Septic Tank Pumping: When, Why and How Often – 2024 Guide


A septic tank or a wastewater management unit is the underground chamber that stores wastewater for a sufficiently long time so that the solid particles settle down and particles like grease float to the top layers.

However, if the wastewater is not given enough time for the waste to settle or if there is an overflow of water from the house, then there are chances of backflow of the waste into the plumbing system. Hence you need to maintain the wastewater treatment unit of your house properly, and you must contact a residential septic tank pumping agency as and when required.

Signs That Your Underground Wastewater Treatment Unit Requires Pumping


When You Notice Signs of Backflow from the Waste Treatment Unit

Signs of backflow are visible in several forms. Some of them include oozing dirty, foul-smelling water from the drains of your sink. At times you may not see any dirty water, but you may just hear a gurgling sound from your pipes.

Difficulty in flushing the toilet is also another sign of an overfilled wastewater management unit. The problem of backflow is usually first noticed in the sinks of your house. This is because areas like the sink are the closest to the waste treatment unit.

However, anytime you see the first signs of backflow, you must take immediate action. Ignoring signs of backflow from the waste treatment unit can be a major plumbing challenge. Your entire house may soon start smelling foul sewage from all the plumbing outlets.

When You See Puddles of Sewage like Things on Your Lawn


A drain field is an area of your lawn where the treated wastewater is released from the underground wastewater management unit. However, if there is an excess burden on the underground wastewater treatment unit of your house, then untreated waste may seep through and enter the drain field( your lawn).

So if you start noticing puddles of dirty water in your lawn, then it is a sign that your wastewater management unit needs immediate pumping.

When a Lot of Time Has Elapsed since the Last Time You Got the Septic Tank Pumped

Even if you do not notice apparent signs of an oversaturated waste treatment unit, like foul odors and backflows, you should still get the tank pumped. It is a general rule of thumb that well-made tanks of concrete can last for more than a decade if they are maintained properly.

So timely pumping of your underground wastewater unit not only helps avoid a nuisance like smelling backflows but also extends the life of your waste management unit.

Once you know the signs of an oversaturated septic tank, you must also know the dangers of not paying heed to an overfilled septic tank. Continue to read about the harms of ignoring an oversaturated waste management system.

When the Scum on Top Is as Thick as Six Inches

Another way to know if it is time for you to pump your underground wastewater management unit is to remove the lid of the tank and gauge the thickness of the scum. If the layer of scum on top is about six inches thick, then it is time for a round of pumping.

Apart from this, you can also measure the level of sludge at the bottom. However, reaching the bottom of the tank is quite challenging, and you may have to use a stick for it. So if you are not sure that you can pull it off, you need not try measuring the sludge levels at the bottom of the tank.

Why Is It Essential to Pump Septic Tanks Frequently?


A saturated liquid waste management system can lead to the following problems; hence it is vital to pump septic tanks frequently.

The problems are as follows:

  • Clogged-up pipes and oozing of foul smelling dirty water
  • Accumulation of puddles of dirty water in the drain field ( in your lawn)
  • Health effects and fear of exposure to disease-causing bacteria
  • Fear of accidental shocks from accumulated puddles in the lawn.

Now that you know how dangerous an oversaturated wastewater management system can get, you must know how often you should clean the system.

How Often Should You Get the Septic Tank Pumped?


The frequency at which you get your sewage treatment chamber pumped will depend on multiple factors like

Depending on the Size and Type of Septic Tank

It is obvious that the bigger the size of the septic tank, the longer it can sustain without there being a need to pump the system. Also, the material with which the tank is made determines the frequency of pumping.

Different materials like concrete, fiberglass, and plastic have varying capacities to prevent seepage. So if the material is such that it can prevent seepage to the drain field for a long time, then you can get the pumping done less frequently.

Depending on Your Water Usage

If you are using too much water per day, then you will need to get the pumping done more frequently. So if you wish to get the pumping done less frequently, you must minimize the water that you use for a regular shower.

Likewise, you must replace old toilet setups with modern water-efficient ones. You can also wash your laundry on alternative days to conserve water so that your wastewater management system is not overburdened.

Depending on the Frequency of Rains in Your Locality

Rainwater that can percolate into the underground septic tank through the drain field also overburdens the wastewater management system. So if you live in a locality that gets heavy rains, then you will need to get the tank pumped more often.

What to Do When You Can’t Use Your Bathroom Due to a Full Septic Tank?

When your septic tank reaches its full capacity and you find yourself unable to use your bathroom facilities, it’s essential to take immediate action. Dealing with a full septic tank can be inconvenient and potentially unsanitary, but there are steps you can take to address the situation.

Firstly, avoid flushing the toilet or running any water that leads to the septic system. Continued use may result in backups or even damage to your plumbing system. Instead, contact a professional septic tank pumping service. They will have the necessary equipment and expertise to pump out the excess waste and restore your septic system’s functionality.

In the meantime, consider renting portable toilets as a temporary solution. Dallas portable toilet rentals provide a convenient alternative for your bathroom needs while your septic tank is being emptied. These portable toilets are self-contained and can be placed outdoors, ensuring a hygienic and practical option for your household.



Maintaining a septic tank in the proper condition is of utmost importance for a healthy, nuisance-free life. The frequency with which you must pump the tank varies based on factors like water usage. But irrespective of the usage or the type of tank you have, tanks need to be pumped once every two or every two and a half years.