How Often Do Septic Tank Need Pumping For Vacation Home?

Traditional wisdom says that a septic tank being used regularly by a family of four should be pumped every three years or so. If you’re using your septic tank less frequently, you can likely get away with a longer time span between pumping.

  • For the same size tank with a household of six, the tank might require pumping after just two years. If the septic system is used infrequently, such as in vacation homes, it generally needs pumping less frequently. If a garbage disposal is used or other solids are introduced to the septic system, more frequent pumping is required.

How long can a septic tank go without being pumped?

You can wait up to 10 years to drain your tank provided that you live alone and do not use the septic system often. You may feel like you can pump your septic tank waste less frequently to save money, but it’ll be difficult for you to know if the tank is working properly.

How often does a 1000 gallon holding tank need to be pumped?

For a household of 4 with a 1,000-gallon tank, it’s advised that it be pumped every 2.6 years, but for a 1,500-gallon tank, the time can be extended to 4.2 years and up to 5 years for a 2,000-gallon tank. The size of the house will figure out the size of the septic tank.

How often does a 2000 gallon holding tank need to be pumped?

How often does my holding tank need to be pumped? A holding tank may need to be pumped every 30 to 90 days depending on how much waste is generated and the size of the tank.

What are the signs that your septic tank is full?

Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:

  • Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
  • Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
  • Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
  • You Hear Gurgling Water.
  • You Have A Sewage Backup.
  • How often should you empty your septic tank?

What happens if you never pump your septic tank?

What Are the Consequences of Not Pumping Your Tank? If the tank is not pumped, the solids will build up in the tank and the holding capacity of the tank will be diminished. Eventually, the solids will reach the pipe that feeds into the drain field, causing a clog. Waste water backing up into the house.

Can you pump a septic tank too often?

If your septic tank is pumped too often, that bacteria will have no place to go but out into the drain field, which can lead to clogs and failures. So unless your septic tank’s sludge and scum levels reach certain thresholds, it’s actually beneficial to leave the septic tank alone.

How often do you have to empty a septic holding tank?

Experts recommend pumping a septic tank every 2 to 3 years depending on factors such as the size of your household or building. However, holding tanks are temporary storage units, and owners should pump the tank far more frequently than a septic tank.

How often does a 2500 gallon holding tank need to be pumped?

A 2,500-gallon tank used by the same size family will need a pump every 5.9 years, while a 500-gallon tank’s pumping frequency may be as short as 7 months.

How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?

How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.

How do you maintain a septic holding tank?

Do’s and Don’ts when maintaining your septic system

  1. Regularly inspect and maintain your septic system.
  2. Pump your septic tank as needed.
  3. Keep your septic tank lids closed and secured.
  4. Be water-wise.
  5. Direct water from land and roof drains away from the drainfield.
  6. Landscape with love.
  7. Keep septic tank lids easily accessible.

How often does a 500 gallon holding tank need to be pumped?

But here are some general guidelines: Family of 2, 500-gallon tank – pump every 2.5 years. Family of 3, 1000-gallon tank – pump every 4 years. Family of 5, 1000-gallon tank – pump every 2 years. Family of 5, 1500-gallon tank – pump every 3.5 years.

How often should a 300 gallon septic tank be pumped?

Your septic tank should be pumped and inspected every two to three years.

What to do after septic is pumped?

After you have had your septic tank pumped by a trusted septic company, there are some things you can and should do as the septic system owner.

  1. 1) Get on a Schedule.
  2. 2) Take Care of the System.
  3. 3) Know the Parts of Your System.
  4. 4) Check Other Possible Issues.

What is the most common cause of septic system failure?

Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.

How do I clean my septic tank naturally?

You can mix about a 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar and 2 tablespoons lemon to make your own natural cleaning agent. The baking soda will fizz up to help get the dirt and grime in your tub and drains. It’s a great cleaner and your septic system will thank you!

How often should I pump my septic tank?

How to detect whether your septic tank is full or nearly full. So why is it that septic pumping firms are never able to provide you a straightforward response to such a seemingly straightforward question? This is due to the fact that explaining it over the phone is really tough! The process of actually determining the level of your septic tank necessitates the use of specialized gear and the possibility of getting a bit dirty, which is why we never advocate that homeowners do their own investigation.

Is it necessary to get your tank pumped on a regular basis?

The greater the number of people that live in the house, the more regularly your tank should be emptied.

A septic tank can normally contain 1000-2000 gallons of water at a time, which implies that most families would “full” the septic tank within a few weeks of installing it.

  1. Basically, after the glass of water has reached its “fullness,” the water must be disposed of in some manner.
  2. This is referred to as the “typical operating level” in our industry.
  3. The amount of Total Suspended Solids in a septic tank is what determines whether or not it is “full” (TSS).
  4. Over time, those particles will break down, and some will float to the surface of the water above the other solids, forming a suspended suspension.
  5. This might be a challenge for your STA since you want to use only the purest water possible in your leach field, which can be problematic.
  6. Because there is always water above the solids in a septic tank, it might be difficult to assess exactly how full your tank is at any given time.
  7. Although John Todd Companies possesses these instruments, there is a more convenient alternative to sending someone to your home on a regular basis to assess whether your septic tank is ready.

