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FAQ Answered: When Should I Pump My Septic Tank?

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There is a common misconception that you only pump your tank when it is “full.” This is only partially true. Let’s use an example to explain this. Your septic tank is 1,000 gallons with a normal liquid level of 1,000 gallons. Your tank was just cleaned and emptied. Once you use 1,000 gallons by flushing the commode, taking showers, doing dishes or laundry, the tank will again be filled to its normal level. This may only take a few days or a week to happen. If you were only pumping the tank when it becomes “full,” you would need to pump it every week.

Thankfully, that’s not how the septic system works. After the tank is filled to the outlet pipe, excess liquid flows out of the pipe to the drainfield. The more you use your septic system, the quicker sludge accumulates in the tank. Pump tanks for maintenance only after sludge accumulates in the tank. For more information on how often you should pump your tank for maintenance click here.

If you originally pumped the tank because the tank was overflowing (the liquid level in the tank is higher than normal/ “backed up”) and it is overflowing again, this is sign that your drainfield is not accepting your household usage of wastewater. Check for:

  • Dripping faucets
  • Running commodes
  • Malfunctioning water softeners

These could cause the absorption area to flood. If you find there are none of these, more investigation may be needed to discover the cause of system failure and find a remedy.

The average life of a septic system is approximately 25 years, depending on its usage and maintenance. If your tank is overflowing and your system is near or past the average lifespan, you may need a new septic system.

If you find yourself in need of a new septic system, we’d like to help. We have in-house site evaluators, a registered sanitarian, and TCEQ Installers. Van Delden Wastewater Systems can handle the entire process for you — everything from system design to installation and required paperwork. Contact us today for a consultation!


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