Your septic system should be cleaned every 1 to 3 years. How often depends on the size of the tank and how many solids go into it. If you have a large family you will want to pump the septic tank more often to prevent problems. The U.S. Government Department of Health recommends septic cleaning every 2 to 3 years.
Yes, the waste collected in your septic system will build up over time. If left unpumped, they will clog the soil absorption area, leading to system failure. Routine maintenance of your system can also help to identify problems that would lead to unsanitary backups and costly repairs.
The importance of maintaining your septic system can be compared to the importance of maintaining your car's engine. The responsible automobile owner knows that the car's oil should be changed every few thousand miles. If you do not change your car's oil periodically, your car's engine will eventually fail. The same holds true for your septic system. Pumping your septic tank is the most important aspect of maintaining your septic system. Most septic systems should be pumped out every 2 or 3 years depending on the size of the tank and the number of people using the system. (In some cases when a large number of people are using a small tank, the tank needs to be pumped annually or semiannually.) If the septic tank is neglected, solid waste will escape from the septic tank into the drainage system. The solids will plug up the following: • the perforations in the leach lines • the gravel in the trenches • eventually, the soil itself. Once the drainage system is contaminated with solids, it will no longer be able to absorb the water from your house causing backups or leakage to the surface.
The septic tank system is a small, on-site sewage treatment and disposal system buried in the ground. The septic system has two essential parts: (1) the septic tank and (2) the soil absorption area. When household waste enters the septic tank the following occurs: • Organic solid material floats to the surface and forms a layer of what is commonly called “scum”. Bacteria in the septic tank biologically convert this material to liquid. • Inorganic or inert solid materials, those that are not biodegradable and will not decompose, and the by-products of bacterial digestion sink to the bottom of the tank and form a layer commonly known as “sludge”. • Only clear water should exist between the scum and sludge layers. It is this clear water, and only this clear water that should overflow into the soil absorption area. Solid material overflowing into the soil absorption area should be avoided at all costs. It is this solid overflow that clog soil pores and causes systems to fail.
To maintain your septic system, have your system cleaned regularly, do not overload it, use water sparingly, don’t flush chemicals or grease down the drain, and maintain the groundcover over the drain field.
A septic system will become unsatisfactory when the disposed waste liquid can longer be absorbed by the soil absorption field. This is normally caused by solids clogging the soil pores and causes systems to become unsatisfactory. Two main factors cause solid material to build up enough to overflow: (1) lack of septic pumping to remove sludge, and (2) bacterial deficiency.
The following commonly used home care products – even when used according to directions – and food byproducts can reduce the bacteria population required for the proper functioning of your septic tank. • Diapers, Wipes • Greases & Oils • Detergents • Disinfectants • Toilet cleaners • Bleaches • Acids • Polishes • Cleaning compounds • Sink & tub cleaners • Caustic drain openers • Paint, paint thinner • Male & female products • Toiletries – such as Q-tips, dental floss • Cigarettes The use of garbage disposals require more frequent septic system cleaning due to the added amount of solid waste that can overload the system. As a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it in your septic tank.
Unfortunately, there are not many early signs of a failing septic system. Typically, it is not until water is backing up that you know there is a serious problem. This is why regular, routine maintenance and septic cleaning is highly needed.
No. There is nothing that can avoid pumping. We recommend the use of bacterial additives that help promote the digestive processes inside the tank and prevent a bacterial deficiency that may lead to system problems. River Valley Septic offers a product for sale if interested.
We repair and install anything you need, from entire septic systems to specific parts. Your septic system is a big investment, protect your investment and get service you can trust by calling River Valley Septic.
Yes. River Valley Septic recommends all real estate transactions have a septic inspection. We also recommend the seller has a Pre-Listing Inspection to find and repair any issues before the buyers inspector finds them. Regan, owner and operator at River Valley Septic, is a Pennsylvania Septic Management Association (PSMA) licensed inspector and can help with any inspection needs.


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