How Does a Septic Tank Work?

If you are new to owning a septic system, you may only know the basics. You know you have a septic tank and a drain field, and you have been told you need to have your septic tank pumped. But what you may not know is why you need to have it pumped and how the tank works. Here is some basic information on how a septic tank works and why it needs routine pumping.

The science behind a septic tank is based on biology. The biodegradable waste that enters the tank from your sewer pipes will attract and breed bacteria. These bacteria feed on solid wastes, slowly breaking them down into liquid form. As water and more solid waste is added, the solids sink to the bottom, water is in the middle and anything that will float moves to the top of the tank.

When the tank becomes full, the overflow of water exits the tanks from a pipe at the top area of the tank and transports it to the drain field. This should be a watery fluid called effluent that is filtered by the drain field before it enters the ground water supply. The solids stay at the bottom of the tank, breaking down with help of bacteria in the water.

Not all solids do breakdown and the solids portion in the tank grows over time. If it gets too high, it will backflow into the home and solids could go into the drain field. Pumping is needed to remove the solids that do not breakdown and have filled the tank, leaving little room for water.

Septic tank pumping needs to be done once the tank is becoming too full of solids and not leaving enough room for waste water. This is usually every 1-2 years, but varies from home to home. The best way to stay on top of your septic tank pumping is to have annual inspections to check the level of you tank, pumping as needed.

Posted on behalf of:
Septic Service Pro, LLC
Peachtree Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30334
(678) 292-8728

When Is it Necessary to Replace Your Septic Tank?

One of the main components of a septic system is the tank. These large containers are buried under ground and hold the waste and water from your drains, breaking down solids and releasing effluent to enter a drain field. Installing the septic tank is one of the most labor-intensive projects of building a septic system – it requires digging a large trench, hauling a giant tank onto your property, placing it in the ground and connecting it to all necessary pipes. Replacing a tank is not cheap – which is why most homeowners want to make their tanks last as long as possible.

Longevity of Septic Tanks

Most septic tanks can last for decades – many last 50-70 years or more before they need replacement if they are properly maintained. Many of the older septic tanks were made from concrete, which will eventually deteriorate and crack, but can last for 50 years or more. Most modern septic tanks are made from plastic or fiberglass, which are less prone to leaks and corrosion.

Signs a Septic Tank Needs Replacement

When effluent is able to leak out of the tank, it usually needs to be replaced. It is difficult to patch or repair a septic tank, so complete replacement is the best option. Routine inspections by a septic pro can alert you to leaking issues. Other signs to look for are soil erosion, wet areas, greener grass or sewage odors near your septic tank area.

While replacing a septic tank is a large expenditure, most homeowners will only need it done at the same home once in their lifetime, if at all. Keeping up with scheduled maintenance can help reduce corrosion and extend the life of a septic tank, making it a wise investment.

Posted on behalf of:
Septic Service Pro, LLC
Peachtree Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30334
(678) 292-8728

How Often Should You Have Your Septic Inspected?

When you buy a home with a septic system, an inspection is usually performed before the sale is finalized. Same is true when a new septic is added to a home; it is inspected before it is approved for use. However, outside these circumstances, how often should you have your septic inspected?

Your septic system has many different components, the majority of which are underground. It is difficult and unsafe to try inspecting the tank yourself – it is also almost impossible to know what is going on in your sewer lines without professional help. Like any major system, inspections can catch issues, such as components that need repair or replacement, before they cause extensive and expensive problems.

Septic inspections should be done once a year as part of your maintenance program. Your local septic service can perform a thorough septic inspection, which may include:

  • Checking septic tank levels
  • Measuring scum and sludge layers in the tank
  • Inspect tank for cracks or other damage
  • Check drain field and distribution box for proper function
  • Sewer line camera inspections
  • Check connections and function

Inspecting the septic tank is dangerous due to the gases inside the tank. It is important that this is performed by a professional for safety.

Once a thorough inspection is performed, your septic professional can give you an overview of your system. If this is done annually, you can catch small issues before they cause a sewer back up (like a clog forming in a sewer line) or septic failure if there are issues in your drain field or tank. Keeping up with regular annual inspections can help extend the life of your septic system and prevent expensive septic emergencies.

Posted on behalf of:
Seagraves Plumbing Sewer & Septic
4980 Plant Atkinson Rd SE
Smyrna, GA 30080
(494) 792-2221

Is Adding Yeast to Your Septic Tank a Good Idea?

