How necessary is septic tank pumping? Treatment?


I have a house that was built new in '88. I've never had the septic tank pumped, never put any of these treatments in it. Never had any problems with it to date. For the most part, after the ex vamoosed around '90, I've been the sole user.
Is pumping the tank periodically necessary? Is there any benefit to using any type of septic tank treatment? I was under the impression that the bacteria that's in there is supposed to be self sustaining.
Thanks for all shared wisdom
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:I have a house that was built new in '88. I've never had the septic tank : pumped, never put any of these treatments in it. Never had any problems : with it to date. For the most part, after the ex vamoosed around '90, I've : been the sole user. : : Is pumping the tank periodically necessary? Is there any benefit to using : any type of septic tank treatment? I was under the impression that the : bacteria that's in there is supposed to be self sustaining. : : Thanks for all shared wisdom : : : If it's working fine after all those years especially don't worry about it. A properly used and maintained septic system does not require pumping. Apparently you or whoever have been good users.
Personally I think using one of the tank bacterial treatments are a good idea, just in case some soap or other liquid that kills off the bacteria gets into it, or at least there should be some on hand, but if it's working well, don't worry about pumping it. We haven't had ours pumped since 1983, but we do use treatments once a month, just for the heck of it. We were a family of 4 til the kids left, now it's just the two of us. The ONLY problem we've ever had with it was once when the stand pipe managed to get frozen shut so it couldn't let air in to assist the flushing. The rain cap had fallen off and was letting freezing rain go down the pipe. Thawed it out and it went right back to proper working. You're right, the normal bacteria can keep a septic system working properly.
HTH, Pop
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Put nothing in the septic tank that hasn't been thru you. Skip the gimicky treatments. If you have a garbage disposal use it sparingly. Use liquid laundry detergent.
There are charts that suggest when a septic system should be pumped. It's based on family size and tank capacity.
I'd definately get it pumped after 17 years, even with one user.
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Doc wrote:

It all depends. But eventually the bottom will fill up and the top will fill and you will start getting stuff flowing into the drain field. That can plug the field but it might not, all depending on composition of the drain field, how wet you keep it (how much you are using), temperature, etc. With only one guy, no feminine pproducts (which shouldn't be flushed anyway) it will take a long time. At our house, one woman, one man, and one kid, we had ours pumped the first time after 8 years. There wasn't much there and the pumper, smiled, and said, "See you in another 10 years." The next time we had it pumped, there wasn't much there either. So you could easily go 15 years or so, but then you might not.
We put yeast in ours once in the early years (about year 2, I think). Supposedly helps, but I doubt it. Just to be careful you could put bacteria in ever so often, especially after long vacations (no use) but certainly not more than once a year. Probably won't do any good, but......
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do you have to put bugs in it: no do you have to get it pumped out once every 5 years or so: yes
you will not know something is wrong untill it is too late, and a dead septic/leech field is a big problem; you might have to move out of your house (or get tank pumped once a week untill leech field is fixed).

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wrote:

Don't fix what ain't broke.
Don't ever pump until you spot problems..
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Sherman wrote:

Very bad advice. By the time you spot problems your field is probably shot.
Harry K
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Gosh, that's a great philosophy. You probably don't brush either until you have pain in your teeth.
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Doc wrote:

I don't know if it is really necessary but my township REQUIRES that tanks be pumped every three years. We are in a lake community where septic problems could mess up the lake for a lot of people, so EVERYBODY has to be careful.
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To summarize responses: septic tanks need periodic pumping, however, the "right" interval varies a lot from one installation to another. In some, it could be decades. And in another, as short as a year.
Your best bet is to get it pumped once, and see how much head/sediment there is, and compute the next time accordingly. The pumper will often give a suggested interval.
Look yourself - how much "hard" foam is there on top? You've waited too long if the pumper has to hack away at the foam layer to get the hose through.
Our governments all say that "additives" are a waste of money, and don't do anything useful.
Just don't put anything down it you shouldn't, pump it often enough to keep the foam or sediment plugging the outflow, and it'll be just fine.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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It's called "preventative maintenance" for a reason.
PM usually cost between 1% and 10% of the cost of the repair you are trying to prevent. If you own insurance, this should be a no-brainer. If you're concerned enough to ask about it now, buy yourself a little peace of mind and be happy its not a DIY job.
Living alone, you probably don't need to do it very often and I doubt you are flushing any tampons.

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Don't think of it as pumping your tank. Think of it as an inspection that comes with a free pumping.
--Goedjn
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I have seen a tank that was just fine when it was pumped after 15 years. The owner attributed its robustness to the fact he ran the washing machine drain directly to a separate leach line (in the desert, not in a lawn), bypassing the septic tank and therefore never pouring chlorine bleach into the tank.
Lee
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