While your septic tank cleaning experience may vary between service providers, here are a few things that should happen during all septic tank cleanings.
- Tank access lids exposed – Tanks installed after the late 1980s have two compartments, and both lids need to be exposed so that both compartments can be pumped. Some companies require the lids to be exposed before they arrive, while others will uncover them for you (they may or may not do this for a fee).
- Tank access lids opened – Opening the lids is not always easy, and sometimes they have to be pried up. Sometimes lids break due to corrosion or a lack of reinforcement. Most pumpers carry extra lids, and they are easy to replace.
- Tank pumped – The pumper will remove liquids and solids from the septic tank with the hose connected to their vacuum truck. In rare cases, the sludge may be so thick that all the solids are not removable; however, in most cases the pumper can and should remove all the solids from the tank.
- Tank washed out – The pumper should rinse the septic tank with water to attempt to remove the most amount of solids possible.
- Tank visually inspected – The pumper should check the tank for roots and corrosion. They should also check the septic tank baffles and make sure the dividing wall is secure.
- Tank lids closed and re-covered – Most tanks are buried six to 12 inches deep. If your tank is buried deeper than normal, your pumper may recommend installing risers, which brings the lid closer to the surface of the ground for easier access during future maintenance.
A provider who offers a slightly different process than this is likely a reliable person, but don’t take any chances — here are questions to ask when hiring a septic pumping company. If something doesn’t feel right, you’ll know.
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