Wondering if you septic tank needs pumping? In some cases, systems can go for a long time without pumping, but it depends on the type of system, how you use it and multiple other factors. Ideally, you should keep an eye on your system and pump it as often as recommended by the manufacturer. However, if you see any of the following issues, you need to have your septic system pumped as soon as possible.
1. Sewage in Your Drain Field
The grass over your septic tank is commonly called the drain field. Basically, once the waste water is clean, it leaves your septic tank. Then, it gets even more filtration as it moves through the rocks and soil in your area. Throughout this process, the solid waste is supposed to stay in the tank.
If you see solid waste in your drain field, that means you need pumping. Call an expert right away. It isn't safe to have raw sewage in your yard.
2. Standing Water in the Drain Field
In most cases, you'll see other signs long before you see raw sewage. In particular, you're likely to see standing water in your drain field. If it hasn't recently rained and there's no reason for water to be there, you need to have someone come inspect your system and make sure it's working correctly.
3. Extra Healthy or Dying Grass
In other cases, you may not see water or solid waste. Instead, what happens is that you get an excess dose of nitrates in your yard. That can have a few different effects on your grass. The grass may look super green and lush over your septic tank, but the nitrates may also strip the soil from nutrients and that can make the grass in that area die.
At any rate, if the grass over your septic tank looks noticeably different than the grass in other parts of your yard, that also means you need some help.
4. Backed up Drains
Generally, if you have too much solid waste in your system, the waste won't exit through the drain field. Instead, it will go back through the pipes, and it will end up blocking your drains. You may notice clogged drains or slow drains.
5. Gross Odours
Finally, keep your nose out for odours. A septic tank should not smell. It should take care of your waste in a way that is safe and not smelly. If you smell odours outside near the tank or inside coming up from your drains, both of those situations may indicate that you need pumping. However, there are a few other situations such as clogged pipes that can also cause this issue, but a septic tank expert should be able to help you figure it out.