So, how long should you go without having your septic system pumped?

There will be a distinct response for every house, and the answer may alter based on what stage of life you’re now in.

In most cases, estimating how much water your given family consumes is a matter of educated speculation.

It is recommended that you pump your septic tank once every 2-4 years, as a general rule of thumb.

The technician should be able to tell you whether or not you need to decrease or extend the duration between each septic tank pumping after your tank has been pumped once or twice after the first or second pumping.

Every two years or every four years, for example?

If you have just two to three persons that come to your house on a regular basis, we recommend that you have your septic tank emptied every four years because the consumption will be minimal.

Homeowners with three to four people should have their homes pumped every three years, and those who have more than four people should have their homes pumped every two years (or more frequently as needed).

This can cause significant wear on your leach field since it results in a significant increase in the quantity of water utilized, and wastewater does not receive as much pre-treatment time before entering the STA as it would otherwise.

Aside from that, if your property is a rental property, your guests will not be familiar with how to properly operate and maintain a septic system.

If you have an RV dump station at your residence (which is not suggested), it is preferable to have your tank pumped on a more frequent basis.

Other factors that influence how frequently you should pump include: Social gatherings that are large or regular (parties, weddings, etc.) Guests staying for an extended period of time Vacation residences (which don’t require as much pumping as a permanent residence because you won’t be residing there) and rental properties o Ski rental establishments are well-known for attracting big numbers of visitors during the winter season (sometimes 10-12 people in a 3 bedroom home).

If this is the case, you should keep track of the number of guests that stay at your rental property and recognize that many of them are unlikely to be familiar with the “do’s and don’ts” of operating a septic system.

RV Dumping Stations are available (on your property) Summary In summation, when the water level in a septic tank reaches the top, it is not considered ” full.” This is referred to as the “typical operating level.” Solids begin to build up at the bottom of the tank, and while this is difficult to identify without the necessary instruments, there are a few ways to knowing whether your septic tank is ready for pumping.

Septic systems on normal residential properties are pumped every 2-4 years, according to the Colorado Health Department, which requires a septic pumping every 4 years at the very least.

The more harmful substances you flush down the toilet, the more frequently you should have your toilets pumped.

– Also check “How a Septic System Works” for more information.

Check read the other articles in this section to have a better understanding of how to safeguard one of the most significant investments you will make in your home: your septic system! Jesse Todd is an American actor and singer who is best known for his role in the film Jesse Todd’s Life in Pieces.

Tips For Season Vacation Cabin Septic System Maintenance – How Big is Your Septic Tank?

You should be familiar with septic system maintenance if you own a seasonal vacation cottage and want to keep it in good working order. Season cabin septic systems, in contrast to a residential home’s septic system, which is constantly subjected to flowing wastewater, are subjected to months of no water at all. It is possible that a lack of moisture will result in major difficulties and perhaps a total breakdown of the system if it is not adequately maintained before it is left fallow for the winter months.

  • Despite the fact that your cabin’s septic system is buried underground, it is not immune to damage caused by prolonged periods of sub-zero temperatures on the surface during the winter months.
  • The following are the best insulating materials: Prepare the drain field and leach field areas by layering a foot-thick layer of vegetative material on top of them.
  • It is recommended that you cease cutting grass that is growing on top of the leach lines and leach field areas before the end of the summer so that the grass may continue to grow during the autumn to produce the insulating layer.
  • Tip: Make sure that all of the septic system’s access points are covered.
  • For example, there are the following: It’s possible that one of these entry points can freeze and fracture throughout winter, allowing cold air to seep into the septic system and causing it to freeze up.
  • Tip: Have your septic tank pumped out every two to three years.
  • The process of pumping it out on a yearly basis is impractical and too expensive, but it should be done every couple of years.
  • Companies such as Linn Septic Service can provide you with further information.

When to Pump and Clean your Septic Tank

Our disclaimer states that we are not professional plumbers or septic system specialists in any way. Using this article as a starting point, vacation rental property owners may better grasp the need of maintaining and pumping their septic tanks – and pumping them more frequently than is required for a permanent residence.

If your property DOES contain a septic system, we strongly recommend that you get it assessed, inspected, pumped, and maintained by a qualified and professional septic tank firm.

How Often Do You Need To Pump Out Your Septic Tank?

Let’s be honest: holiday visitors are probably not the most conscientious about what they put down the kitchen/bathroom sink drains or what they flush down the toilet when they arrive. In reality, most of what is flushed down the toilet may actually harm the delicate septic “eco-system,” inhibiting the regular and natural breakdown of solids, which is necessary for waste to be safely discharged into the septic leach field. Be even more honest: many rental houses are configured to “sleep” far more people than they were originally built to accommodate, however the septic tank and system were not improved to accommodate the additional people and their load!

