Pumping A Septic Tank Out

By Todd Fratzel on Maintanence, Plumbing

Pumping Septic Tanks Out

Warning: Nasty Photos below!

Septic Pumping TruckToday we had our septic system tank pumped out. The other day I wrote an article about when you should pump a septic tank out. After three years in our new home today was the day to finally get the septic tank pumped out and inspected.

Septic tanks must be pumped out occasionally in order to remove the sludge, grease and scum that the tanks separates from the sewage before it enters the drainfield. In addition to pumping out the solid waste the septic filter can be cleaned and the tank inspected for any signs of failure.

Septic Tank Input RiserAs you can see in the first picture, a large tank truck is used to pump out the tank and transport the sewage to an approved sewage treatment facility where it is disposed of properly. The truck in the photo is capable of pumping out almost 4,000 gallons of sewage at once. In our case the septic tank holds 1,500 gallons which was no problem for the truck.

Septic tanks have several access hatches located on the top of the tanks that allow them to be pumped out and maintained. In the following two pictures you can see the sewer pipe from the house that enters the first portion of the baffled tank and the output sewer pipe that leads to the drainfield along with it’s filter.

Septic Tank Output RiserThe covers at both ends of the tank are removed in order to pump the sewage and sludge out of the tank and it allows the inspector to clean the filter. Once the covers are removed, a long hose is set down into the tank and the pump truck sucks out all the sewage and solids like sludge.

In the last photo you can see the green filter that’s located on the outlet pipe. The filter is the last line of defense against solids and grease from entering the drainfield. The inspector removes it and washes it clean before re-installing it.

Results of Inspection

It’s been just over 3 years since our septic system went online. Today the inspector was able to determine that we should continue to pump the tank on a 3 year basis. It was definitely interesting to see the amount of grease that had built up in the tank. It was a good reminder to be VERY careful how much grease we put down the drain as grease can cause early failure in septic drainfields.

Cost of Pumping A Septic Tank

Our septic tank is 1,500 gallons in size. Today it cost $472.50 to have the tank pumped out and the filter cleaned. The cost of this is dependent on the number of gallons because the septic pumping company pays by the gallon to dispose of it. So for our area we paid about $0.32 per gallon to have it pumped and disposed of.

Pumping your septic tank out every three years is MUCH cheaper than replacing a drainfield. The average septic drainfield costs between $8,000 and $12,000 to construction. Do the math…pumping is WAY cheaper!

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today's Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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