There is a misconception that the only time you need to pump out a septic tank is when that tank is full.
The fact is, under normal circumstances, the septic tank is always at capacity, right up to the bottom of the outlet pipe resting near the top of the tank. Once it has been completely pumped out, an empty tank can refill under normal usage in a few days. This means it is again discharging liquid effluent to absorption fields, leach fields and soakaway beds.
In a typical septic system, you can find waste water, or “blackwater.” This is a combination of watery sewage effluent, or a floating scum layer at the top of the tank and sludge that’s settled in the bottom.
Pump outs are needed as floating scum and settled thickness will occupy the vast majority of the tank volume, giving free liquid less room and the “net free area” becomes so small that EFFLUENT RETENTION TIME – the time waste water is too short to allow for floating scum and solids to separate from effluent – is discharged to the drain field.
Requirements for Homeowners
Type 1 Systems
Bylaws mandate Type 1 system owners have septic tanks pumped at least once every five years. This time period is intended as a maximum time frame. Depending on usage, size of tank and conditions in the home, some systems may need more frequent pumping. Owners should keep receipts as proof of service.
Type 2 and 3 Systems
Homeowners with type 2 or 3 systems – often package treatment plants – are expected to maintain systems according to maintenance plans. This process is to be managed by an authorized person or entity at least once in a 12 month period. McRae’s Septic is an authorized business for maintaining your septic maintenance schedule. Owners will be presented with a Certificate of Maintenance and should see that the certificate is sent on. As proof of service, owners should keep a copy of the certificate.
Removal of septic waste is critical, extending the life of the septic field. For the purpose of prevention, septic systems should be inspected regularly. This way problems and failures can be diagnosed and addressed. Inspections will also reveal if the septic tank is being pumped at a sufficient frequency.
Most households fall into a three to five year range for septic pumping frequency. Regular pumping and cleaning of the septic tank is the best preventative maintenance you can do and well worth the investment. If it is time for your septic tank pump out give us a call. We service all Greater Vancouver, Sea to Sky and the Fraser Valley.