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The failure of solids to decompose causes the septic tank to overfill – and eventually overflow into the surrounding area.

AND, if you allow the problem to persist, rather than just pumping the tank, you will very certainly be forced to replace both the tank and the leach field.

You should be aware of the size and number of gallons in your septic tank, as well as when your septic system was last cleaned and pumped.

Common Septic Tank Pumping Frequency Mistakes

Collapse to pump the septic tank on a regular basis might result in a premature drainfield failure and the need for costly repairs. Pumping or cleaning the septic tank on a regular basis may seem like a waste of money, but it is a lot less money than the cost of a new tank and drainfield in most cases. Septic pumping contractors generally recommend pumping your tank at least once per year, but this is just for a full-time dwelling, not a short-term vacation rental property, according to the EPA.

  • Let’s make things as basic as possible.
  • This should be done twice a year, first in May and then again in November.
  • I’d want to make a point concerning “septic additives.” It is common to see advertisements for items that you may pour down your drains or flush down your toilet in order to lengthen the life of your septic system and break down sediments.
  • However, please keep in mind that these items are intended for home use only and are not very useful in short-term vacation rental situations.

Because of this, it is not recommended that such items be relied upon for the solution of septic and tank problems unless specifically prescribed by a certified plumber or a septic contractor. Interested in learning more? Please complete this form before contacting us at 865-505-0210.

How Often Do You Really Need To Pump Your Septic Tank?

This is a question that comes to the minds of the vast majority of individuals who do not reside in urban areas on a regular basis. In most cities, there are typically communal waste disposal systems in place, and as a result, most homeowners don’t have to worry about how their wastewater is disposed of at all. There is a need to be more aggressive regarding sewage disposal in the case of other residences that are not situated inside the city limits or that are not linked to the community sewage system.

  • One of the most common reasons for septic tanks to need to be emptied on a regular basis is overload, and just because there hasn’t been a severe problem doesn’t imply that one should ignore the responsibility of keeping it in correct working order for the time being.
  • These substances either disintegrate very slowly or do not decompose at all, depending on their composition.
  • Fats, oils, and greases are examples of liquids that float on top of the scum, which is lighter than water and flows on top of them.
  • If these materials are not removed, they will block the field lines, resulting in the need to replace the entire system.
  • While it is possible to waste a significant amount of money by pumping the septic tank too frequently, this is not always the case.
  • A lot of individuals frequently inquire as to how they would tell if their septic tank is full; however, the truth is that a septic tank is never empty.
  • This is quite normal; the main source of worry is the particles that have settled to the bottom of the septic tank and the liquids that have floated to the top of the tank.
  • Although it is generally recommended to pump a septic tank once every two or three years, it is also vital to consider aspects such as: the size of the septic tank and the number of people who reside in the house full time before making this decision.

The expense of maintaining your septic system is far less than the amount of money you will wind up spending if you damage your drain field too soon. Posts from the recent past

How to Know When to Pump Your Septic Tank

Maintaining your septic system properly helps to extend the life of your system and reduce the likelihood of costly repairs or partial system replacement. Pumping out solids from the septic tank is the most common element of septic system maintenance, and it is also the most straightforward. As the waste water from your house travels through the septic system, it goes into the tank, where the sediments fall to the bottom. Microorganisms try their best to break down the substances to a certain extent, but there is still an accumulation of waste.

Estimated Frequency of Pumping

It is possible to determine how frequently you will need to pump your tank based on the tank volume and the number of people living in your home. In the case of a single user and a tank capacity of 1,000 gallons, the projected pumping frequency is once every 12 years, according to the manufacturer. It is possible that the tank will require pumping after only two years if the tank is the same size and the home has six people. It is often less frequent to pump a septic system if it is only used occasionally, such as in vacation homes or rental properties.

Signs of a Full Septic Tank

The need to pump the tank is signaled by a high-pitched buzzing sound or by a light that is generally red and illuminates when the tank needs to be emptied. Overflowing water in these regions, as well as a sewage-like stench emanating from the drain field or near the septic tank, might signal that the septic tank is nearly full or that there is another problem with it. When the drain field is overgrown with grass or other plants, it may appear exceptionally lush and robust. In the event that a septic tank is overflowing, waste water can back up into toilets, showers, and tubs, which is an evident and worrying symptom of a problem.

How Often Do You Need to Have Your Septic System Pumped? – Queen’s Septic Tank Service

Having an aseptic system is something that most High Point, North Carolina, homeowners would want to avoid thinking about as much as possible. However, if you do not take care of your system on a regular basis, you may find yourself with a large and unpleasant problem on your hands. All septic tanks need to be pumped on a regular basis in order to avoid costly repairs, but how often do you need to have your tank pumped? During the course of your septic system’s operation, solid waste settles at the bottom of the tank and liquid waste rises to the top, where it is filtered by the leach field.

