How Thick Should Scum Layer Of Septic Tank Be? (Question)

  • The following is an excerpt from What Scum Sludge Thickness = Pump Needed. “Generally at a two year interval for septic tank pumping service the average septic tank in these size ranges will have a 400 mm scum layer with about a 200 mm sludge layer.

How thick should the crust be in a septic tank?

Normal sludge depth is one to four inches. If greater, or if less than 10 inches of water above the top of the sludge exists, check with a service contractor about a pump out. If there is a solid, thick (over one inch) crust on the top, it should be pumped out with the rest of the tank contents.

How thick should the sludge layer be in a septic tank?

Septic tanks need to be pumped out when the sludge layer exceeds 24 inches in depth or when the bottom of the scum layer is less than 3 inches above the Page 2 lower end of the submerged outlet. If you cannot locate the submerged outlet, clean the tank if the scum layer is more than 12 inches thick.

How thick is the scum layer in a septic tank?

“Generally at a two year interval for septic tank pumping service the average septic tank in these size ranges will have a 400 mm scum layer with about a 200 mm sludge layer. With an average depth of 1600 mm, the solids content is about 600 mm thereby reducing the settling time by nearly 40%.

What is scum level in septic tank?

Scum: Scum refers to the set of substances in a septic tank which are lighter than water. It usually consists of oil, fats, and grease. These substances float to the top, above the water where the aerobic bacteria work to digest a majority of the floating solid waste materials.

How do I check the sludge in my septic tank?

To measure the sludge layer:

  1. Slowly lower the tube into the septic tank until it touches the bottom of the tank.
  2. As the device is slowly pulled out of the water, the check valve closes capturing a liquid/solid profile of the septic tank water. The thickness of the sludge layer can be measured.

How do you break down the sludge in a septic tank?

Here are a few things you can do to help you break down the solid waste in your septic tank:

  1. Active Yeast. Add ¼ to ½ cup of active dry yeast to your toilet bowl and flush it down your toilet.
  2. Rotten Tomatoes.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide.
  4. Inorganic Acids.
  5. Chemicals.
  6. Pumping.

What are the signs that 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 is the top layer of a septic tank?

In the tank, density differences automatically separates the sewage into three layers. The topmost layer is called “scum”. Scum is composed of materials that float on water such as grease, oil, and fats.

Why is my septic tank foaming?

Phosphates that pass through the septic system due to improper design can enter surface water, causing very high growth rates of algae. Surfactants typically cause foaming or suds in water.

How full should your septic tank be?

But what does full really mean? A septic tank should always be “filled” to its normal liquid level, or the bottom of the outlet pipe which carries effluent to the absorption area. This normal liquid level is usually between 8” to 12” from the top of the tank on average (see picture at right).

How do you measure a scum layer on a septic tank?

To measure how thick the scum lies in your tank, you need to grab your handy scum measuring stick. Measure where the stick meets the opening of the septic tank and then lower the stick until it sits on top of the scum layer and mark that point.

Can you put too much water in a septic tank?

Excessive water is a major cause of system failure. Too much water from laundry, dishwasher, toilets, baths, and showers may not allow enough time for sludge and scum to separate. The less water used, the less water entering the septic system, resulting in less risk of system failure.

How to Measure Septic Tank Floating Scum Thickness

  • Post a QUESTION or COMMENTabout how, when, where, and why to measure the thickness of the scum layer in a septic tank in the comments section. what the thickness of the tank signifies in terms of tank condition the requirement for pumping

InspectAPedia does not allow any form of conflict of interest. The sponsors, goods, and services described on this website are not affiliated with us in any way. Measurement of the thickness of the floating scum layer in a septic tank: A septic tank condition assessment tool and technique are described in this paper, which may be used to determine the thickness of the floating scum layer in a septic tank as an assistance in assessing whether or not the septic tank should be pumped and thoroughly cleaned.

Pumping and checking your septic tank is an important part of septic tank maintenance and septic system maintenance, regardless of whether you have a traditional septic tank and drain field or soakaway bed, an above ground septic system, or even a sewage holding tank.

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How to Measure theScum layer thickness in a septic tank:How to measure the thickness of the floating scum layer in a septic tank

When the septic tank is pumped, measurements of the scum layer and the sludge layer provide information on the system’s condition and effectiveness. The steps in this approach are designed after the steps in the classes that are required to get a Massachusetts Title 5 Septic Inspectors License. Other governments and agencies, on the other hand, describe a method that is comparable. Some septic companies have constructed their own versions of the equipment detailed below, which they transport to the pumpout work.

The septic tank drawing at the top of the page is courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates.

This information allows the home owner to know whether the septic tank is in good condition.

  1. When the septic tank is being pumped, and how often it is being pumped Whether or whether there is proof that the septic fields have been harmed as a result of the failure to pump the tank in a timely manner

Keep an eye out for these potential safety hazards while measuring septic tank scum and sludge levels: Using the technique outlined below, you may assess the thickness of settled sludge in a septic tank as well as the thickness of the floating scum layer in a tank by opening the tank and probing it with a little probe. This operation is hazardous since it involves the possibility of exposure to methane gas as well as the possibility of falling into a septic tank. The technique should be carried out by a septic contractor who is certified in its execution.

In order to avoid contaminating your assistance with septage, use gloves when handling the septic probe and be mindful of where you’re swinging the pole around so that you don’t spill septage all over him or her (never work alone on septic systems).

