Cleaning a Septic Tank

  1. Natural Cleaning

    • A tank normally keeps itself clean. Our bodies have natural bacteria that will break down waste over time. This bacteria ends up in the tank and breaks it down. This system works well unless substances get into the tank that kill the bacteria. Such things as bleach, oils and lotions, antibacterial soaps, or even medicines can wipe out the system. If this happens, the solid waste will build up and a sludge can form on the surface of the water in the tank. To help combat this, bacteria can be bought to add to the tank, so the it can be cleaned naturally. It comes in a pouch that dissolves in water and makes it into the tank by way of the toilet simply by flushing it.

    Manual Cleaning

    • To clean a septic tank, the tank must be pumped out with a pump truck. The truck will drive as close to the tank location as possible and a hose from the truck will extend the rest of the way. In some cases an access point was created when the tank was installed. If not the location will be found on a property map and the access will have to be dug up. Once located, the hose is dropped into the tank and the contents are sucked up to the container on the truck. This should be done every five to ten years to insure a properly running septic tank.

    After Cleaning

    • Once the tank is pumped out, it is sometimes hosed out as well to knock down any debris that might be stuck. This is also pumped out of the tank. The filter is also removed and cleaned. The filter keeps solid waste from transferring to the second tank where water is filtered out into the lower ground level. The filter slides out and can be hosed off easily. If damaged, it should be replaced. Once clean the tank is susceptible to a build up of sludge due to the lack of water and bacteria. To help jump start the tank back to the natural cleaning process, it is good to add some prepackaged bacteria into the tank after about a week. This gives the tank time to build up a water supply. Bacteria without water will not flourish.

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