  • It’s also possible that the soil absorption system may get clogged, which will result in sewage backing up into your home and yard It is critical to plan septic tank pumping before the sediments build up to an unsafe level in order to avoid such a terrible situation.
  • A typical septic tank holds 900 gallons of water and may be found in the majority of homes.
  • Then it’s just basic mathematics: It will take roughly half as long to pump out a 1,500-gallon tank that serves a family of four, but it will take almost twice as long to pump out a 1,800-gallon tank feeding a family of six that serves a family of six.
  • Septic tanks at vacation homes that are only used during the summer months will require less pumping than those at year-round residences.
  • It’s recommended to be on the safe side and have your septic system and leach field pumped and inspected every two to three years in order to avoid costly repairs to your septic system and leach field.
  • In order to profit from a rest time during which no wastewater is fed to the soil absorption system, schedule your septic tank pumping before your family departs for a summer vacation.

Since 1986, the organization has provided services to residents of Guilford and Davidson counties, and they will bring their professionalism and knowledge to your house.

3 Ways to Protect Your Vacation Rental’s Septic Tank System

With its magnificent beaches, busy metropolitan centers, and breathtaking mountain scenery, Alabama is one of the top vacation destinations in the country, and renting out houses to visiting families and friend groups can be quite successful for investors. In contrast, if your vacation rental home is equipped with a septic tank system, your guests may wind up doing more harm than good to your financial situation. In the event that your guests have only ever lived in metropolitan areas with complete municipal sewer facilities, it is possible that they will be unfamiliar with the limits of septic tank systems.

  1. The good news is that you may take a variety of basic precautions to keep your rental property’s septic tank system safe from inexperienced (or reckless) holiday guests.
  2. Ensure that pumping and maintenance schedules are followed Septic tank systems, like the one in your vacation rental, require frequent pumping to remove sludge and solid debris.
  3. Pumping your sewage tank once every three to four years is commonly recommended by septic tank professionals.
  4. This may allow you to pump the tank less frequently, which can result in significant savings over time if done correctly.
  5. Choosing to err on the side of caution and maintaining a regular pumping schedule is typically the safer course of action.
  6. The majority of septic tank pumping companies also provide inspection and repair services, which means that selecting the same firm to handle all three chores may save you money and streamline your maintenance scheduling.
  7. Inform and Educate Your Visitors Providing your guests with a basic understanding of septic tank systems and how to operate them safely will reduce the likelihood that they would misuse the system.

If you reside in close proximity to the rental home in issue, you may be able to educate your visitors in person if you so want.

For rental property owners, the Environmental Protection Agency offers a number of free informational pamphlets, many of which are tailored specifically to their needs.


Septic tanks have limited capacities and will overflow if your rental property uses too much water in a given period of time.

This can become a serious problem if a hundred-strong group of partygoers descends on your vacation rental.

Vacation rentals converted from residential properties can be particularly vulnerable to overuse if their septic tanks have not been upgraded.

If you do want to turn your property into a party zone, you should seriously consider installing an upgraded septic tank system with a higher capacity.

If you need to know more about septic tank maintenance for rental properties, or you have any more questions about septic tank systems in general, contact the experts atAllen’s Septic Tank Service.

When to Clean and Pump Your Vacation Rental’s Septic Tank

This page is intended to serve as a guide for holiday rental property owners, with the following disclaimer: We do not hold professional plumbing or septic system certifications. In order to have your septic system examined, inspected, pumped, and maintained, we strongly recommend that you talk with a qualified expert.

How often should you pump your septic tank?

If we’re being really honest, many vacationers aren’t very conscientious about what they flush down the toilet or what they put down the kitchen or bathroom sink drains. Many of the items that are flushed down the toilet may actually harm the septic “ecosystsem” by interfering with the natural breakdown of particles in the system. Ultimately, this can prevent waste from draining correctly in the septic leach field, which might result in additional problems. In addition, many vacation rental homes are promoted to accommodate a far higher number of people than they were initially meant to accommodate without the septic tank being renovated to accommodate the additional guests.

It is critical to pay close attention to your septic system in order to avoid those serious problems!

What happens when I don’t pump regularly?

In the event that solids do not break down, they might cause the septic tank to overfill, resulting in backups into your vacation rental home. This is certainly a problem, since no one wants to have anything like that in their cabin! If the problem persists without being addressed, you will almost certainly have to resort to more drastic measures than simply pumping the tank. You will very certainly need to rebuild the septic tank as well as the leach field, which will be a far more expensive and time-consuming endeavor that will take much longer.

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Common Mistakes with Septic Tanks

Collapse to pump the septic tank on a regular basis might result in early drainfield failure and expensive repairs. While it may seem like an extra expense to have your septic tank cleaned and pumped on a regular basis, trust us when we say it is well worth it! The cost of installing a new tank or drainfield is significantly higher than the cost of routine maintenance. Most sewage pump professionals will recommend that you pump your septic tank at least once a year, but this is only if you live in your home full-time.