If the equipment is to be kept for future use, it should be thoroughly cleaned after each usage. Some septic companies transport their poles in a large, plastic-lined box that is then placed back on the truck after they are finished.

How to Make the septic tank probe for measuring scumsludge layer thickness

An example of the type of septic tank scum and sludge measuring instrument displayed here is one that is used by a septic contractor to probe the thickness of the tank scum and sludge layers in the tank. A board measuring 6×6″ to 6×8″ is connected to the end of a pole of (about) 8 feet in length. Poly piping in the size of 2″ is ideal for this application since it is easy to clean up after. A basic door hinge is fastened to the end of the pipe as well as to the flapper board to complete the installation.

(See the graphic above for further information.) In addition, seeTUBE for MEASURING SCUMSLUDGEfor a tool that can measure the thickness of both scum and sludge with a single instrument.

  • Open the access port to the septic tank. If the tank is a single compartment septic tank (as seen on the left by the USDA sketch), this examination should be performed at the tank outlet end since it is at this point that the danger of discharge into the absorption system is the greatest. Some tanks, on the other hand, have a ready access port just on the inlet side – which is less preferable, but you may look there as well. You should be aware that if your tank has two compartments, solids, floating scum and settled sludge are building at the entrance area of the tank, which should be avoided. Sludge and scum will not be discovered in time to avoid septic system damage if the inspection is performed at the final septic tank outflow end. Such tanks may be equipped with a center inspection port, which allows for tank access at the outflow of the sludge/scum holding compartment when the tank is in the middle of the tank. In two-compartment septic tanks, here is where the testing should take place. Insert the septic tank measurement instrument as follows: Probe with the flapper pole into the scum layer at the opening septic tank access port until you feel an output baffle or a hygienic tee, then close the access hole. As a result, the pole has been positioned so that the board will extend beneath the baffle and be able to feel the bottom of it. Make a mark on the pole (chalk or pencil would do) to indicate where you want to go. Using anything easily accessible, such as the top of an access port, we may line up the mark and use it as a standard reference point for the subsequent measurements. In order to feel resistance from the bottom of a floating scum layer, pull the flapper pole up a little bit. Mark the pole once more, this time using the same reference point as previously specified
  • Distance between the scum and the baffle bottom: With the distance between the two markings, we can calculate the distance between the bottom of the scum layer and the (lower) bottom of the exit baffle. This indicates that the tank has to be emptied if the bottom of the scum layer is less than 3 inches above the bottom of the baffle. Distance between the scum and the baffle top: If, upon visual inspection, the top of the floating scum layer in the septic tank is within 1 inch of the top of the outflow baffle, the septic tank will also require pumping
  • Otherwise, the septic tank will not require pumping.

A protocol for measuring sludgescum is described in Septic Tank/Soil-Absorption Systems: How to OperateMaintain-, Equipment Tips, published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

What is The floating scum layer in a septic tank

It is possible that oil and grease will accumulate in the floating scum layer of a septic tank and eventually clog the leach field, which is a component of the septic system. When it comes to septic effluent treatment in the soil absorption system, oil and grease are particularly damaging because they inhibit aerobic treatment. As a result, if the scum layer has developed to the point that it is threatening to force grease and oil out of the tank, we should consider cleaning the septic tank. When the floating scum layer has built to the point that it has reached 3 inches below the bottom of the exit baffle or tee, the septic tank should be flushed.

WHEN TO PUMP – 3 Rules on How thick can the septic tank sludge and scum layer be before septic tank cleaning is needed?

“What Scum Sludge Thickness = Pump Required” is the title of the book that contains the following passage. At a two-year period, the average septic tank in this size range will have a 400-mm scum layer with around 200-mm sludge layer, according to the American Septic Tank Pumping Association (ASTP). With an average depth of 1600 mm, the solids content is around 600 mm, resulting in a reduction in settling time of approximately 40%. According to the USDA, the following are examples of what amounts of sludge or scum indicate that the septic tank should be cleaned:

  • Pump the septic tank when the entire depth of scum and sludge layers reaches one-third of the overall depth of the tank
  • 1/3 of tank depth
  • If there is less than three inches between the bottom of the scum layer and the bottom of the septic tank outlet baffle, pump the septic tank (the amount of clearance will vary depending on the length of your outlet baffle or tee)
  • Less than three inches between scum layer and bottom of septic tank outlet baffle
  • Pump the septic tank when the bottom of the outlet baffle is less than 6 inches from the top of the sludge layer found on the septic tank bottom
  • Less than 6 inches from the top of the sludge layer found on the septic tank bottom

Keep an eye out for septic scum and sludge that has accumulated over an extended period of time. It is too late for people who wait until their septic system stops operating as a result of a blocked or over-full septic tank (which is packed with sludge and scum) to take action. As the thickness of the bottom sludge layer rises, and as the thickness of the top septic scum layer increases as well, the amount of effluent left in the tank (known as the “net free area” or “effective septic tank volume”) decreases.

Despite the fact that the drains in the building appear to be working well, the septic tank effluent remains in a continual state of stirred-agitation in this situation.

It is detrimental to the future life of the septic tank and leach field to remove oil, scum, and tiny solid debris from them and deposit them in the leach field.

See also:  What Is The Average Cost For Septic Tank Pumping? (TOP 5 Tips)

an instrument that may be used to measure both scum and sludge thickness using a single piece of equipment For deep or difficult-to-access septic tanks, as well as commercial septic tanks that may require close monitoring, seeELECTRIC MONITOR FOR SCUMSLUDGEand also take a look atOther Measures Scum / Sludge for further options.