If you own a septic system, you may be looking for ways to help keep it in good working condition. This is a good idea – septic failure and replacement can be very expensive. There are many tips you can read online on how to maintain your septic system – some good, some not so good. One you may come across is using baking yeast to help the bacteria in your tank breakdown solids.

The theory behind using yeast in your septic tank is simple. Baker’s yeast contains bacteria that does not need oxygen to thrive. When added to a septic tank, it can help breakdown starches, one of the many components in waste that is added to your tank. If solids are broken down more effectively, you may need to have your tank pumped less frequently.

So, can adding yeast be beneficial? In some cases, yes. But it needs to be done correctly and not too often. Like all good things, a little is good, too much can be a problem. To add yeast to your septic tank, follow these steps:

  • Put about 4-5 teaspoons of yeast in about 3 cups of warm, not hot, water.
  • Add 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of cornmeal
  • Stir until yeast is dissolved. Cover and let the mixture become “frothy”
  • Flush down the toilet – flush twice to make sure everything goes down

You can do this about every 6 months. However, this does not replace regular maintenance and pumping on your septic system. Schedule regular service with your septic service company to maintain the equipment in your septic system and to perform regular pumping for the best care and maintenance of your system.

Posted on behalf of:
Septic Service Pro, LLC
Peachtree Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30334
(678) 292-8728

Is it Time to Back Flush Your Septic Tank?

If you own a septic system, you know that regular pumping is required to keep your tank from overflowing. A full septic tank can ruin your drain field and backup sewer waste into your home. Pumping your septic tank removes the solid waste that accumulates over time that doesn’t breakdown into liquid form or effluent. But what about the solid waste that does not leave your tank after a pumping service?

Back flushing a septic tank is essentially a cleaning service for your septic system. Pumping will remove most solids, but some waste can be more difficult to remove. This thick sludge will not easily be pumped out of the tank. If your septic tank is not back flushed after pumping, this dense solid waste will continue to build. This can mean more frequent pumping and could eventually cause harm to your septic system.

To avoid this waste building up on the sides and bottom of your septic tank, a back flushing should be done after each pumping. This can break up those solids and allow them to be effectively pumped from your septic tank. This leaves the tank completely clean and empty, reducing the amount of time needed before your next scheduled tank pumping.

Some septic services may include back flushing with their pumping service, but not all do. Make sure to ask your septic professional before your next scheduled pumping whether back flushing is included in the price or if that is a separate service. It is worth the investment to back flush your tank – it will keep your septic system clean and extend the time before you need another pumping service.

Posted on behalf of:
Kiddco Plumbing Inc
Sterling, VA 20166
(703) 435-4441

Tips to Keep your Septic Tank in Great Shape

A septic tank is where the waste from your home is collected and breaks down into effluent that can be filtered back in the ground water on your property. It is an essential component to any septic system, regardless of the type of system you own. Keeping your septic tank in great shape is vital to ensure your system continues to function for many years to come. Here are some tips to care for your septic tank through preventive maintenance.

  • Keep trees and large plants away. Roots from trees, shrubs and large plants can damage your septic tank and sewer lines. Do not plant any of these larger plants near your septic tank or other septic components to protect them from root infiltrations.
  • Reduce water use. The more water and waste that goes through your septic tank, the quicker your tank and system will need to be replaced. Lower your water use by installing efficiency fixtures in your home, including low-flow toilets, showerheads and efficient appliances.
  • Be careful what you put down your drains. Septic systems are fickle; keep chemicals, plastics, cotton hygiene items, diapers and other non-biodegradable items out of your drains and toilets.
  • Schedule regular inspections and pumping. One of the best ways to protect your septic tank is with professional inspections, maintenance and septic tank pumping by your local septic service company.

Septic tank replacements can be expensive. Make your septic tank last and save money with these preventive tips to reduce wear and tear on your tank and entire septic system. It can help prevent septic breakdowns and sewage backups, while helping your tank last for many years.

Posted on behalf of:
Seagraves Plumbing Sewer & Septic
4980 Plant Atkinson Rd SE
Smyrna, GA 30080
(494) 792-2221

Septic Tank Pumping Frequency

Septic systems are a reliable way to dispose of household wastewater for homes that are not connected to a municipal sewer system.   A properly sized, installed and maintained septic system can provide excellent, trouble free service for 20 to 30 years or more. Septic systems generally require little maintenance other than regular inspections and pumping to remove accumulated septic waste.