Again, many visitors will not take care of your septic tank in the same manner that you would.

In order to do this, pumping would be required twice a year, in May and November. Pumping before and after busy seasons will help you prevent costly backlog and the loss of rental income that might result from necessary repair work.

What about septic additives/DIY?

Most likely, you’ve seen advertisements for items that you may flush down the toilet or pour down the drain in order to lengthen the life of your septic system and break down sediments. While some of them do work, the vast majority do not. This is because these items are intended for home use only, and we do not recommend them unless they are prescribed by a certified plumber or septic contractor. They are ineffective when it comes to short-term holiday rental properties. If you have any queries concerning your septic system, please don’t hesitate to contact our office!

Our toll-free number is 1800.580.5524 if you need assistance.

Chart: How Often Should a Septic Tank be Pumped Out?

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Septic Tank Maintenance

Out of sight, out of memory, as they say. Due to the fact that septic tanks are subterranean and the access port is typically covered in mud and difficult to reach, pumping your septic tank is one of the most common home maintenance jobs to neglect. However, doing this critical maintenance work can help you prevent having to deal with odorous and expensive septic tank or drain field repairs in the future. As long as they are maintained consistently, septic tanks may survive for decades and provide dependable sewage treatment.

How Often Should a Septic Tank Be Pumped Out?

That’s an excellent question, and the answer is dependent on a number of factors. The size of your family, the size of your tank, whether or not you have a garbage disposal, and the temperature are all factors that will determine how often you should get your tank serviced. To determine how often you should pump your septic tank, use the table below.

How Do I Know My Septic Tank is Full?

You should be cautious of a full septic tank before your yard is completely swamped with sewage, right? The presence of backed-up drains in your house is a solid indication that your septic tank needs to be emptied out. Septic tank failure can also be indicated by foul odors, sewage odours, or standing water outside your home. Clogged pipes or sewage obstructions can sometimes appear to be septic tank issues, so it’s important to have a professional inspect the system and make a proper diagnosis.

In order to be safe, put on gloves, protective gear, and protective eyewear before inserting a 6′ – 10′ wooden rod vertically into the septic tank.

Septic Tank Pump Chart

Make use of the table below to determine the proper service interval for your septic system. Keep in mind that this chart is intended to serve as a guide only, not as a fail-safe. Some states, towns, and counties may have minimum septic tank regulations that are not dependent on the size of your residence.

What Variables Affect Septic Tank Service Intervals?

The servicing intervals shown above are only suggestions.

There are a variety of factors that influence how frequently you should pump your septic tank, including the following:

  • You employ a waste disposal on a regular basis. You own and operate a home-based business. You routinely flush coffee grounds or other non-septic-friendly items down the toilet
  • You have a clogged drain
  • You frequently host parties for your friends and family. It is necessary to have a sewage ejector pump installed in your septic system. It is necessary to utilize a water softener that is connected to the septic system. When compared to the typical person or household, you do more laundry.

Professional Septic Tank Pumping

Pumping a septic tank is not a do-it-yourself project. Because Mr. Rooter® Plumbing is a locally owned and operated firm, they have all of the required equipment and knowledge to pump your septic tank. Find the septic tank access port, and dig it out if it is buried if you want to assist reduce the amount of time that has to be spent on the service. This may sometimes feel like a treasure quest! Simply contact us at 855-982-2028 or fill out our online appointment request form to speak with one of our technicians.

Rooter LLC makes this blog available solely for educational reasons, in order to provide the reader with broad knowledge and a comprehensive comprehension of the specific subject matter discussed above.

Before beginning any household improvement, be sure you are in compliance with local and state rules.

Septic Systems: What You Need to Know

If you’re buying or developing a home in northern Minnesota or northern Wisconsin, you’ll almost certainly have to deal with a septic system. They’re a normal part of life in the magnificent Northwoods of Wisconsin and Minnesota. There are three fundamental types of systems, and if you are unfamiliar with them, here’s a short explanation as well as a guide to the three common designs.

What is a septic system?

In the absence of a municipal sewer system, a septic system is used to treat wastewater on a property’s premises. They are typically comprised of one or more septic tanks and a drain field, which work together to offer biological treatment of wastewater before it is released back into the surrounding soil. It is governed by a range of parameters, including the site conditions, soil type, depth to seasonal high water table and the size of the residence, what sort of septic system is installed, and how much money is available.

Septic systems provide service to approximately one-quarter of all houses in the United States.

Types of septic systems

A holding tank is nothing more than a septic tank that does not have a drain field. When a home or cabin generates wastewater, it runs into the tank until an alarm shows that the tank is full and that it is time to pump it out. Given the lack of a drain field, delaying the pumping of the tank may result in a backup into your house. It is therefore critical to have a positive working relationship with an experienced septic system technician who can pump your tank on time and efficiently.

