Misconceptions of Septic Systems

You never have to have the septic tank pumped.
As the septic system is used, the solids (sludge) accumulate on the bottom of the septic tank(s). When the sludge level increases, sewage has less time to settle properly before leaving the tank through the outlet pipe and a greater percent of suspended solids escape into the absorption area. If sludge accumulates too long, no settling of the solids will occur, and the solids will be able to directly enter the absorption area. These solids will clog the distribution lines and soil and cause serious and expensive problems for the homeowner. To prevent this, the tank must be pumped out on a regular basis.

If you use additives you don’t have to have the tank pumped.
The claims made by companies that sell additives are that you never have to pump your tank. What the products do is break up the scum and sludge so that there is a greater percent of suspended solids in the tank that then flow down the over flow pipe with the effluent to your absorption area, causing your system to fail. The absorption area is designed to treat water or effluent, not solids. The septic tank is designed to contain and treat the solids and they should remain in the tank. It is much less costly to pump your tank on a routine basis than ultimately having to replace your absorption area.

It takes years between having the tank pumped for the septic tank to fill to its capacity.
The average usage for a family of four will fill a septic tank to its working capacity of 1000 – 1500 gallons in approximately one week. When the contents (liquids and solids) in the tank reaches the level of the overflow pipe, the effluent flows down the overflow pipe to the absorption area every time water is used in the house. The tank works at this full level until it is emptied when it is pumped again.

When the alarm for the pump sounds it means you need to pump your tank.
If you have a system designed with a pump to pump the effluent to the absorption area you also have an alarm for the septic system. The alarm sounds when the water level rises in the pump tank and alerts you that there is a malfunction with your pump, float switches, or other component in the pump tank. It does not mean that it is time for a routine pumping of your tank.

Septic System Information