Septic Tank Sewage Level Articles

  • Flooding of the SEPTIC TANK
  • And more.

. How to Measure Septic Sludge Layer (Continue Reading) Alternatively, choose a topic from the closely related articles listed below, or browse the entireARTICLE INDEX. Alternatives include TOOLS FOR MEASURING SCUMSLUDGE.

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How to Inspect Your Septic Tank – Septic Maxx

If you give your septic system the attention and care it deserves, it will survive a long time. It will endure for many years if you pump as regularly as you need to for the size of your tank, utilize it properly, and do not let anything that shouldn’t be in it to enter. Steel septic tanks corrode with time, generally after 15-20 years of service in most climates. Concrete septic tanks have a lifespan ranging from 40 years to nearly indefinitely. If you want to see your septic system live to a ripe old age and not have to worry about replacing it, it is in your best interests to do periodic septic maintenance.

Gather Materials

It is necessary to have the correct equipment in order to assess the state of your septic tank and determine whether it is necessary to have it pumped out. Aside from wearing loose-fitting clothes and rubber gloves and shoes, you’ll need a specific gadget known as a Sludge Judge to quantify the quantities of scum and sludge that are present in your tank. This instrument is basically a transparent plastic pipe that has been marked at one-foot intervals and divided into three pieces, each of which is five feet in length.

Sludge, effluent, and scum are the three types of waste that accumulate in a septic tank.

Scum is formed when fats, oils, cooking grease, and other lighter trash float to the surface of the water. The liquid effluent makes up the middle layer. To check your tank, you must first assess how much sludge and scum is present within in order to evaluate whether or not it needs to be pumped.

Inspect the Area Around Your Septic Tank

Checking the ground around your septic tank is a good idea before opening the lid and pumping out the sewage. Check to see if there is any accumulation of effluent around the tank, and look over the septic tank lid to check whether it is in good shape.

Remove the Manhole Cover

Many septic systems these days are equipped with ” risers,” which make this task much easier by elevating the lids above earth. If you are unable to locate the lid of your septic tank, locate the tank and dig it up. There should be two lids, one for each compartment, in the box. In the majority of situations, the hole on the left corresponds to the first compartment, while the hole on the right corresponds to the second. In the first one, you simply need to take measurements, and that’s all.

Measure the Scum’s Thickness (SC)

To determine how thick the scum layer is in your tank, you’ll need to go for your trusty scum measuring stick, of course. Measure the distance between the stick and the opening of the septic tank, and then lower the stick until it lies on top of the scum layer and indicate the location of this intersection. As a further step, descend down through the whole scum layer with the elbow end leading directly into the scum layer. Rotate the stick 90 degrees and raise the stick as high as you can until you feel the bottom of the scum layer.

Take the distance between the two markers and multiply it by two.

Measure the Sludge’s Thickness (SL)

Take out your handy scum measuring stick and use it to determine how thick the scum layer is in your tank. Measure the distance between the stick and the opening of the septic tank, and then lower the stick until it lays on top of the scum layer and note the location with a pencil. As a next step, descend down through the whole scum layer and into the scum with the elbow end. Rotate the stick 90 degrees and raise the stick up until the bottom of the scum layer can be felt. When the scum stick meets the bottom of the scum layer, make a mark on it using a marker.

In this case, the scum layer is this thick (SC).

  1. SC plus SL equals inches
  2. WD inches divided by 3 equals inches
  3. If the sum of A and B equals the sum of A and B, pump your tank.

It is recommended that you engage a professional to examine your tank in order to get an accurate reading; but, if you are comfortable doing it yourself, you may save money by using this approach. Besides saving you money, Septic Maxx may also save you money by reducing the amount of accumulation in your tank and so extending the intervals between pumping.

Inspecting Your Septic Tank

Firstuncover and remove the first manhole cover. Some systems have”risers”that make this job easier by bringing the tank lids up to the ground surface. (We encourage you to have risersinstalled so you won’t need to dig down each time you inspect.)The diagram at left shows the top of the two most common septic tank configurations. The upper figure is found onnewer tanks and the bottom one is usually found on older septic tanks. In most cases, the hole to the left is thefirst compartment, the hole to the right is the second compartment, and the rectangular cover is to the crossoverbaffle. (Some tanks, 25 years or older, may have only one compartment that is round, oval, or square.)This procedure determines the thickness of the scum level(SC).
  1. In order to make the scum stick, One of the PVC pipes was cut down to 6 feet from its original length of 10 feet. Glue a 90-degree elbow on one of the ends. Create an elbow out of a 6-inch piece of PVC tubing and glue it in place. End caps should be placed on the open ends. Place a board or a stick over the top of the hole, manhole, or riser to prevent water from leaking in. As shown in Figure 1, lower the scum stick down the manhole of the first compartment of the tank until it rests on the top of the scum layer (see Figure 1below), and mark the scum stick where it passes the reference point (A). Work the stick through the scum layer, starting at the elbow end and working your way down. Continue pushing straight through the scum layer, turning the stick 90 degrees, and pulling up on the stick until you feel the bottom of the scum layer. Note where the scum stick crosses the reference point (B) with a marker. Removing the scum stick and measuring the distance between the two markings will get the following results. This is the measurement of the thickness of the scum layer (SC).