Gravity system

A gravity septic system (also known as a conventional or in-ground system) is comprised of a septic tank and a gravity-flow trench drain field system that collects and transports waste. The septic tank is responsible for separating solids from wastewater. As a result of gravity, the gray water flows into a distribution box or a series of drop boxes, which subsequently distributes the gray water into trenches. The majority of trench systems are designed to fill a single trench at a time.

As soon as a trench is completely filled, the gray water spills into the next trench in the series. Gravity systems still require pumping to remove the solids, which is normally done once every three to five years in a typical installation.

Pressurized bed system

When the soils are adequate for an in-ground system, but gravity flow cannot be obtained owing to elevations or other site limits, pressurized systems are employed to provide the necessary flow. In order to discharge the liquid waste to a drain field, these systems need a pump and a second tank following the septic tank. The drain field is normally rectangular in shape and consists of a series of three to six small-diameter pipes with holes, known as laterals, that are spaced three to six feet apart.

Upon activation of the pump, the lateral system is pressured, causing the liquid waste to be dispersed uniformly over the drainage field area.

Further reading on septic systems

When it comes to septic systems, having a basic understanding of how they work may go a long way toward making you feel more at ease. More information about septic systems and how to maintain them may be found in this fantastic resource reference. Septic Check, Milaca, Minnesota is owned and operated by Brian Koski.

Should You Get a Septic Tank for the Cabin?

When I built the cottage in the woods where my wife, daughter, and I currently reside, I realized that putting together a comprehensive waste treatment system would be a major undertaking. In contrast to urban living, where sewage is sent to a centralized treatment plant, rural life nearly often entails finding out how to deal with garbage on your own. Septic systems come into play in this situation. Almost all rural properties with indoor plumbing are equipped with a septic system of some kind.

Here’s all you need to know about the situation.

Types of Septic Systems

Almost all modern septic systems incorporate an aseptic tank—a big plastic, concrete, or fiberglass container that is buried some distance away from the house or lodge. The tank is connected to the home’s drainage system through a big subterranean conduit. An uncomplicated septic system is one in which waste water and sediments are sent down the pipe into the tank, where they are partially decomposed by bacteria. When the partially treated liquid reaches a specific level, it flows out the other end and is disseminated into the soil, which is often accomplished by a network of perforated subterranean pipelines.

Drainage fields, field beds, and drainfields are all terms used to describe the combination of pipes and soil.

It is for this reason that vacuum truck pump outs are required every couple of years or so.

Holding Tank System

When using a holding tank method, the waste is kept in the septic tank until it is completely depleted. After that, a vacuum truck is required to remove the waste.

Compared to traditional systems, holding tank systems are significantly easier and less expensive to set up and maintain. However, you will have to pay to have them cleaned out on a regular basis, which should be incorporated into your expense estimates.

Mound Septic System

Upon visiting our forested property with my wife and hiring an aseptic contractor to implement our system, he informed us that we would have to go with a mound system. He indicated that the bedrock was too close to the surface for a typical drainage system, and that a deeper soil drainage system was required. This system is identical to a normal septic design, except that the tanks and field bed are covered in soil that is trucked in and piled into a “mound” to protect them from the elements.

Benefits To a Cabin Septic Tank System

  • Septic systems that are properly constructed and maintained allow you to live a pleasant and completely contemporary lifestyle no matter how far away you are from the nearest municipal sewage treatment facility. Regular maintenance, such as pumping out the system with a vacuum truck every couple of years, can extend the life expectancy of conventional and mound septic systems to 40 or 50 years. Holding tank systems have the potential to endure a lifetime. Septic systems that are properly maintained are ecologically favorable, as they consume no power and emit no pollutants. There is no monthly sewage bill.

Drawbacks To a Cabin Septic Tank System

  • Installation is both expensive and time-consuming. Regular vacuum truck pump outs are required for conventional and mound systems every couple of years, and often every few months for holding tank configurations. The greater the amount of waste water and solids produced, the greater the stress imposed on the system. Even the most carefully constructed and maintained septic systems may eventually fail and may require complete replacement.

Installing a Septic Tank System

A professional septic system installation will design and build your system if you don’t have access to heavy equipment such as an excavator and loader tractor, as well as a great deal of knowledge and ability. It will not be inexpensive, either. Depending on the type of system and how much earth must be moved, most septic contractors I know charge between $9,000 and $15,000 or more for a full system installation, depending on the location. It is theoretically feasible to install the septic tank portion of the system on your own, provided that you have the heavy equipment necessary to dig the hole and hoist the tank into position.

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It’s an extremely exact process, and any mistakes will be quite costly.