Many experts recommend septic tank pumping every 2 years, but how often you need to have your septic tank pumped depends on various factors including the size of the tank, the number of people in the household, and whether or not you have a garbage disposal.

A home with a small septic tank or a lot of people living in the home will need more frequent septic tank pumping than a home with a large septic tank and fewer occupants.  Using a garbage disposal will shorten the time required between septic tank pumping.

Failure to have the septic tank pumped when needed can result in damage to the septic drain field which can be very expensive to repair.  Having your septic tank pumped too often is a waste of money, but it is far less expensive than repairing a damaged drain field.

The best way to determine how often your septic tank should be pumped is to have your septic system inspected by a sewer-septic professional.  Septic system inspections are relatively inexpensive and can save you a bundle.  Your sewer-septic system professional will be able to tell you if your septic system is in good working order, whether your septic tank needs pumping, and how frequently your septic tank needs to be pumped.  Annual or semi-annual septic system inspections will help extend the life of your  septic system and keep it in good working order.

Posted on behalf of:
Hunter’s Septic Service
Nesbit, MS 38651
(662) 429-1686

Reducing the Frequency of Septic Tank Pumping

A fact of life for homeowners with a septic system is that eventually your septic tank will need to be pumped. Most septic tanks need to be pumped every two to five years, depending on the size of family, size of the tank and the wastewater that enters the septic system. To reduce the frequency of pumping, you must affect one of these factors. Since the size of your family or tank is not likely to change without major changes, the easiest way to reduce pumping frequency is to monitor the waste that you put into your septic system.

Minimize Solid Waste in Your Septic Tank

Any solid waste that goes into your septic system can increase the frequency that you will need your tank pumped. Although some waste will breakdown in the tank, there are other waste products that are difficult or impossible to dissolve, making your tank fill faster. Here are some solids to keep out of your wastewater to reduce pumping frequency:

–          Paper products. Get your family in the habit of not flushing paper products down the toilet. Although some biodegradable toilet paper is tolerable, keep feminine hygiene products, “flushable” wet wipes and other paper/cotton items out of the toilet.

–          Clothing. If your washer wastewater goes into your septic tank, make sure to shake off clothing of waste solids before you put them in the washer.

–          Food products. Be careful of what you put down the kitchen sink. Do not rinse dishes off in the sink and allow the food to go down the drain. Rinse them in a container and dump the gray water outside.

These tips can help you reduce how often you need a professional septic tank pumping at your home. If you are still pumping every two years or less, you may want to invest in a larger septic tank for your home.

Posted on behalf of:
Septic Service Pro, LLC
Peachtree Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30334
(678) 292-8728

Items to Keep Out of Your Septic Tank

There are two types of items that need to be kept out of your septic tank: cloggers and bacteria killers. Items that clog can backup your septic systems, clog your sewer pipes and cause major problems throughout your entire system. The other group, bacteria killers, can ruin the chemical balance in the tank, which slows the breakdown process. It is important to educate your entire household on what these items are and the potential harm they can do to your septic.


Anything that does not breakdown naturally from bacteria should not be allowed to be put down the drain or flushed. These can be larger items or even granules, all which can be destructive to your septic system, causing clogs. These items include:

  • Cotton products: swabs, cotton balls, feminine hygiene products and bandages.
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cat litter, even those that claim to be flushable
  • High-fiber vegetable or fruit peels

Bacteria Killers

Your septic tank must maintain a delicate balance to properly breakdown the waste before it is able to be distributed into your drain field. This bacteria balance can be harmed by certain items that are poured down your drains. Some items include:

  • Bleach
  • Chemical cleaners
  • Antifreeze
  • Oil
  • Paint

All these items should be disposed of into the garbage and always kept out of toilets, sinks, washers and any other drains. Educate everyone in your home on how to protect and care for your septic system by keeping cloggers and bacteria killers out of the system. Don’t forget to inform overnight guests and visitors to be careful of what they put down the drains while in your home to prevent accidental problems and septic emergencies.

Posted on behalf of:
Bynum & Sons Plumbing, Inc.
2120 McDaniels Bridge Rd SW
Lilburn, GA 30047
(770) 736-8283