Figure 1: To expand the diagram, click on it. This process determines the thickness of the sludge layer on the bottom of the pond (SL).

  1. To create the sludge stick, cut the remaining 10-foot PVC pipe into two parts of 5-foot length. Each stick should have an adaptor attached to it. Insert the coupler into one of the adapters by screwing it in. To build a 10-foot stick, connect the two parts together. Wrap a white cloth or an old towel around the bottom of the stick so that it is tightly wrapped. It should be secured with tape or string. Create a hole in the scum It is not acceptable to smear the sludge stick with scum. Stick carefully through hole in scum layer in first compartment until it rests on top of the liquid layer, then remove stick from compartment. Figure 1 shows how to mark the location of the stick when it passes the aperture of the manhole or riser. Reduce the length of the stick until it reaches the bottom of the tank. Keep the stick in the tank for at least five minutes to allow sludge particles to attach to the towel
  2. Otherwise, remove it. The sludge stick should be marked where it crosses the board (Din Figure 1). Work your way carefully away from the stick until you reach the distance between the two markers (CandD). This distance represents the working depth of the tank (WD). On the rag, there should be a visible black stain left by the liquid. Take a measurement of the stain’s height. Sludge layer (SL) depth is measured in millimeters.

Remove the covers from the inlet, outlet, and crossoverbaffles on the ducting system.

Examine the baffles to confirm that they are still present and that they are not significantly rusted. Venting holes should be present and unobstructed if the baffles are made of concrete and are molded into the rest of the tank’s structure.

  • Ensure that the intake baffle is unobstructed and that the pipe is properly sealed to the tank
  • Ensure that the exit baffle is unobstructed and that the liquid level is at the bottom of the pipe, rather than below or above the bottom of the pipe. The line connecting it to the tank must be completely sealed. PLEASE NOTE: In the following photo, looking down an output baffle, the effluent is below the pipe, suggesting a faulty seal. Additionally, the crossover baffle should be clear of blockage.
  • Rubber gloves should be used
  • Dirty gloves and sludge toweling should be disposed of in a plastic bag. Sticks should be soaked in bleach water to sterilize them before keeping them.

How to Measure Septic Tank Sludge Depth

What is the best way to determine when to pump your septic tank? In a previous piece, you learned that the only way to know for certain when to pump your septic tank is to take an actual measurement of the amount of accumulated sludge and scum in the tank. It is designed such that the septic tank should be pumped when the combined sludge and scum layer displaces 30% of the tank’s total volume. Using the above example, if the liquid depth of the tank is 48″, the tank should be pumped when the combined thickness of the sludge and scum layer measures 14 12″ (48″ X 0.30).

An example of this would be a long hollow plastic tube with a check valve at the bottom of it.

  • The scum layer should be pushed through until it is almost broken through by the sludge judge. Mark on the tube in a visibly obvious manner the link between the top of the scum layer and the spot on it. Pulling the tube up and measuring the length of the tube are two options. In many cases, you may see part of the scum layer adhered to the tube to help you locate it
  • This is normal.

The following are the measurements for the sludge layer:

  • Slowly lower the tube into the septic tank until it comes into contact with the tank’s bottom
  • And With each gradual pull of the gadget out of the water, the check valve shuts, allowing a liquid/solid profile of the septic tank water to be captured. It is possible to determine the thickness of the sludge layer

The collected sludge inside the tube measured around 8″ – 9″ in diameter, and there was no scum layer present in this specimen. The thickness of the scum layer would simply be added to the 8′ – 9″ measurement if there was one. In this particular instance, the scum/sludge layer combined displaces approximately 18 percent of the tank volume (8 12″/48″ in this case). Upon further investigation, it was discovered that this septic tank had last been drained 26 months before. The septic tank should be pumped within 43 months of the last septic tank pump out, based on this date (0.18 / 26 months X 0.30 = 43 months) of the last pump out.

  • Even if the cost of $75 for a sludge judge is beyond of reach for you, you may construct your own gadget that will do the same function.
  • The length of the stick will vary depending on how deep your septic tank is buried.
  • The idea here is to avoid wrapping it too tightly around the stick’s handle.
  • Pay close attention to the link between the top of the scum layer and the placement on the sticking stick.
  • The scum layer is often adhered to the stick to help you locate it, and this is a good way to identify the location.
  • Continue to slide the stick back and forth in a plus (+) pattern for approximately 2″ in each direction to enable the solids to flow through the cheesecloth slowly and softly.

Measure the witness line of solids that are lodged into the cheesecloth to determine the amount of solids present. Measure the distance between the “wet” mark on the upper end of the stick and the bottom of the stick. Calculate the percent capacity in the same way as in the previous example.

Troubleshooting Septic Tanks

Receive articles, stories, and videos about septic tanks delivered directly to your email! Now is the time to sign up. Septic Tanks and More Receive Notifications It is necessary to open the tank when resolving onsite system problems or when doing an examination of a septic tank so that the contents can be inspected and the condition of both the inlet and outflow baffles can be checked. By just observing the contents of the tank and the baffles, it is possible to gain valuable insight into the overall operation of the system.

