Septic System FAQs About Septic Tank Pumping

If you have never gotten your septic tank pumped, you may be unsure of the process of septic tank pumping or why it is so important for septic system health.  This FAQ will answer all of your common questions and make sure you are well-educated when it comes time for your next septic tank pumping.

Why do I need to pump my septic tank?

Getting your septic tank pumped is essential to maintaining the overall health of your septic system. Your septic system is designed to have waste and heavier substances settle at the bottom of the tank- this is called the sludge layer.  If this sludge layer builds up too much, there will be backup in your septic system. Backup leads to poor absorption around the septic tank and eventually clogged pipes in your home.


What does my septic tank do?

A septic tank is designed to separate the heavy waste (sludge) from the light waste, such as oil and grease (scum).  The sludge moves to the bottom of the septic tank, while the scum moves to the top of the septic tank. This prevents leakage and overflow of waste products.  The septic tank makes sure all of the waste from your septic system is in one place so that it is easier to maintain.


How do I get my septic tank pumped?

In order to get your septic tank pumped, contact a professional. A professional will then come to your property with all of the appropriate equipment and pump your tank for you.


What takes place during septic tank pumping?

During a septic tank pumping, the professional technician that comes to your house will pump out all of the sludge and scum contents of your septic tank; the professional will do this using special equipment.  Then, the technician will conduct a routine inspection to check the bacteria levels in your septic system to ensure it is balanced. And, then the professional will flush the toilets to ensure proper septic system flow. The professional will provide you with a detailed update or report at the end of service.


Will there be an odor during septic tank pumping?

There is a potential for odors to escape from the septic tank during and after pumping. But, the odors will not last long and are not a cause for concern.


How often do I need to get my septic tank pumped?

It is important to note that septic systems should be pumped every three to five years.[1]  Septic tank pumping services help you to avoid costly and inconvenient repairs to your septic tank or cesspool. Getting your tank pumped every three to five years can dramatically extend the life of your septic system and prevent septic system replacement.


I’m selling my house- do I need to get my septic tank pumped and do I need an inspection?

In Massachusetts, you need a Title 5 Inspection before selling your home. Title 5 Inspections are mandatory for anyone in Massachusetts who is planning to sell, refinance, or retitle a property, either residential or commercial. The inspection also may be required if you are planning to renovate or remodel a property. A Title 5 inspection will help determine if your septic system is running properly and if it needs to be pumped or not. It will also evaluate the system to ensure it is structurally sound and secure.


What are some ways to contribute to the overall health of my septic tank so pumping is easier?

The last thing you want or need is an overfull, smelling, malfunctioning, or broken septic tank. In order to keep your system in top condition, there are a few little tasks you can implement into your routine.  Make sure to conserve water usage throughout your house, don’t flush anything besides toilet paper and waste down the drains, and use less chemical cleaning products. These simple, easy, and quick fixes will prevent clogged pipes and overflowing septic tanks.

If you still have questions about septic tank pumping, or are looking to book a service, be sure to contact a professional.