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Pumping Septic tank - Questions

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by bsa0021, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. bsa0021

    bsa0021 Feeling the Heat

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    I want to get my tanks pumped and I want to make sure I get someone that does the job correctly. Is there anything I should ask when I call someone or is pumping pretty striaght forward. Do they rinse out the tanks and do I supply the water from my well or should they bring in water? Thanks! I have not had any trouble w/my system but should I have a effluent filter installed at the time of pumping?

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  2. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    They just suck out the lower most solids from the tank. They shouldn't need your water. When its open they should inspect for the baffle condition.
  3. Retreadsme

    Retreadsme Member

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    If it's done properly they will get practically all sludge out, but to do so will require using some of your water most likely. If they do a "sloppy" job, they'll leave about a foot of sludge and say that's to help the bacteria to start. I've never seen a "honey wagon" bring fresh water. If your field lines are not having problems I don't see why an effluent filter would be required. The main thing is to pump the tank routinely (every 2 - 5 yrs depending on size of tank and number of folks in the house).
  4. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    Generally they will pump down the tank a portion of the way and then use a gas powered long shaft mixer to break up the settled solids in the bottom of the tank before pumping it out entirely. Most of the them inspect the baffles with a mirror. They usually can determine if the tank was overflowed which usually means that solids may have entered the field. If they see this, they may want to locate the distribution box out in the field and inspect it for solids carryover.

    By the way, if you dont know where the tank cover is, find it in advance as many firms will charge to locate it if it takes more than few minutes.
  5. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Contact your local environmental services office, as it likely has info or a brochure on proper pumping. Another procedure used is mostly pump out the tank, and then pump at high velocity effluent from the truck to break up any sludge on the bottom, and then completely pump out the tank. There is no need to leave anything in the tank. The bottom and sides are bacteria rich, as is the p**p you flush into the tank. If you are present, you will have the opportunity to look into the tank when the cover is removed and verify that the pumper did her job. Other than discoloration, you should be able to see the sides and bottom of the tank
  6. Retreadsme

    Retreadsme Member

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    Just wanted to mention that around here (NW TN), if the owner provides access to the lids the pumper guys take off $100 and charge $200 for tank cleanout, but if they have to break out the shovel to open the lids then the cost is $300. Somewhat of an encouragement to do my own digging.
  7. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    They've asked me to shovel off the lid if required but not remove it.
    They've also asked for water, but only to rinse the suction hose, hands and shoes.
  8. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I recently had it done too.
    That's one big heavy truck.
    The tires turning in the driveway chewed up the gravel.
    Now it's asphalt, and the driver said he'd back down the driveway.
  9. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I had this done a couple years ago. The previous owner NEVER had the tank pumped out.
    I had to dig about 2' down and find the lid on the tank, which was hot tarred into place.
    I had the hole dug, and had the company come out and install a riser with lid, and got the tank pumped out for about $300.00.
    After seeing how they installed the riser, I would do it myself next time. I did all the hard work digging the hole, which was undisturbed rocky clay earth.
    He got that tank spic & span clean, and did use my hole to hose down the walls & bottom to clean out every bit of sludge. Did a real good job.
    All in all, it wasn't too costly. Since I finally gained my freedom and fly solo, I am going to go 5 years and see how it looks.
  10. vvvv

    vvvv New Member

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    tank shouldnt be cleaned "spic & span" cause residual bacteria should be left behind. some leftover sludge provides such i think. i'd buy a box of rid-x & flush, which is the digestive bacteria i think.
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Sorry, totally false on all counts. Tank should be totally cleaned and either left totally empty or refilled with clean water. The first turd has all the bacteria you'll need. Further, rid-x is a scam and is never needed to "help" your tank do its job.

    Any pumper that doesn't pump the entire tank empty is doing a half-a$$ed job and knows it. His disposal costs are directly related to volume and ripping you off by leaving anything in the tank is directly increasing his profits. The sludge on the bottom is important to remove but so is the floating scum layer on the top. Both will ruin your drainfield. Using the pumped junk in his truck to backwash the tank is fine so long as he leaves your tank empty at the end.

    I really like the effluent filters. They are no trouble unless you send junk towards your drainfield and then they clog. That clog lets you know that you waited too long to have your tank pumped and saved you the expense of a new drainfield. Too many septic system owners just wait until the system fails to do maintenance, without a filter the failure will be very expensive.
  12. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    X2,
    thank you for saving me the time of typing a similar response Hihgbeam.
    But I'll add my 2 cents anyways.
    It takes practically no time for the bacteria to multiply and do it's thing.
    The main purpose of pumping a tank out is to get the sludge that has built up off the bottom. The next important part is getting out any floating debris that should have not have been flushed down the toilet in the first place, cig butts, tampons, baby wipes etc, to keep them from finding their way into the leech pipes and clogging them.
    The rest finds its way yo the leech field. Pretty much common sense.
  13. bsa0021

    bsa0021 Feeling the Heat

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    Good information. Thanks everyone!
  14. vvvv

    vvvv New Member

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  15. Lucky Phil

    Lucky Phil New Member

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    Good info, Blimp...thanks.
  16. schwaggly

    schwaggly Member

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    septic guy just left and told me I had a tremendous amout of animal fat in my system and the only way to treat it is with his special treatment called "boost" I declined.
    He told me that we are putting alot of gravies and left over food into our system, funny thing is I cook and clean up after 95% of our meals and I scrape everything into the barrel
    then wipe the containers or pans with a paper towel and put that into a barrel. The tank was pumped pretty darn clean and didn't smell horrific. Any thoughts on the fatty deposits
    or was he just trying to put me over said barrel? I'm going to check on wife and daughters hair products for collagen and stuff.
  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    If he had showed you the fat accumulation I would be more inclided to trust him. The fact that he was trying to sell you on a "solution" without showing you the problem leads me to believe that he is crooked.

    It's no big deal to stop pumping for a moment to show you the lard. The lard would have been in the floating scum layer on top of the tank as soon as he opened the lid. On a well cared for system as you describe, this white scum layer is nearly non-existent.

    In no case is his additive recommended.
  18. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Do you have a grey water and black water set up or just one line?
  19. vvvv

    vvvv New Member

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    the stuff is an enzyme which claims to break up fat to make it more digestible for the tank bacteria ithinx not unlike detergents?
  20. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Really should never need to pump it out if its working right....Nice to be able to when there's is an issue.
  21. vvvv

    vvvv New Member

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    wrong! solids & or floaties can plug the leechfield
  22. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Then everything would not be working correctly.
  23. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Another thing I just thought of is that the first time I had it pumped out the air was super stinky. The second time, not so much. The septic guy said it was because it was cooler the second time.
  24. bsa0021

    bsa0021 Feeling the Heat

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    Since I posted this, I now have a grey water system for the laundry.
  25. bsa0021

    bsa0021 Feeling the Heat

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    Bad advice! Read "the Septic System Owner's manual and you will see the logic in pumping.

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