Hmm, I'm trying to see why you would think that.
Perhaps because you've been doing it a different way, and it
costs over a hundred dollars every time.
First time I had it open, I installed a 4" PVC connection to the
surface with a cap.
Every couple of years, open the cap, dip the Judge, dump the
contents, close the cap, come back to it in a couple of years.
Yeah, maybe for the sake of the local economy, I should have
had it pumped like you. But I knew there would be others that
would make up for me. In fact, there were many that told how
they had theirs pumped every year, and never had a bit of trouble.
By golly, I'm glad for them, and you, too.
But the original poster was asking for information about care
and feeding of a septic system. I think that information has
been provided, along with the awareness that there are many
different opinions, and ways to spend money.
Huh? You pull the cap, and instantly, you can see relevant information. Is
there a crust? How close is the crust to the top of the tank? When you
poke the crust, how thick is it? When you insert a pole into the tank, what
is the resistance?
THEN, you pump it.
THEN, you inspect to see how much solid sediment is in the bottom of the
tank, and whether the holes leading to the leach lines are blocked. And to
see if the leach lines are blocked, how bad and how far and if you need to
clean them out.
Have you ever had a septic system? Sounds like not.
Not to throw anyone under the bus but my research concluded those "high
efficency" front loading washers really do not use that much less water per
load. I think the HE only refers to energy use, not sure though since I
have not researched that aspect of it, only the water usage.
For a great resource on septic stuff check this book out:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Also, I agree, get it pumped and inspected before closing on the property,
but do it with a vendor that YOU chooose and pay for not the seller. That
way the company will be responsible to you not the seller. Also,
repump/inspect just under one year after purchase to check for any problems,
don't wait the three. After the initial pump, and the one year
'anniversary' pump, the vendor would be able to advise a schedule. It all
depends on size of tank, amount/type of usage, and certainly the amount of
solids going into the tank.
The true cost is typically cheaper than paying for utility sewer rates.
You just have to pay for work on it now and then. Periodic pumping (per
tables you can find on the Web). A drainfield should last decades, then
costs $1000s to redo, but then you've saved all those sewerage fees, right?
Think of it as do-it-yourself sewage treatment.
A typical tank may be 1,000 gallons, maybe 1,500.
Sludge reduces the operating capacity, so that suspended
solids are discharged quicker, exposing the drainage field to
It all depends on how the system is managed, and if you treat
it as a living system, you are not likely to need to have it pumped
often, or at all.
First thing I did after our first and only pumping was to use the 4"
opening in the top of the tank. I opened the cap, and used that
when I wanted to check on the sludge status. I was working
for the county health dept at the time, I used a tube made for the
purpose (trade name "Sludge Judge"). It's a handy tool, but way
overpriced. But if it keeps you from deciding to have your tank
pumped ONCE, it's more than paid for itself. Or it could be the
basis for having it done.
Sorry, but there are a few professionals in the tank pumping
business, and a lot of amateurs. When it's pumped, the SLUDGE
needs to be removed. Best way I knew to see that happen was
to remove the tank cover. I probed the tank to know where to dig.
Lot easier for them to just poke their pipe down and start pumping
whatever worked its way to the pipe, but you should be able to
understand the difference.
A typical recommendation is for a pumping every 3-5 years.
I did what was necessary, including keeping track of sludge level,
and never had it pumped after moving in.
By the way, when schools on an aerated tank are going to be
closed all summer, they will frequently flush down dog food for
the little bugglings to eat. Same applies to a homeowner going on
In pennsylvania new devlopment in a watershed, natural drainage area
means not just the new buildings but ALL properties get sewage in that
watershed, you pay a cost per foot for frontage, a tap in cost often 5
grand, and then if your still usiung a well they flat rate you for
sewage or meter your well.
around here sewage is at least TWICE the cost of water per thousand
used, and new requirements to prevent water infiltration during rain
is making sewer companies replace all their lines, add storage tanks
for peak flow averaging and theres talk of getting every homes line
camera inspection at time of home sale, and mandatory replacement if
theres breaks or tree roots. nearly every terracota line has tree
roots in it, which means water is getting in too.. thus line bad.
the plumbers are just waiting to swoop in this will be a bonanza $$$
for them, sewer line, yard restoration, new sidewalks and driveways.
Or getting lines cleaned and plastic liners installed, which
reportedly cost nearly as much but save the tearing up of yard.
the trouble here is that during heavy rains floods the leaky lines see
manhoile covers fly in air, sewage all over streets and into streams
and rivers. its a real safety hazard, I saw a articlke statiung that
the 10 year cost locally is in the billions, sewage rates are rising.
MTSA my sewer company replaced the main line on our street, it was
Yep, combined sewer systems are going to be eliminated
a little at a time, and it's gonna be seriously costly.
The old systems were designed to collect stormwater and
sewage, many newer ones have simply gone into disrepair
and have become combined delivery lines.
You have already seen the advice o have the system inspected BEFORE you
settle -- make the offer contingent upon the inspection. And also make the
seller have the system pumped and offer you confirmation. Depending on the
locale, this may be a requirement anyway.
Systems that are pumped on a routine basis and not violated by extreme use
will be fine
Be there when it's pumped.
It's a lot easier for the waste hauler to just drop the pipe in,
suck up an unknown amount of water, and be on the way.
Lot more involved in seeing that the sludge accumulation
is removed. And sludge includes the solid and semisolid
residue of the septic tank digestion process. Stuff that will
not conveniently drift over to the pump tube to be sucked
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