On average, a septic tank needs to be cleaned every three to five years. On tanks with access ports this is a very straightforward and simple process. For tanks with no access port this task can become a bit more challenging.
Things You'll Need
- Digging tools
- Pipe joint
- Pipe joint cement
Locate the septic tank. The tank should be approximately 10 feet from the foundation of your home. The drain pipes leading out from your home should give you a good indication of the tank's general location.
Dig down to the septic tank. In most cases the tank is no more then two to three feet below the surface. Once you reach the tank, locate the access hatch on the top of the tank.
Clear away enough dirt to allow you to remove the access hatch. The hatch may be quite heavy so have help available when removing it. Once the hatch is removed, insert the pumping hose into the tank to remove the sludge.
If the tank either does not have an access hatch, or the hatch cannot be removed, dig at one end of the tank to reveal either the inlet or outlet pipe (preferably the inlet pipe). Using a hacksaw, carefully cut out a small section of the pipe. Once the pipe is removed you will have enough space to access the interior of the tank for cleaning.
Once the tank is empty, either replace the access hatch or repair the pipe. Using two pipe couplers, replace the removed section of pipe. Be sure to clean the pipe before applying the pipe cement. Once this is done you can back-fill the hole.
Tips & Warnings
- If you must cut into the pipe you may want to take the opportunity to install a Tee junction and access port to make cleaning the tank much easier in the future.
- Do not allow anyone to enter the empty or partially empty septic tank. The fumes inside can cause rapid suffocation.
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