Septic systems were never intended for lifetime use without
maintenance. Neglecting maintenance of system components
only leads to failures. When properly designed, installed, and
maintained, septic systems have a minimum life expectancy of
20 to 30 years.
~ Pipeline – Winter 2005; Vol.16, No.1e, Pg. 2
I recommend system maintenance yearly (ideally),
every-other-year or every-three-years depending on your tank's
size and usage.
Maintenance consists of:
1) Digging up the lids
2) Cleaning the tank's filter
3) Adjusting the distribution box (if you have one)
4) Determining if the tank needs to be pumped (check the scum
and sludge levels)
5) Arranging pumping service if necessary. Pumping is an
additional fee. Usually $200-$500 depending on your tank
size and location.
After one or two maintenance calls I can usually help you
estimate how often to pump your tank. Most tanks need
pumping every 3-5 years depending on their size and the amount
You are welcome to watch me, ask questions, take notes, take
pictures and take video so you can perform your own maintenance
in future years.
System maintenance is much easier than people think.
Honestly, if you like working in the yard, yearly septic tank
maintenance is not that much more work than breaking a sweat
doing gardening—with a little more stink.
I have detailed four different ways to help you determine when
your tank needs to be pumped.