  1. In order to identify if the tank contains the three separate levels that should be present, the contents should be analyzed.
  2. If any of these layers are missing, the tank will not operate as efficiently as it should.
  3. The homeowner should be informed of the presence of a large amount of floating material that does not belong in the tank, as well as a large amount of undigested food, so that they may learn how to properly maintain their system and avoid introducing these materials into the wastewater.
  4. In the case of a large amount of undigested food, it might suggest that one of the members of the home suffers from an eating issue or that the garbage disposal is being used excessively; any talk with the owner should be done with caution.
  5. The scum layer should not be extremely thick, and it should not extend beyond or below the exit baffle at any point.
  6. A heavy layer of scum may suggest that the tank need cleaning, but it may also signal that there is a backup owing to an outlet or blockage in the drainfield that is causing water to back up into the tank.
  7. Users of the system may be able to adjust their behaviors or have the tank cleaned on a more frequent basis in this setting.
  8. The tank should be cleaned if the top of the sludge layer is closer than 12 inches to the bottom of the exit baffle, which indicates that the sludge layer is too thick.
  9. A result of this scenario is that sediments are supplied to the soil treatment area, which causes the effluent screen to get clogged with particles.
  10. Otherwise, it may be necessary to build a larger tank or an extra tank in series in order to alleviate the greater flow problem.

If you have any questions concerning septic system maintenance and operation, you can send them to him by email at [email protected].

This article is part of a series on troubleshooting septic tanks:

  • Troubleshooting Problem Systems
  • Troubleshooting Septic Tanks
  • Tank Troubleshooting: Checking Inlet and Outlet Baffles
  • Troubleshooting Septic Tanks Troubleshooting: Additional Items to Check in Septic Tanks That Are Having Problems

Maintaining a Septic Tank System

WASTE MANAGEMENTD-1, Home Waste Systems, published in June 1979, 15,000 copies available.


If you already have a septic tank and absorption field built, there are various things you can do to extend their life and safeguard your investment, which could be as much as $2500 or more. Here are a few pointers that you can follow. The idea that septic tanks should be examined at least once a year is something that is frequently disregarded or neglected. The sludge that forms at the bottom of every well working septic tank is known as scum. It is necessary to clear this sludge on a regular basis since it is constituted of solid elements.

  1. By allowing sediments from the septic tank to wash out into the absorption field, the field will ultimately get clogged to the point where a new field will need to be installed.
  2. Tanks with a smaller capacity must be pumped more frequently.
  3. A number of additives may cause sediments to be drained from the septic tank into the absorption field, increasing the likelihood of clogging issues in the absorption field.
  4. The thickness of the sludge in your septic tank may be tested to assess whether or not your tank requires pumping, as depicted in Figure 1.
  5. Reduce the stick’s length by lowering it through the intake tee (to avoid scum) to the bottom of the tank.
  6. The amount of sludge present will be shown by the amount of black particles clinging to the towel.
  7. Septic tanks may occasionally generate a layer of floating scum that collects on the surface of the water.

A stick and hinged flap device can be used to determine the thickness of the scum layer (Figure 1).

Raise the stick until you can feel the bottom of the layer beneath your finger.

Use the same approach to find the lower end of the submerged input pipe at this point as well.

Septic tank pumping services are provided by contractors in the majority of towns.

The contractors pump the contents into a tank truck and dispose of them at a treatment facility that has been approved or by applying suitable land application techniques.

When pumping a septic tank, it is not advisable to wash, scrape, or disinfect the septic tank.

In a similar vein, it is not required to leave sediments in the septic tank in order to “restart” it. Normally, the natural processes begin as soon as the septic tank begins to fill. While there are products available to “seed” the system with desired bacteria, they are not required.

How Often Should A Septic Tank Be Pumped?

Rural residents frequently inquire as to how frequently they should have their septic tanks drained. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide them with a number or formula because everything is dependent. The frequency with which the tank must be pumped will be determined by the size of the tank and the amount of solids that are dumped into it. Tanks with greater capacity will require fewer pumpings in less time than tanks of lesser capacity. More significantly, if the amount of solids entering the system is kept to a minimum, the tank will have a longer interval between pumpings.

  1. Scum is formed at the top of the tank as a result of lighter material floating to the surface.
  2. When sludge and scum accumulate in the tank, the effective tank volume decreases.
  3. Furthermore, sediments might be transported to the drainfield, leading it to get clogged.
  4. Have the tank pumped by a Nebraska pumper who is licensed and insured.
  5. Under Title 124, rules set out by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) limit the maximum amount of waste that can accumulate before pumping is necessary.
  6. If you have any questions, please contact us.
  7. As a result of gathering this information, your qualified professional will be better able to identify whether or not the level of sludge and scum in your tank has reached the point where pumping is necessary.
  8. How many years have elapsed since the first pumping took place?
  9. If the amount of wastewater generated varies, repeat the operation or alter the pumping frequency.

You may take steps to reduce the amount of sediments that enter your tank. First and foremost, avoid using a waste disposal or use it only rarely. According to studies, when a waste disposal is utilized, tanks must be pumped twice as often as when they are not. Other suggestions are as follows:

  • Cigarettes, diapers, feminine hygiene items, paper towels, face tissue, and “wipes” should not be flushed down the toilet. They may not decompose completely and will lead to the formation of scum or sludge layers. Dispose of these goods in the same manner as other solid garbage. Grease and oils should not be flushed down the toilet. Grease and oils from cooking, frying, and applying skin creams contribute to the formation of a scum layer in the septic system. Instead of powdered detergents, liquid detergents should be used. Powdered detergents include “fillers,” which contribute to the formation of the sludge layer. Make use of toilet tissue that decomposes quickly. To perform the test, place a tissue sample in a jar of water, cover the jar opening with a cloth, and shake vigorously. When the jar is shaken, the toilet paper should come apart in a short period of time. Filter the washing machine’s water output pipe to catch lint and prevent it from getting into the machine. Clean in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • An effluent filter at the septic tank outflow can assist in preventing particles from entering the drainfield. Have it cleaned in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations

