Does my septic tank need to be pumped? - Fuelly Forums

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Old 10-28-2009, 07:51 AM   #1
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Question Does my septic tank need to be pumped?

I bought my house 4 1/2 years ago. The previous owner was fastidious, obsessive-compulsive (neighbors confirm it) about everything and probably maintained it excessively. Me, not so much.

Last year my septic tank overflowed, incredibly yucky and the emergency pumping was expensive. The guy who came to pump it didn't do a full system inspection by sticking any kind of scope into the distribution pipes (or whatever they're called) but from looking into the tank he said it didn't look like I did any permanent damage.

Now I'm paranoid. I want to avoid ever having it overflow again, and I want to avoid solids getting into the pipes and messing the system up.

How can I tell if it needs to be pumped? I pulled off the big round cover and the smaller rectangle one and I have no idea what I'm looking at besides some incredibly yucky stuff.

I took some photos but I'll spare you having to see them. If you really want to help and don't mind looking at them, they're at:
http://picasaweb.google.com/ronanian...ankNeedPumping
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:13 AM   #2
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Don't put anything down the drain that didn't go through you first is the standard Boaters line for boat holding tanks. Dispose of the not so dirty Tissue Paper in a waste paper basket instead of flushing it. No garbage disposal in the kitchen right? Check out some Rid-ex or a big brick of brewers yeast.

From a google search re Rid-ex:
"It isn't harmful but it does nothing. What really works is not putting junk down into your septic system. Don't pour grease and oil down your sink. I've seen people pour bacon grease down their drains and then wonder why they have problems with their septic. Keeping food and especially any type of fat from killing off the good flora living in your tank is one of the best things you can do. Other things to think about is being careful what toilet cleaners or any kind of harsh cleaners you use and send down the drain. Think of your septic tank as a compost pile that you would use on your veggie garden. And then get it pumped every few years. We had our tank staying very happy for 30 years with only 2 pumpings because we kept it happy and healthy."
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:07 PM   #3
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Here's a good site that describes checking the scum level (how full it is): http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/...ct_septic.html
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:57 PM   #4
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That does not look like something I want to do. Well, I may have to do it anyway.

I did stick a tree branch in the second compartment but I guess I have to check the first compartment.
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:16 PM   #5
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Make sure your toilet paper is "septic safe". It usually says on the package. Not all TP is "septic safe".
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:34 PM   #6
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I've had septic systems almost my entire life. I was raised to not put grease or oil down the drain. We never had a garbage disposal, because code didn't allow for disposals to be installed with septic systems, and mom was really adamant about using any harsh chemicals, especially bleach. These are to be used sparingly, and only as a last resort. My parents initially only had their systems pumped once every 10 years, but now they have it done every 5 years because of a new county regulation that requires septic tanks be pumped every 5 years. Mom also pours 1/4 cup brown sugar, with a package of yeast in the toilet, lets it sit for a few minutes to activate the yeast, then flushes it to do its work in the tank.
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Old 10-28-2009, 09:31 PM   #7
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Hmmm...the house I lived in from the time I was 12 until I was 23 had a septic tank...we never had it pumped in that time, and my mother lived until I was 37, and she never had it pumped, IIRC. I don't think it was a problem until after my sister inherited the house, then she hooked up to the sewer. We did have the occasional backup, poured down some sort of "stuff" that helped the microbes that lived down there...problem usually went away after that.
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:00 PM   #8
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Concentrated Sulfuric acid is also used to eat through certain "organic" materials like HAIR to keep the pipes clear. Yeast and some sugar to activate it is a good idea but Rid-ex is also micro organisms that "eat" the stuff including the tissue paper according to the commercials they run on it.

My Mom used to spill a lot of coffee grinds down the drain and when added to the fat from bacon and beef it really blocked up the pipes.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:24 AM   #9
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Yellow Lightening is a sulfuric acid drain cleaner. The acid won't dissolve fats though.
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