How Often Should Septic Pumping Occur?

You Should Pump Your Septic Tank Every Three to Five Years

Homeowners in the New River Valley often ask Montgomery Sanitation this question: How often should septic pumping occur? Our general answer to that question is you should pump your septic tank every three to five years. The truth is, though, is that you should pump your septic system as often as it needs it.  Alternative septic systems and septic systems with pumps may need more frequent service.

The deciding factors in how often should septic pumping occur are the sludge and scum levels inside the septic tank. Montgomery Sanitation can provide septic pumping whenever the need arises, not just every three to five years.

Septic Pumping Helps Homeowners Avoid Costly Repairs

Many homeowners and landlords who aren’t familiar with septic systems need to learn how to maintain the system. By doing septic pumping as part of routine maintenance, homeowners will be steering the system away from any costly problems. A septic system is a natural and environmentally-friendly way to manage household drain waste. It’s also different from a sewer system, and needs special care and maintenance.

Know the Signs of When You Need Septic Pumping

Pumping and cleaning the tank lowers the chance of sewage back up, sludge build-up, and drain field damage. There might come a time, though, that you shouldn’t wait for that interval before pumping your septic system. The first indication you might need septic pumping is when you smell the foul odors around the septic tank. If you are experiencing any of the following signs, call us today:

  • Foul Odors Around Septic tank
  • It Has Been Over Five Years Since the Last Pumping & Cleaning
  • Slow or Gurgling Drains
  • Wet Spots Around Septic Tank or Drain Field Location

Getting Septic Pumping Every Three to Five Years is Cost Effective

You might be worried about the costs of septic pumping every three to five years. We know in tough economic times like in recent years, everybody is trying to save money. But if you think about it, pumping your septic system every three to five years is very cost effective. If you wait until it overflows and you need repairs, the cost could be so much more. Sump Pumps Direct puts it into perspective:

“Based on the national and regional averages, a homeowner can expect to spend anywhere between $200 – $600 every time the septic tank is pumped, though this depends on the company, size of the tank, and other factors. To put this into perspective, if you pump your septic tank every five years and the cost was $300, you only paid $60 per year to manage your sewage, which is less than the cost of sewage management when living in the average apartment.”

Source: Ultimate Homeowner’s Guide to Septic Tank Systems – How Often to Pump a Septic Tank (

Sludge, Watery Mix, and Scum Make Up the Septic Tank

There are three sections of household wastewater in your septic tank. Solids, or sludge, are at the bottom of the tank. A watery mix, or effluent, is in the middle of the tank. The scum, or grease, lies in the top part of the tank. Normally, the scum and the sludge stay in the septic tank while the watery mix flows into the drain field. But you might need to pump the scum and sludge from the tank to keep the flow moving efficiently.

You Will Have a Problem When Sludge and Scum Ooze into Drain Field

When the sludge level grows higher than it normally does, or the scum level becomes too thick, that’s a problem. The sludge and scum will ooze into the drain field, joining the watery mix. Solids and grease in a drain field leads to clogged pipes, causing slow drains and wastewater backup in your home. You don’t have to be an expert to realize that wastewater backup is disgusting, and even dangerous to your health. It will also be a costly repair.

Pumping the Septic Tank Too Often Can Cause Issues

You might be sufficiently concerned now, or maybe you already were about your septic tank. Maybe you think getting septic pumping on an annual basis is a good practice, but that could be harmful also. When you pump the tank too often, there isn’t enough sludge and scum in the tank to be a problem. If the sludge and scum levels are at the perfect level, then there is no need to pump. While we like your business, Montgomery Sanitation recommends septic pumping every three to five years.

The Septic Tank is Comparable to Your Digestive System

Most homeowners don’t know that their septic system has to maintain good bacteria within the tank. We don’t want to get too graphic, but the septic tank is comparable to your digestive system. You know what happens when your digestive system become too full. The septic tank uses digestion to naturally break down the waste for filtration.

Make it Easy on Yourself by Calling Our Team for Septic Pumping

If you’re wondering if you need a septic pumping now, you’ll need to locate and remove the septic tank lid. If you think you’d be uncomfortable checking out the levels of the septic tank, make it easy on yourself. Give the septic pumping experts at Montgomery Sanitation a call. We can easily locate your septic tank, inspect it and pump it if the levels are too high. We have been performing our quality services since we started the business more than 70 years ago. You can trust our expertise and experience.

Give Montgomery Sanitation a call at (540) 382-2205 or follow us on Facebook. Talk to our team today if you are asking how often should septic pumping occur?