Wastewater and the Septic System

What is a septic tank, and how does it work? All waste from toilets, showers, sinks, and washing machines is sent to a septic tank, which is connected to a septic system for the remaining 20% of American houses and institutions that do not have sewer connections. In the first treatment of wastewater by capturing particles and settleable organic matter before dumping of the wastewater (effluent) to the drainfield, a septic tank is a large-volume, waterproof tank. Construction and operation of the septic tank are relatively straightforward; nonetheless, via the intricate interplay of physical and biological processes, the tank serves a variety of vital purposes.

  1. The following are the most important functions of a septic tank: Take care of all of the wastewater generated by the residence or institution.
  2. Reduce the amount of solids that have collected and allow them to decompose.
  3. This reasonably calm body of water allows the wastewater to be kept for a long enough period of time to allow the particles to separate through a combination of settling and flotation processes.
  4. Scum: Substances that are lighter in weight than water (oil, grease, and fats) float to the surface of the water and produce a scum layer.
  5. Aerobic bacteria are actively engaged in the digestion of floating particles.
  6. Because sludge is denser than water and fluid in nature, it settles to the bottom of the tank in a thin, flat layer.
  7. As the bacteria die, they decompose and become part of the sludge.
  8. It is the clear liquid that exists between the scum and the sludge layers.
  9. The floating scum layer on top of the tank and the sludge layer at the bottom of the tank each take up a specific proportion of the total volume of the tank’s total volume of water.
  10. As the wastewater rests in the tank, the active solids separation takes place, resulting in cleaner wastewater.
  11. In order for effective separation of solids to occur, the wastewater must be allowed to rest for an extended period of time in the tank’s quiescent conditions.

A relationship exists between effective volume and daily wastewater flow rate, and this relationship may be expressed as In this equation, retention time (days) equals effective volume (gallons) divided by flow rate (gallons per day) Sludge and scum storage require a minimum retention duration of at least 24 hours, during which half to two thirds of the tank capacity is consumed by sludge and scum storage, according to standard design rules for holding tanks.

  • Please keep in mind that this is a bare minimum retention duration under the conditions of a large accumulation of solids in the tank.
  • As sludge and scum collect and take up more space in the tank, the effective capacity of the tank steadily decreases, resulting in a shorter retention time.
  • In addition to clogged pipes and gravel in the drainfield, which is one of the most prevalent reasons of septic system failure, pathogenic bacteria and dissolved organic pollutants can develop as a result of this practice.
  • A common design rule is that one-half to two-thirds of the tank capacity should be set aside for sludge and scum collection, depending on the size of the tank.
  • In practice, however, the pace of solids collection varies significantly from one situation to another, and the real storage duration can only be established by periodic septic tank inspections.
  • While new solids are continuously being added to the scum and sludge layers, anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that do not require oxygen to survive) are consuming the organic material in the solids, allowing the process to continue.
  • Anaerobic decomposition causes a gradual reduction in the amount of collected solids in the septic tank as a result of the process.

Compaction of the older, underlying sludge also contributes to the reduction in the volume of the sludge layer.

Using EnviroZyme’sConcentrated Grease Control 10XandSeptic Treatmentproducts can help prevent non-clarified wastewater from running through an outlet that does not have adequate effective volume and/or retention time.

This successfully minimizes the number of layers in a septic tank as well as the frequency with which it must be pumped out.

The results were interesting.

This was due to the fact that natural wastewater already contains bacteria, and these bacteria gradually regained dominance in the biomass.

(Click on image to expand) In addition, we measured the carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand (cBOD) in the clear liquid component of each tank, which was approximately 10 inches below the surface of the liquid.

This implies that, once cleaned, the effluent from a septic tank will help to limit the quantity of dissolved organic pollutants that enters the surrounding environment.

(Click on image to expand) Are you interested in learning more about how our microbes can be of assistance? Fill out the customer care formhere or call 1-800-232-2847 to get in touch with a representative.

How to Check a Septic Tank

Septic tanks should be inspected at least once every five years, if not more frequently. This is something that the average homeowner may readily accomplish; the straightforward technique is explained below. A septic tank should never be accessed by a resident of the property. In addition, persons who have entered septic tanks and perished from asphyxiation due to poisonous gases have also been reported. 1. Remove the septic tank lid from the tank. The tank’s cover will be located at the far end of the tank, closest to the house.

  • The tank is often located in that direction, approximately 10 feet away from the house.
  • An oval-shaped flattening steel tank is the most common shape for steel storage tanks.
  • Tank covers made of fiberglass can be secured in place with bolts.
  • Preparing a dipstick is the second step.
  • The end of a long stick can be strengthened by attaching a flat piece of wood approximately six inches broad to the end of the staff.
  • The objective of the flat piece of wood (plate) is to acquire a “feel” for the sludge by pressing it against the surface.
  • 3.

After removing the cap, make a note of the amount of liquid remaining in the tank.

Occasionally, this will be over an inch thick and appear to be virtually solid in appearance.

This indicates that there is an issue with the tank or leach field’s outflow, if it is located above the intake baffle.

