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How Often Should My Septic Tank be Cleaned?

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How often do I clean my septic tank?

“How often should my septic tank be cleaned?” is one of the most common questions we receive here at Van Delden Wastewater Systems. And the answer: it depends.

Septic tank cleaning frequency factors

The frequency with which septic tank cleaning is needed depends on the number of occupants that contribute to adding waste to the septic tank, as well as the size of the tank. The more occupants, the faster solids accumulate in the tank, and the more often the septic tank needs to be cleaned.

Septic tank cleanings are imperative to septic systems’ longevity

The purpose of the septic tank is to separate the wastewater from the solid waste and allow only the wastewater to enter the drainfield. Heavier solids settle to the bottom of the tank and become sludge, while the lighter waste settles to the top and becomes scum; the wastewater is drawn out the tank from the middle of the two layers.

Over time these two layers thicken to the point where they come together in the middle of the tank. Once this occurs, sludge and scum leave the septic tank and enter the drainfield, which causes the soil and drainfield to clog.

This is usually a slow process, and you won’t know it’s happening until your septic tank drainfield clogs to the point of failure and begins to back up.

Once the solids accumulate to the point that they begin entering the drainfield, pumping out the septic tank will not reverse the process — a septic pumping should be done before solids enter the drainfield.

You don’t wait to change your oil until your car breaks down, do you? The same basic theory applies to a septic system and its maintenance!

Schedule your septic tank cleaning before there’s a problem

The majority of septic tanks are buried underground, so there are usually no “signs” that indicate it is time for a septic tank cleaning (if liquid is bubbling up into your yard, this is a sign of a much bigger problem, and we encourage you not to wait to call for help).

On average, it is recommended to pump your septic tank every three to five years. This number can vary, however, based on the size of your septic tank and how many people are using it.

Van Delden Wastewater Systems is happy to help you keep your septic tank on a routine septic pumping schedule. We send reminder cards to our customers just like your dentist does, only it’s for a different kind of “cleaning.”

If you live in the San Antonio or Boerne area and would like to be reminded when it’s time for a septic tank pumping, feel free to contact us online or give us a call at 830.249.4000 (Boerne) or 210.698.2000 (San Antonio).


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