SEPTIC TANKS, SUNSHINE and SPRING!

The sun is out this week and oh has it been GLORIOUS!!!! Feels like spring!  But is it?  I’m always a bit hesitant to enjoy this kind of weather too much for fear I will scare it away!  Made me think of a meme I have seen floating around social media….

It’s funny…kind of.  I guess the truth can hurt and be funny at the same time, right?!  I worry we are currently experiencing the “spring of deception” — Mother Nature’s cruel joke before she bombards us once again with her cold icy breath.  Maybe we will luck out, but I’m bracing myself just the same.

What does that have to do with septic tanks?  Well, when the sun comes out more people tend to call and want their septic tanks pumped.  In fact, all week I have had a bad case of phone ear.  It really is crazy what the weather will make people do.  I used to see it in my classroom when I was teaching middle school science, now I see it in my customers!  We are all creatures who respond to the weather — young and old!  No matter the weather, we can pump septic tanks so long as we can get to them, however, the sunny and dry weather does make that job a lot easier.  

As I have stated in many other posts, there is a lot you can do to take care of you septic system, but probably the best thing to do is pump your septic tank regularly.  

Here’s why…

The diagram above shows what an average septic tank contains on a daily basis.  You will see sewage or wastewater comes in from the house, then liquid, sludge and scum get trapped in the tank, and finally wastewater that seeps to the laterals field.

Though you may find all these components completely gross, it’s actually important that each are there in their respective amounts.  However, what’s most important is to regularly pump the solids out.  

Just like you change the oil on your car to get the bad stuff out, your septic system needs the same type of care.  If the solids that collect at the bottom of the tank aren’t cleaned out from time to time, they can build up and seep out to the lateral field.  You do not want this!  If you can think of your lateral field as being a giant sponge, the solids that seep out to the “sponge” can clog it up and reduce the life of your system.

It is recommended that your tank be pumped every 3 – 5 years based on activity level.  Therefore, the more people who live in your home, the more frequently you need to have it pumped.  Families of four or more need to be on a 3-year cycle (maybe even 2 years if you entertain a lot).  If it is just you and your spouse, you could probably go every 5 years between pumpings.  The main idea is to make sure you do it regularly.  

When we come to pump, we are after the solids in the tank.  We will take all the water with us, but we want to clean out the solids (your poo, toilet paper, garbage disposal remnants, etc.) so they don’t become to excessive over time.  Within 3-4 days after pumping, your tank will fill back up again with water due to normal usage in the house.  That is normal.  Your tank is always full with water to function properly.  Then, after about 3-5 years, your tank will need pumping again.

Even though the nice, sunny and spring-like weather makes it more desirable to pump your tank, we can pump year-round as long as we can gain access to them.  Some tanks are far enough from the road or driveway that we have to drive on a yard or in a corn or bean field.  Weather (be it snow or rain) can impede that process, therefore, we have to make sure it is dry or frozen before pumping tanks in locations such as those mentioned above.  Also, if the access hole/lid to the tank is buried, frozen ground can be a bit of an issue too.  Just like everything else in this industry, Mother Nature predicts how easy it will be! But sunshine and spring weather sure make pumping a dream! (Well, if you’re into pumping septic that is…)

If you have more questions about tank pumping or septic maintenance (or if you’re just looking for an entertaining way to spend your Friday night….), check out our website at www.southwickliquidwaste.com and click on the TIPS button!  It’s sure to be the best 10 minutes of your life learning about wastewater and more!