If you discover one of these conditions, you should get the system examined by a service professional.

Evaluation of the sludge After you’ve broken through the crust, if there is one, carefully lower the plate end of the stick down toward the bottom of the dish.

When the plate reaches the surface of the muck, it will encounter some resistance.

Afterwards, press the stick down into the sludge until the plate touches down at the bottom of the tank.

The depth of normal sludge ranges from one to four inches.

A firm, thick (over one inch) crust on the surface of the tank should be pushed away together with the remainder of the contents.


It is necessary to inspect the condition of the baffles to ensure that they are still in place and not rusted out.

The lower end of the baffle is located considerably above the bottom of the tank at its lowest point.



This is not always the case.

It is possible that a clogged line to the septic tank, as well as a choked leach field, are to blame for problems with toilet function and/or septic tank overflows or odours.

You should be absolutely certain that your tank is overwhelmed with sludge and/or scum and that it is in desperate need of pumping. In reality, seasonal-use tanks are rarely need to be emptied.

What are the Septic Tank Layers?

Sludge, effluent, and scum are the three layers of wastewater that make up your septic tank: sludge, effluent, and scum. You will have a perfectly functioning septic system when each of these wastewater layers is correctly balanced. As a homeowner, you should become familiar with the indications that indicate when the sludge layer has become overburdened and when your septic tank needs to be drained.

What Are The Three Layers of Wastewater?

  1. Scum is the substance that makes up the top layer of the septic system. When items like soap byproducts and cooking oils reach the top of the wastewater tank, they create this scum. Effluent is the wastewater that remains in the intermediate layer of the septic tank after the scum has risen to the top of the tank and the sludge has sunk to the bottom of the tank, which is known as the effluent layer. In certain cases, it may contain minute particles of waste items. When your septic system is operating properly, the effluent/water is released into the drain field from the tank
  2. However, this is not always the case. In your septic system, sludge makes up the lowest layer, which is made up of a substance known as sludge. In your septic tank, sludge is made up of byproducts of the breakdown of various waste materials that have been disposed of in the tank. Heavy items that sink to the bottom of the septic tank become a part of the sludge as a result.

Pumping the sludge out of your tank on a regular basis is essential for keeping your septic system in excellent operating order. Find out how often you should pump your septic tank by reading this article. The Septic Medic team may be contacted online or by phone at 570-828-7444 to book routine septic maintenance or a routine tank pumping for homeowners in Pike County, Pennsylvania, including Delaware Township and the surrounding suburbs of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Septic Emergency? Contact us immediately at570-828-7444

Services Provided by Septic Medics:

  • Septic System Pumping and Tank Cleaning
  • Repair of a Clogged Drainor Septic System Back Up
  • Septic System Maintenance for Tanks
  • Septic System Pumping and Tank Cleaning Leach Fields
  • Septic Tank Repair or Replacement
  • Septic Tank Maintenance

Fogles Online Septic Scheduling

THE SYSTEM OF HOUSEHOLD PLUMBING AND WASTE DISPOSAL If you are like the majority of people, you are completely unaware of the workings of your septic tank system. This is very understandable. In urban and suburban regions, sewers are in place to transport home trash to municipal wastewater treatment facilities for treatment. In more rural regions, however, septic tank systems serve as both sewers and treatment facilities, allowing them to perform both duties. All of the trash generated by a household is disposed of through the septic system.

Answer the following questions to determine whether or not you are knowledgeable enough about your septic system.

  • Are you familiar with what a septic tank is and how it functions? Is it possible to tell me what sort of soil absorption area you have and how it functions? Is it possible for you to tell me why septic systems fail? Do you know how much it costs to replace a septic system that has failed? How well do you understand the principles of keeping a septic system from failing? Were you aware that septic systems that have failed or are failing contribute to pollution?

These are really important questions. The answers to these questions have a significant impact on the health of your family as well as the value of your house. The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” has never been more applicable than when it comes to septic tank maintenance. A simple investment in the upkeep of your septic system can provide you with endless protection against the horror that may result from a failed system. This brochure will strive to provide you with a clear image of the treatment of home waste from the drain line to the soil.

An on-site sewage treatment and disposal system, the septic tank system is a modest system that is buried in the ground.

Around 1900, the septic tank was granted a patent in London.

Precast concrete, concrete blocks, or reinforced fiberglass are commonly used to construct contemporary septic tanks, which are waterproof containers. When household waste enters the septic tank, a number of events take place:

  1. Organic solid material floats to the top and accumulates to produce a coating of material known as “scum.” A biological transformation takes place in the septic tank, when bacteria turn the solid waste to liquid
  2. Solid items that are inorganic or inert, as well as by-products of bacterial digestion, fall to the bottom of the tank and produce a layer known as “sludge.” Between the scum and sludge layers, there should be no more than pure water. Overflowing into the soil absorption region should be limited to only this clear water, and only this clear water should be allowed to do so.

Whenever possible, solid material should be kept from spilling into the soil absorption region. Solids overflow clogs soil pores, causing systems to fail as a result of the clogging of pores. There are two primary elements that contribute to the accumulation of solid material to the point where it overflows:

  1. Bacterial deficit, as well as a shortfall in sludge removal

Bacteria must be present in the septic tank in order for the organic material to be broken down and digested. The bacteria present in normal home trash are sufficient to digest the material, unless the bacteria themselves are harmed in some way. Bacteria are extremely sensitive to changes in their environment. Examine the labels of things that you use on a regular basis in your household. Bacteria will be harmed by products that contain strong warning labels such as “HARMFUL OR FATAL IF SWALLOWED.” Even when used according to package recommendations, the following regularly used home care items can lower the bacteria population essential for effective septic tank operation:

  • Detergents, bleaches, cleaning agents, disinfectants, acids, sinktub cleansers
  • Toilet cleaners, polishes, and caustic drain openers are all examples of household chemicals.

