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SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
SEPTIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS
SEPTIC D-BOX INSTALL REPAIR
SEPTIC DRAINFIELD FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SEPTIC DYE TEST PROCEDURE
SEPTIC FAILURE SIGNS
SEPTIC INSPECTION & TEST GUIDE
SEPTIC LIFE EXPECTANCY
SEPTIC SUPPLIES & PARTS
SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN ALTERNATIVES
SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN BASICS
SEPTIC SYSTEMS, HOME BUYERS GUIDE to
SEPTIC SYSTEM SAFETY WARNINGS
SEPTIC TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS
SEWAGE & SEPTIC CONTAMINANTS
SEWAGE BACKUP, WHAT TO DO
SEWAGE BACKUP TEST & CLEANUP
SEWAGE BACKUP PREVENTION
SEWAGE CONTAMINATION in buildings
SEWAGE CONTAMINANTS in FRUIT / VEGETABLES
SEWAGE EJECTOR / GRINDER PUMPS
SEWAGE LEVELS in SEPTIC TANKS
SEWAGE NITROGEN CONTAMINANTS
SEWAGE PATHOGENS in SEPTIC SLUDGE
SEWER GAS ODORS
SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
SMELL PATCH TEST to Track Down Odors
SOAKAWAY BED FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES
TOILETS, INSPECT, INSTALL, REPAIR
TOILET ALTERNATIVES, WATERLESS
TOILETS, DON'T FLUSH LIST
TRAPS on PLUMBING FIXTURES
TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS, SEPTIC
VIDEO GUIDES: Septic Videos
WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER SUPPLY & DRAIN PIPING
WATER, WELLS, WATER TANKS: TESTING GUIDE
WASHING MACHINES & SEPTIC SYSTEMS
WASTEWATER TREATMENT BASICS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Septic tank pumpout SNAFUS: this article describes common mistakes and misunderstandings about cleaning or pumping the septic tank. We explain why pumping too infrequently (or never) is a bad idea but we add that pumping more often than necessary is more or less tossing money down the toilet.
We also explain why a septic tank is normally always "full" and that after pumping the septic fills up pretty quickly in normal use. The article also describes effective vs. ineffective septic tank pumping and how you can improve the septic tank cleaning procedure so that pumping the tank is actually useful. Finally we note immediate & serious safety hazards that should be addressed when cleaning septic systems.
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Avoiding these Septic Pumping Mistakes Can Save Money & Reduce the Risk of Sewage Backups or Septic Tank Catastrophes
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Septic tank fantasy No. 1: we need to pump out the septic tank when the septic tank gets full
Septic tank fantasy No 2: additives and chemicals will fix or extend the life of the septic system
Septic tank fantasy No 3: some septic systems never need to be cleaned, pumped, serviced.
Septic tank fantasy No. 4: pumping out the septic tank can restore or save a failed or failing drainfield
Septic tank fantasy No. 5: all we need to do is pump the liquid out of the septic tank
What is our septic tank pumping contractor doing with that pole in his right hand while he manuipulates the pumper truck hose with his left?
Septic tank fantasy No. 6: it's possible to pump the septic tank through a small-diameter pipe or riser
Not easily, but it might be possible. In traditional septic tank cleaning operations the operator needs room to manipulate the septic pumper truck hose to remove the floating scum layer and settled sludge layer. Without manipulation space and room to stir sludge and scum with a hoe, rake or other tool, removal of solids is difficult and might be limited.
At left we show small-diameter septic tank riser that has been used for years to "pump out" the septic tank at this Minnesota home. I'm using this mini-septic-tank-riser to empty a small chemical toilet - which is OK as long as we respect the guidelines at RV HOLDING TANK DUMP INTO SEPTIC TANK?.
But how thoroughly do you think the septic tank pumper can clean the septic tank working through just this small-diameter opening to reach a tank located several feet below?
Septic tank fantasy No. 7: it's ok to discharge excess septic effluent from the septic tank to the surface, to a nearby drainage ditch, lake, stream, or to your neighbor's yard.
Septic tank fantasy No. 8: if the toilets flush and drains drain the septic tank is working
Our photo at left shows heavy algae growth along the shore of a waterway abutting an older home whose septic system was installed in the 1970's.
No sewage effluent appears at the surface of the property, toilets flush (though slowly and badly) and drains drain (though sometimes slowly). There are no sewage odors at the property. Even a septic loading and dye test may fail to show a system failure at this home.
Septic tank fantasy No. 9: ok so we know the septic system is old and at end of life. It's ok to keep using it, right?
Septic tank fantasy No. 10: nobody ever actually fell into a septic tank
Continue reading at SEPTIC TANK OBJECTIVE DATA for more about alternatives to using the septic tank pumping schedule table.
If you don't know where the septic tank is located, see SEPTIC TANK, HOW TO FIND.
At TANK INSPECTION PROCEDURE we describe how to inspect the septic tank before, during, and after tank cleaning operations.
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