Maintenance Steps For An Outdoor Septic Tank

It can be easy for a homeowner to neglect maintaining their septic tank. In fact, some people will say that they have never had to pump their tank. However, this is not proof that all is well with the tank and a fault may be imminent. It is better to get into a routine of checking the tank periodically, since this puts you in a position where any potential issues with the tank itself can be intercepted and corrected before they become a major issue. This article looks at some simple checks to make to ensure that your septic tank is in good health.

Accurate Record Keeping

An excellent idea is to keep a record of the dates and times you have carried out inspections. You can add in information, such as the level of the sludge, so that you can make comparisons between inspections. This alerts you to any changes in the tank's level and can allow you to take prompt, corrective action. This will undoubtedly save you time and money in the long run.

Check The Level In The Tank

In a healthy septic tank, there are three distinct layers. These are:

  • The top layer is called the scum layer. This is made up of floatable materials, such as oils, grease and fat.
  • The middle layer that is made up of liquids that are void of floatables.
  • The bottom layer is known as the sludge layer. This consists of liquids that are heavier than the water and also includes any partially broken down material.

If a tank is neglected, it is entirely possible that the sludge level will rise so that it covers and even clogs the tank's outlet to the draining field. This is not good, as in many cases, an expensive fix or replacement is the only real cure. If, during one of your inspections, you find that the sludge level is slowly rising, hire or purchase a submersible pump (if you do not already own one) to clean out the tank and reduce the sludge level. Aside from tanks that are poorly installed, this is the next major cause of failure in septic tanks.

General Checks

It is important that you check the overall condition of the tank, including the lid and the interior. If your tank has risers instead of a heavy manhole cover, check that it is in a good condition. Check that the sealant (usually an expoxy) is not damaged either. Finally, use a flashlight to inspect the visible parts of the tank's interior. Any obvious damage or cracks should be inspected further.

Although some guidelines advise that for an unabused septic tank, pumping should be carried out every eight to ten years, checking and keeping your own records will allow you to pump the tank when necessary. So keep these tips in mind and be sure to contact professional cleaning services, like from Able Liquid Waste Pty Ltd.


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