What Is A Septic Tank And Why Do I Need It Pumped?
Unlike a municipal sewage system where wastewater gets flushed into a central location then gets managed and treated, septic tanks are house-by-house systems that are buried underground within your property boundaries. All wastewater escaping your home, including that which comes from showers, toilets, sinks, and washing machines are sent to your septic tank where it becomes naturally divided into three distinct layers.
As the wastewater enters the tank, the heavier, more dense solids sink to the bottom and create one of the three layers called sludge. This is the heaviest of the layers and causes the most buildup. The second layer in the tank is liquids, which is less dense than the sludge and where about 80% of the contents in the tank will be located. Most of the content in the liquid layer will escape through the other end called the drainfield where it will ultimately be released into the soil where naturally occurring bacteria consume the coliform bacteria found in fecal matter. The last layer of the tank is where the least dense matter accumulates, this is the oils an fats which create a layer of scum. Naturally occurring bacteria in the septic tank decompose the waste with time,however, there are other variables that come into play.
Why Pump Your Septic Tank?
Your septic tank is like all the other appliances in your house, including those in your garage like your car, lawn mower and snow blower - the more attention you give it, the longer it will last and the more efficient at doing it's job it will be. As the sludge layer in your septic tank accumulates, the less room it leaves for liquids. This causes more solids to escape through the ridgefield which causes buildup and ultimately clogs up the escape routes to the soil. When this occurs, you find yourself with a very soppy, stinky lawn that costs much more in cleanup and repair than it would have cost you in a routine maintenance pump.