If you've not owned your home long enough to need the septic tank cleaned out, you may be wondering what to expect when it's time to pump the tank. Contractors may vary some in their exact procedures, but in general, the tank is pumped out and then washed down. This is a look at how the process may go:
Locating And Pumping The Tank
Your contractor may need to locate the tank if it is buried under grass and you're not sure where it's located. This can be done by pushing a metal rod into the ground or some other means. When the tank is located, sod is removed from the top if necessary and the lid to the tank is removed. Your tank will be cleaned from the surface. The contractor doesn't go into the tank unless the tank needs repairs and the contractor wears protective clothing and a breathing apparatus. A septic tank contains poisonous gas and it can even be dangerous to lean over it while breathing. This is one reason you should always leave cleaning the tank to the pros.
Once the lid is off, a hose is lowered into the tank. The hose is attached to a pump truck and the contents of the tank are pumped into the truck. The contractor will probably agitate the contents of the tank to stir up the solids so they can be removed thoroughly.
Washing The Tank
Washing out the tank is not always done, but it's a good way to check for cracks and other problems. The contractor can use a hose to spray off the baffle, sides, and bottom of the tank. With the sludge cleared away, the concrete can be examined for cracks and crumbling. The tank is washed while the pump hose is still in the tank so the extra water and sludge can be removed leaving the tank empty when the contractor is finished.
Even though the tank may be empty or very low once it's cleaned, it will fill up with water fairly quickly. The level of water in the tank stays constant. It's the amount of sludge on the bottom and the oil on top that gradually grow over the months and years until the tank needs to be cleaned out again.
In addition to cleaning out the tank, the contractor may also inspect your system to make sure the tank is functioning properly and the drain field is still in good shape. By having regular inspections and timely cleaning, you can avoid serious problems with your septic system that can be very expensive to repair.
Check out a website like http://www.sosseptic.net for more information and assistance.