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Finding a Qualified Company to Pump Your Septic Tank

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A septic system is expensive to replace which is why it is extremely important to make sure it is properly maintained. By foregoing regular maintenance, it can become subject to a number of challenges including heavy sludge, roots in tank, lid location, and lid accessibility. This not only affects how easy or difficult it is to clean a septic tank, but can also give an unscrupulous septic pumper an excuse to not clean your septic tank properly.

Choosing a reputable septic maintenance provider is the first, and quite possibly the most important, step to take before pumping your septic tank. There are plenty of companies out there, but how can you make sure you’re hiring the right one?

Here are some questions you can ask, related to pricing and business practices, that can help ensure hiring the right company for the job.

Examine the Company

How long has the company been in business? How much experience do they have cleaning tanks?

Generally, the longer a company has been in business and the more experience they have pumping septic tanks, the more knowledgeable service you will receive. Ask friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations. You can also look on online reviews and referrals through sites like Yelp and Angie’s List.

Does the company carry General Liability and Workers Compensation Insurance?

These insurances protect you, the homeowner, from being held responsible should the company employee be injured on your property.

Is the company registered with the TCEQ and SAWS for hauling wastewater?

Check to see if the company is registered with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the San Antonio Water System (or whichever local system you are a part of). These licenses indicate that the company is honest and disposes of waste in a legal and safe manner.

As the generator of the waste, you hold the ultimate responsibility for proper waste disposal. After your waste is properly disposed of, the company who pumped your tank is required to provide you with a disposal manifest.

Examine the Pricing

Does the price include finding the tank and exposing the lid(s)?

Most tanks installed after 1987 will have two lids that require digging to properly clean both compartments of the tank. Some companies only pump out one of the compartments and charge extra for digging up the lids. They also charge extra for extra hoses if they have to use them.

Does the price include dumping fees?

Some companies charge separately or additionally for dumping.

Does the price include any additional time on site due to locating the tank or a tank with very heavy sludge?

A normal septic tank cleaning should take less than 1 hour; extra charges may apply if the tank is hard to locate, buried deeper than normal, or has very heavy sludge. Make sure you are aware of any additional charges before you hire a company to pump your tank.

Do they accept credit cards?

Some companies accept only cash or check for services rendered.

Examine their Practices

What methods are used to locate the tank?

The most common methods used to locate a tank includes a probe and metal detector. However, if a tank is difficult to find, or they suspect that it may be located under a deck, patio, driveway, etc., a flushable electronic locator can be used to help find the tank.

Are their hoses long enough to reach the tank without driving over your lawn?

A vacuum truck that carries more hose can usually pump the tank from the street or your driveway which prevents the company from  having to drive on your lawn to get right to the tank.

Do they carry extra lids on the truck in case yours breaks?

Some lids are not constructed with much reinforcement and break easily when removed. Some lids that are sealed to the tank and must be broken up to be removed. If the lid is cracked or broken and poses a safety hazard, the lid should be replaced.

Do they check the inside of the tank for baffles, walls, cracks, leaks, roots, etc.?

Each time the tank is cleaned, the pumper should check for any problems in your tank.

Do they pump the tank though the tank lid(s) or the cleanout?

Proper cleaning can only be accomplished through the tank lid(s).

If you have a two compartment tank, do they pump out both compartments?

Untrustworthy companies may only pump out one compartment of your septic tank, as they count of the fact that most homeowners aren’t aware that they may have two compartments, yet they charge you for the whole tank.

Do they pump out all the solids or just the liquids?

Tanks with heavy sludge take some work to remove the solids. Some companies will only pump out the liquids, or whatever is easily removable.

Do they wash out the tank after it is pumped?

Both the solids and the liquids should be removed from the tank, then the tank should be rinsed with water.

Will they remind you the next time your tank should be cleaned?

Companies that keep thorough pumping records should have a system in place to remind you to pump out your septic tank every three to five years.

We are septic experts

Van Delden Wastewater Systems has been family owned and operated since 1937. We pump over 2,000 tanks per year, and our expertise is unrivaled.

Our pumpers are well trained and experienced. We pump septic tanks the right way, every time. Our pumpers are not on commission, so we will never sell you something you don’t need. We routinely check the inside of the tank for baffles, roots, walls, leaks, backup, etc. and keep accurate records so we can remind our customers when it is time to have their tank cleaned again.

We are licensed by the TCEQ and SAWS for waste hauling, and only dump waste in a legal manner. We carry general liability and workers compensation insurance for the protection of our customers.

If you would like a quote, more information, or if you would like us to remind you when it’s time to have your tank cleaned, please contact us. We would be happy to assist you.


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