Perhaps the most-often-recurring theme on this blog has been the importance of preventative maintenance of your septic system. The best way, after all, to fix your system is to not have to fix it, at least not any more than necessary.

A big part of that philosophy is having a plan for how often to pump your septic tank, and then following that plan.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that the “average household septic system” be inspected at least once every three years and that the septic tank be pumped every three to five years.

But, of course, there is quite a spread within that recommendation, which also takes into account that the septic system in question is “average.” The EPA goes on to list four factors that will principally affect where into that general three-to-five-year range the recommendation for your system falls.

They are as follows:

  • Household size. All else being equal, a family of seven would figure to fill a tank more quickly than a household of two.
  • Total wastewater generated. Don’t overthink this one either: the more you flush or drain, the more quickly your septic tank will fill.
  • Volume of solids in wastewater. It bears reminding here that the list of things you should be flushing down your toilet is very short. But, things happen — just be prepared to have your tank pumped a bit more frequently if copious amounts of solids end up there.
  • Septic tank size. Again, seems self-intuitive: the larger your tank, barring other extenuating circumstances, the less often you will need to have it pumped.

A couple of footnotes here: Using water efficiently, as we’ve discussed previously, will help keep from overworking your septic system at large and/or overloading your tank and forcing more frequent pumpings.

And don’t flush anything you shouldn’t or pour verboten materials down your sinks. Your septic system is designed to handle, and handle well, a specific list of contents. Introducing “others” can cause nothing but trouble.

Lastly, as always, contact Little’s Septic to create a maintenance plan for your septic!