Why You Need to Regularly Clean Your Septic Tank

Published On: January 5, 202111 Comments on Why You Need to Regularly Clean Your Septic TankTags: , Last Updated: February 9, 20245.2 min read

A septic tank is an underground sedimentation structure used for wastewater treatment through organic decomposition and sewerage. It uses natural process and tried-and-tested technology to treat used water from household plumbing produced by the kitchen sink, bathroom, and laundry. Usually, a septic tank has a simple design that can be made of plastic, fiberglass, or concrete. It absorbs organic objects and segregates solids and floatable objects such as oils and grease. Soil-based structures release the liquid waste or effluent from the septic tank into a series of perforated drain pipes submerged in septic drain fields, chambers, or other units designed to gradually discharge the effluent into the soil.

Why You Need to Regularly Clean Your Septic Tank

The importance of having the septic tank inspected at least once a year is often overlooked. The sludge layer which is composed of solid materials and accumulated in the bottom should be eliminated regularly. On the other hand, the scum layer buildup also occurs, which can cause clogging. Therefore, it has to be checked every year.

Benefits of Regular Septic Tank Cleaning

Just like a car, the septic tank has its wear and tear also. Similarly, your home-ownership pieces like dryer vents and gutters should be properly maintained.  Most people may not realize the benefits of regular tank cleaning. Depending on the number of household members and the size of the tank, cleaning may happen every one to three years. It can also show some signs that recommend maintenance is necessary. Be mindful of foul odors from toilets and sinks and drains that are running slow. These are signs of a clog in your system or sludge and scum buildup.

Regular Cleaning Eliminates Health Risks

If your septic system is not cleaned and properly maintained, it can cause severe problems. Common issues are stinky drains and mushy lawns.  Household wastewater contains viruses and bacteria that can cause diseases. Phosphorous, nitrogen, coliform bacteria, ammonium nitrogen are common pathogens found in a septic tank and drain field. Once these toxic elements are disposed of in the system, they can diffuse in the drain field, wells, and groundwater. Thus, these pollutants can pose health threats to the household members and neighbors. Human illnesses associated with these contaminants may include cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery, gastroenteritis, and hepatitis. Aside from human health, pets, domestic livestock, and wildlife are also at risk. This is why septic tanks should be cleaned, pumped, and properly maintained.



Septic System Becomes Efficient and Effectively Treats the Wastewater

The purpose of the septic tank is to treat wastewater that flows out of every household. Over time, sludge and scum layers inside the tank grow faster than draining. The tank should be cleaned and maintained regularly to remove the sludge and scum buildup. Regular cleaning avoids sewer line blockage, enhances drain field filtration, and makes septic systems operate at optimal performance. Otherwise, the system won’t be able to treat the wastewater that runs through it.

Regular Cleaning and Inspection Protects Water quality

Any failure or defect in a wastewater system can make the groundwater susceptible to bacterial infection or contamination. Rivers, lakes, wetlands, and other surface waters are also prone to contamination. In an article published by Michigan University about Safe Food and Water, some rivers in the Lower Peninsula were tested positive for the presence of a human fecal substance. Experts theorized that the leaks in the septic system caused the contamination. For that matter, septic tanks require regular cleaning and maintenance.

Why You Need to Regularly Clean Your Septic Tank - cleaning

Avoids Costly Repairs

Experts at septictank.com claim that all septic services like cleaning and pumping depend on two factors: the size of the tank and the number of household members. Given that periodic cleaning is done, the regular maintenance fees range from $200 to $500. However, replacing a malfunctioning system or repair is relatively expensive. It ranges from $3000 to $7000 depending on the factors mentioned earlier. If the drain field is damaged, the chances of having it repaired are very slim. Often the drain field is replaced. Regular cleaning saves money.

Removes Excess Buildup Within the Tank

Solid materials are culprits for clogged tanks. If the tank is functioning well, solids are retained and accumulated. Eventually, they must be removed. Regular cleaning allows solid materials to break down that prohibit potentially harmful substances to pass through the drain field. Once the holding capacity of the tank decreases, the solids will reach the pipes and cause clogging.

Increases Property Value

When the septic tank is clogged or overloaded, the untreated wastewater can penetrate your lawn and premises. It does not only pose serious health issues but also affects the value of your property. If you are planning to sell your property, a potential buyer is also interested in knowing how the septic system is maintained. A properly functioning septic tank is an extra feature that buyers will consider in making an offer. So, if you want to increase your property value make sure that your system is well taken care of and in good condition. Similarly, a deteriorating tank implies lower property value.

Protects the Environment

When septic systems are not properly functional, the chemicals, bacteria, and viruses they discharge can contaminate the surface waters. Hence, rivers, lakes, streams, and other bodies of water are directly affected, killing all living organisms. Consequently, human beings as part of the ecosystem are also at risk. It creates a domino effect!