Alternatives To a Septic Tank System

It is not necessary to install a full-fledged septic system if the only waste water that leaves your home comes from showers and sinks. A gray water pit is a hole in the ground filled with gravel or mulch that is used to collect wastewater that does not contain toilet pollutants. Based on the environmental restrictions in your location, that will most likely be sufficient. Furthermore, a goodcomposting toiletallows for a comfortable bathroom experience without the hassle of a septic system installation.

Outhouse and Gray Water Pit

Photograph courtesy of Christoph Hetzmannseder/Getty Images If you want to keep your cabin as rustic as possible, a well-built outhouse is a terrific method to do your business with the least amount of fuss. Use a gray water pit for everything else, just as you did with the composting toilet.

Words of Caution

A significant possibility that trees will be in the area where you’re putting a septic tank and field bed for your cabin is that you’ll be able to see them. Make certain that all trees in close proximity to your septic system are removed. Aside from that, there is a good potential that they will shoot roots into your pipes in order to take the nutrients in your waste water. Tree roots can cause your septic system to fail at an inconvenient and expensive moment in your home’s history.

Too Much Toilet Paper

Even the most meticulously constructed septic systems cannot withstand the excessive use of toilet paper that may be tolerated if your property is connected to the city’s sewage system. Using excessively lengthy strips of toilet paper in your cabin if you have a septic system is not recommended.

According to my observations, any unbroken strips longer than four squares can become entangled in the tank intake, where they can accumulate over time and finally produce a blockage. Believe me when I tell that settling such a problem is not a pleasant experience.

Septic Tank Pumping

Septic tanks are used in the vast majority of on-lot sewage systems nowadays. The subject of how frequently a septic tank should be pumped has been a source of contention for several decades. For example, there are some homeowners who say they have never drained their septic tank and that it “appears” to be in fine working condition. While trying to establish a standard pumping strategy, authorities have taken a more conservative approach and have declared that all septic tanks should be pump out every two to three years.

How a Septic Tank Works

Box 1.Can you tell me how much solid trash you generate? The average adult consumes around one quart of food every day. The body removes just a very little percentage of this meal and utilizes it to provide energy for the body’s functions. The remaining portion is discharged into the waste water system. This translates into around 90 gallons of solid waste being discharged into the septic tank per adult each year. Based on the assumption that the anaerobic bacteria in the septic tank reduce the waste volume by around 60%, this indicates that each adult contributes approximately 60 gallons of solids to their septic tank each year.

  • Consequently, it will take around 5 years for one adult to completely fill a 1,000-gallon septic tank with sludge and scum, which is approximately 300 gallons.
  • It is simple to infer that a septic tank should be pumped every two to three years after accounting for adults who work outside the home for a third of the time and children who attend school after making these modifications to the study.
  • Single chamber septic tanks were the most common type of septic tank until recently.
  • Septic tanks are designed to aid the removal of particles that are heavier than water by encouraging these heavy particles to settle to the tank bottom, resulting in the formation of the sludge layer.
  • It is also designed to keep particles that are lighter than water by encouraging these lighter particles to float to the surface and be maintained in the tank, resulting in a layer of scum on the surface of the tank.

In part, this is due to the fact that the temperature of the septic tank is equal to that of the soil surrounding it, and the anaerobic bacteria require higher temperatures in order to effectively decompose organic material in wastewater and thus reduce the biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the wastewater.

  1. Holding on to the heavy (settleable) and lighter (floatable) particles allows the septic tank to gently fill with solids from the bottom up as well as from the top down.
  2. Septic tanks with an exit filter will catch and decrease the flow of solids into the absorption area when the tank is properly designed and installed.
  3. As a result, it is critical that every septic tank be pumped on a regular basis to eliminate the organic particles that have been collected and partially digested.
  4. Small amounts of the particles kept in the tank degrade, but the vast majority of the solids stay and build up in the tank.
  5. Under no circumstances should you enter a septic tank.
  6. With continued usage of the on-lot wastewater disposal system, an accumulation of sludge and scum builds up in the septic tank.
  7. As the amount of sludge and scum in the tank fills up, wastewater is maintained in the tank for a shorter period of time, and the solids removal process becomes less efficient as a result.

It is necessary to pump the tank on a regular basis in order to avoid this. Asseptage is the term used to describe the substance injected. Cross-sectional view of a two-chamber septic tank (Figure 1).

Number of bedrooms in the home Estimated daily flow (gallons/day) Minimum septic tank size (gallons)
3 400 900
4 500 1,250
5 600 1,400
6 700 1,550

How Frequent should a Septic Tank be Pumped?

Pumping frequency is determined by a number of parameters, including:

  • The capacity of the septic tank
  • The amount of wastewater that is put to the septic tank each day (see Table 1)
  • The amount of solids in a wastewater stream is measured. In this regard, it should be noted that there are various different types of particles that are regularly dumped into a septic system. This group of solids includes (1) biodegradable “organic” solids such as feces (see Box 1), (2) slowly biodegradable “organic” solids such as toilet paper and cellulosic compounds, which take a long time to biodegrade in the septic tank, and (3) non-biodegradable solids such as kitty litter, plastics, and other non-biodegradable materials, which do not biodegrade and quickly fill the septic tank It is possible to significantly reduce the quantity of slowly biodegradable organics and non-biodegradable trash that is introduced to your septic tank by reducing the amount of organic waste that is added to the tank.

