of the septic tank muck raking tool used to break up scum
and sludge layers during pumping.Septic tank pump and haul contractors can clean your tank. It is a good idea to supervise cleaning to assure that it is done properly. To extract all the material from the tank, the scum layer must be broken up and the sludge layer mixed with the liquid portion of the tank.

This is usually done by alternately pumping liquid from the tank and re-injecting it into the bottom of the tank. The septic tank should be pumped through the large central manhole, not the baffle inspection ports. Pumping a tank through the baffle inspection ports can damage the baffles, resulting in a destroyed leach field.

To facilitate future cleaning and inspection, if you don't already have inspection and cleaning access ports, install risers from the manhole and inspection ports to the surface.

Be sure that the septic tank cover(s) and access port covers are in good condition and completely safe. A bad septic tank, drywell, or cesspool cover can cause a collapse and can be fatal to someone walking in that area. Before burying the tank also measure from a fixed landmark and mark the location of the tank, so it can be easily identified.

The thickness of the floating scum layer and settled sludge layer in a septic tank are the keys to determining if a tank actually needs to be pumped.

How to measure the floating scum layer and sludge layer in a septic tank are discussed in SEPTIC TANK PUMPING PROCEDURE see MEASURE SCUM & SLUDGE

First we need to discuss the importance of septic inspection and pumping safety and also effluent retention time of effluent in septic tanks and the concept of septic tank net free area left in the tank after accounting for the thickness of the sludge and scum layers.

Readers should also see WHEN to CLEAN THE SEPTIC TANK. Homeowners should also reviewSEPTIC TANK SAFETY.

If you can't find your septic tank see SEPTIC TANK, HOW TO FIND - tips on locating septic tanks for inspection and septic tank pumping. Use of this information at other websites, in books or pamphlets for sale is reserved to the author. Technical review by industry experts has been performed and is ongoing - reviewers are listed at "References."

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Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman

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