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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
ALTERNATIVE & WATERLESS TOILETS
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
Part II of Septic tank pumpout SNAFUS: how to use objective data from septic tank sludge and scum levels + other details to decide when next to have the septic tank pumped out or cleaned.
This article series 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.
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The table of septic tank sizes and number of household occupants as a good rule of thumb guide to how often a septic tank should be cleaned out well for most people.
But because we wanted to give an objective, measurement-data based alternative to simple use of the septic tank cleanout frequency table above, here we explain how to use the actual scum and sludge thickness to decide that a septic tank needs to be cleaned more often or less often.
Complete details of this approach are found at MEASURE SCUM & SLUDGE.
Why You Should Have your Contractor Inspect the Septic Tank Before, During & After Pumping
For a better understanding of the condition of the septic system, when the septic tank is pumped, it should also be inspected by the pumper - in a series of steps
The answers to those more detailed septic tank condition inspection questions (and more listed at SEPTIC TANK INSPECTION PROCEDURE) give important information about the condition of the septic tank as well as the drainfield or soakaway bed, and can suggest repairs that can extend the life and safety of the system.
For the most objective approach to a very accurate septic tank pumping or cleanout frequency guide do this:
Either immediately if your septic tank is past due for cleaning, or at the next scheduled septic tank cleanout otherwise, ask the septic contractor to actually measure the thickness of the settled sludge and floating scum layer in the septic tank.
To understand just how these measurements are made, see our description of the whole process beginning at MEASURE SCUM & SLUDGE. That article series includes complete details such as:
Illustration courtesy Carson Dunlop Associates
Below at References we also describe an electronic septic tank monitor or grease trap monitor from Worldstone. These devices can track sludge, scum, or grease levels in order to best schedule septic tank pumping or grease trap cleaning. This product is suitable for commercial installations and possibly for some residential septic tank systems.
According to the company, "Data from monitors can help establish appropriate service intervals, and document maintenance for regulatory compliance. Alarm features can help detect abnormal conditions and prevent costly backups."The company also produces an oil tank level monitor.
Thanks to reader Robert Shirley for this tip.
These Factors Increase the Recommended Septic Tank Pumping Frequency
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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