When people flush these things down the toilet, they rarely consider the impact that they have on the septic tank system that holds them. What type of impact do you believe anti-septics have on the health of your septic system? Bacteria are required in order for the scum to be digested. Scum will build up until it floods the drain, which will obstruct the soil absorption area if it is not digested. The sludge in the septic tank is composed primarily of inorganic and inert materials, which are not biodegradable and will not break down.

  • Detergents, bleaches, cleaning agents, disinfectants, acids, sinktub cleansers
  • Toilet cleaners, polishes, and caustic drain openers are all examples of household chemicals.

When people flush these things down the toilet, they rarely consider the impact that they have on the septic tank system that holds them. What type of impact do you believe anti-septics have on the health of your septic system? Bacteria are required in order for the scum to be digested. Scum will build up until it floods the drain, which will obstruct the soil absorption area if it is not digested. The sludge in the septic tank is composed primarily of inorganic and inert materials, which are not biodegradable and will not break down.

  1. Drainage pits – sometimes known as drywalls or cesspools – are constructed of precast concrete or concrete block, depending on the use.
  2. Some older systems consist merely of a drainage pit or cesspool, which is a waste disposal system.
  3. MAINTENANCE OF THE SEPTIC SYSTEM According to the Public Health Service of the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, ” “A septic tank system will only provide satisfactory service to a residence if it has been properly planned, constructed, and maintained.
  4. Septic system maintenance is comprised of two straightforward tasks.
  5. The frequency with which the tank is emptied is determined by the size of the tank, the amount of use it receives, and the overall condition of the system.
  7. This will block the system, and it will need to be replaced, which will be extremely expensive and inconvenient for everyone involved.

If bacteria-killing chemicals are used in the house – as they generally are – it is important to restore the bacteria population.

The solids can then accumulate to a dangerous level and overflow into the soil absorption region.

Your septic tank might be overflowing with solid stuff right now, and you won’t realize it until the solid material has completely blocked the soil absorption system, making it impossible to drain any more.

The reality is that an unattended system WILL become clogged; it WILL overflow; it WILL emit an offensive stench; it WILL taint and destroy the environment.

The initial “problem” involving a septic system – a blockage or overflow – is frequently the harbinger of a deteriorating trend.


He can tell you what sort of soil absorption system you have based on the information you provide.

CCLS liquid bacteria/enzyme septic system therapy is available if there is evidence of bacterial inadequacy – for example, excessively thick scum on the surface of the tank or solid accumulation inside the tank.

ccls also includes reproductive bacteria, which provide ongoing assistance in solids digestion and settling, suspended solids removal, and odor management, among other things.

If your septic system is not properly maintained, it may fail, necessitating excavation and repair or replacement.

Which option makes the most sense to you?

If your septic system is properly planned, implemented, and maintained, it should survive for a very long period of time.

Isn’t it past time to get back into your normal pumping and ccls routine?

Don’t forget to protect them and make sure they don’t go forgotten.

a.The crust is made up of biological matter that has solidified and hardened into a solid mass.

Inquire with your contractor about if your tank need pumping or ccls to avoid future problems.

Is it possible that it has already reached capacity?

Septic tanks are meant to be fully operational in order to achieve adequate water/solids separation.


This material must be pushed out of the building.

Why should I begin servicing my vehicle now?

Make a phone call to your contractor and describe your system.

In addition, I have a terrible stench and soft earth in my backyard on occasion.

Are these indications of a septic system failure or anything else? A.These might be indicators of a failing septic system, or they could be signs of something else. In order to resolve these issues, speak with your contractor. Important Pointers for Maintaining a Healthy Septic System (PDF)

  • Don’t put too much strain on your septic system. Water should be used sparingly. If at all feasible, only complete laundry and dishwashing loads during off-peak hours
  • Do not pour oil from the kitchen down the drain. Do not flush cigarettes, sanitary napkins, disposable diapers, or other inorganic waste down the toilet
  • Instead, use the garbage disposal. Do not flush gasoline, oil, antifreeze, paint, paint thinner, insecticides, or other hazardous materials down the toilet. Use your waste disposal sparingly, or increase the frequency of your septic system’s maintenance. Check for leaks in all of your plumbing fittings. If you believe that roots are obstructing your pipes, consult with your contractor. Due to growing usage of water softeners, the maintenance schedule for septic systems must be expanded.

DOSAGES THAT ARE RECOMMENDED To maintain septic tanks and cesspools, use at least 2 oz. of chlorine bleach in the toilet bowl every week. Drains and pipes should be treated with 2 oz. ccls once a week to avoid accumulation and odor. Apply 2 oz. ccls once a week straight to garbage disposal to prevent accumulation and odor from developing. Systems that are older or overtaxed: Consult with your contractor to determine the optimum dose for your system. OTHER APPLICATIONS OF cclclswill effectively remove the majority of pet stains and smells from carpets and other surfaces.

cclscan be used as a laundry presoak to remove food stains as well as urine and fecal stains from clothing.

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