Another factor that influences how soon a septic tank will fill with solids is one’s way of living. In terms of septic tank function, the two most essential aspects of one’s lifestyle are as follows: Homes with expanding families, having children ranging in age from tiny children to adolescents, often consume more water and deposit more sediments into the septic tank than other types of households. Empty nesters, and especially the elderly, on the other hand, have a tendency to consume significantly less water and to deposit significantly less solid waste in septic tanks.

  1. The particles in a septic tank tend to be taken away from the tank to the soil absorption region, as previously indicated.
  2. As additional materials collect in the absorption region, these sediments begin to choke the soil, preventing wastewater from being able to fully absorb.
  3. In most cases, the removal of these biomats is both expensive and time-consuming.
  4. Pumping the wastewater that has accumulated in the soil absorption area is required for the removal of the biomat.
  5. The biomat normally decomposes within a few days after the absorption area has been completely dewatered and has been aerated.

Is It Time To Pump Your Septic Tank?

So, how does one go about determining how frequently a septic tank needs be cleaned? We are aware that residences who dispose of huge volumes of non-biodegradable and slowly biodegradable organic waste into their septic tank require more frequent pumping. It is also known that prior to the time at which the collected solids have accumulated to the point that they are being taken with the tank effluent to the absorption region, the septic tank should be pump out. When it comes to determining when (and how frequently) to pump your septic tank, there are two generally safe ways to use.

The alternative method is to open the access port to the first chamber (as shown in Figure 1) once a year and insert a long pole to the bottom of the tank and then pull it out of the tank.

If the sludge has accumulated to more than one-third of the tank’s total depth, it is time to have it drained out completely. The majority of households will benefit from having their tanks drained every two or three years instead.

The Pumping Process

Contractors who specialize in septic tank pumping and hauling may pump your septic tank. It is a good idea to be present to check that everything is completed correctly. For the material to be extracted from the tank, it is necessary to break up the scum layer, and the sludge layer must be combined with the liquid section of the tank. In most cases, this is accomplished by alternately pumping liquid out of the tank and re-injecting it into the bottom of the tank. Not the little intake or outlet inspection openings situated above each baffle, but the two huge central access ports (manholes) are required for pumping the septic tank.

  • It is not suggested to use additives in septic tanks to minimize the volume of sludge or as a substitute for pumping in order to achieve these goals.
  • When you have your septic tank pumped, you should consider taking an additional step to ensure that your septic system continues to perform correctly for a long time.
  • This inspector can tell you whether or not your septic tank needs to be repaired, as well as whether or not other components of your sewage system require upkeep.
  • Mark the position of the tank as well, so that it may be found simply in the future for pumping.

Schedule Septic Tank Pumping

Your septic tank may be pumped by septic tank pumping and hauling professionals. Attending to the task to ensure that it is completed correctly is a wise decision. This requires the scum layer to be broken up and combined with the liquid component of the tank in order to fully recover the material from the tank. As a general rule, this is accomplished by alternately pumping liquid from the tank and injecting it into the tank’s bottom. Not the little intake or outlet inspection openings placed above each baffle, but the two huge central access ports (manholes) must be used to pump the septic tank.

There are no recommendations for the use of additives in septic tanks to minimize the volume of sludge or to serve as a substitute for pumping.

Once your septic tank has been cleaned and pumped, you may want to consider taking an additional step to ensure that your septic system continues to perform correctly for a long period of time.

If your septic tank is in need of repair or if any other components of your septic system require upkeep, this inspector can notify you about it.

Install risers from the central access ports and inspection ports to the soil surface in order to make future cleaning and inspection easier. Mark the location of the tank as well, so that it can be found easily in the future for pumping purposes.


A septic tank is simply one component of a complete on-site wastewater treatment system. Its purpose is to remove solids from the effluent prior to it reaching the soil absorption region, to allow for the digestion of a part of those solids, and to store the remainder of the solids in a holding tank. It is not necessary to use biological or chemical additions to enhance or speed the breakdown process. Grinders contribute to the solids load on the system by reducing the size of garbage. Solids must be removed on a regular basis in order to prevent them from accessing the soil absorption zone.

For additional assistance contact

Your local Sewage Enforcement Officer or Extension Educator can help you with these issues. A contact for the Pennsylvania Association of Sewage Enforcement Officers (PASEO) is as follows:4902 Carlisle Pike,268Mechanicsburg, PA 17050 Phone: 717-761-8648 Email: [email protected] Philadelphia, PA 18016 717-763-7762 [email protected] Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA)P.O. Box 144 Bethlehem, PA 18016 717-763-7762

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