There are so many ways of taking care of our septic tanks. However, the most recommended ones are periodic cleaning, proper maintenance, and inspection. Doing so provides several benefits for both the household members and the community. That includes preventing health illnesses, protecting the ecosystem, increasing the value of your property, among others. Regular cleaning can also save you from spending a hefty amount on repairs.  We, as primary users, have a major role in keeping the septic system clean and safe. Let’s make proper disposal of the rubbish. Tissue, diapers, sanitary napkins, and other inappropriate items should not be flushed in the toilet. We have to avoid using harsh chemicals such as bleach, fabric softener, and anything that contains hydrochloric and sulfuric acid as they can devastate the sewage-disposal tank. It’s better to be safe than sorry!


Share This Tip With Your Friends!

About the Author: Handyman tips team

The Handyman Tips Team is a group of authors that provides tips on the Handyman Tips website. The Handyman Tips team consists of real handymen, contractors, carpenters, woodworkers, and experts in home repairs, appliance repairs, and landscaping. The team is always there for visitors to the Handyman Tips website. If you can't find the answer to your question on the Handyman Tips website, one of them will reply to you almost immediately if you contact them through the Ask the Handyman page!

Leave A Comment

  1. Mats Wolff March 3, 2022 at 5:20 am

    Its helpful when you said that regular maintenance fees range from $200 to $500. My septic tank has been smelling recently so I know that something is wrong and I want to fix it as soon as possible! Thanks for the information on septic tank maintenance and I hope that I can get a good service for my house soon.

  2. Vivian Black December 22, 2021 at 6:28 pm

    I did not know how important septic tank cleaning was. It is good to know that without cleaning, the waste can get into lawns and whatever else is around your home. This really sounds like a health issue. We have lived our entire lives in the city. Now, with our new home purchase, we are dealing with a septic tank. I’m sure keeping it clean saves money in the long run

  3. Ava Murphy September 28, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    It caught my attention when you said that regular cleaning and maintenance of septic tanks are needed since any failure or defect in a wastewater system can make the groundwater susceptible to bacterial infection. This is something that I will consider because I am planning to hire a professional that could install a septic tank for our home. I definitely want to keep it in a good condition for a long time to keep my family safe, so I will be sure to remember your tips.

  4. Kia Netherland September 22, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    It caught my attention when you said that the groundwater could be susceptible to bacterial infection or contamination. With this in mind, I will be sure to have our septic tank repaired as soon as possible. Since the other day, our house has been filled with foul odors similar to a rotten egg. We don’t want the problem to put my family’s safety at risk.

  5. Michaela Hemsley September 21, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    Thanks for pointing out the benefits of regularly getting your septic tank cleaned. It’s good to know that it can help eliminate health risks. I will have to look into having my tank pumped soon to help keep everything clean.

  6. Shammy Peterson August 26, 2021 at 5:02 am

    You got my attention when you said that household water contains viruses and bacteria that can cause diseases, so it is important to have your septic tank cleaned. With this in mind, I will make sure to have our septic tank serviced as soon as possible in order to protect my family’s health. We have been experiencing clogs and water has been backing up since Monday afternoon due to our septic tank that has never been serviced.

  7. Dana Hue August 11, 2021 at 6:25 am

    You got my attention when you said that a septic system that is cleaned and properly maintained can cause stinky drains and mushy lawns. As you said, wastewater contains viruses that could cause diseases. With this in mind, I will be sure to have our septic system cleaned as soon as possible. It has been 4 years since we had it installed, and it has never been serviced. It is important for me to make sure that the slow draining of water that we occasionally experience is going to be resolved as soon as possible.

  8. Ceiclle c August 6, 2021 at 9:16 am

    It caught my attention when you said that the signs of a clog in your system or sludge are foul odors from toilets and sinks and drains that are running slow. With this in mind, I will hire a professional that can have our septic tank checked and cleaned. It has been 4 years since it was installed, and it has never been serviced. We don’t want the clog problems to get worse.

  9. Ella Starr June 16, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    How interesting that you talk about how a septic tank not being clean can contaminate the water. My husband and I just moved into an older home and we want to make sure the septic tank is okay. We will find a good local septic tank cleaning company in our area.

  10. Rebecca Gardner March 30, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    I’m glad you pointed out that septic cleaning protects the environment. My aunt and uncle mentioned they want to live more “green.” I’ll let them know they should hire a septic tank cleaning service soon.

  11. Charlotte Fleet March 18, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    I am glad that you mentioned the importance of getting your septic tank cleaned to remove the buildup of harmful substances and clogging. My parents installed a septic tank on their property last year and want to make sure it is properly taken care of. I will be sure to recommend that they find a reputable septic pumping service to protect their property and themselves.

Related Posts