Every few years you should pump your septic tank to break up the layer of sludge at the bottom. Regular pumping of your septic tank will ensure that your septic system remains cost effective by keeping it running smoothly. This is often the difference between an efficient, low cost system and a financially draining headache.
The contents of your septic tank settle into three layers after a period of time. The top layer is made up of the fats, oils, and proteins that make their way down the drain. This floating layer is called scum. The middle layer is the grey water all of the septic matter rode in with, called effluent. Finally, the third and bottom layer consists of all of the solid particles that are too heavy to float or swim in the gray water, called sludge. The combination of these three layers is what's known as septage. To keep problems with your septic system from arising, it's important to monitor the movement of your tank's septage. It's important to note that unless you have a high tech system with a built-in septage monitor, it is unlikely that you yourself will have the tools necessary to do so. This is why routine checks with a professional are so necessary.
Effluent travels into a drainfield where it is filtered through the soil to remove any remaining bacteria before draining into the groundwater below. The microbial content of gray water acts as a fertilizer, and thus the most fertile section of your land lies just above your drain field. However, the scum and the sludge builds up.
A yearly checkup with your local septic tank professional will help you monitor the levels of scum and sludge in your tank, and when the time comes, they'll pump it out and take it away. Neglecting to pump your septic tank could cause your system to become backed up, resulting in an olfactory mess. In severe cases your drainfield could become flooded, exposing any people or animals in the area to a variety of unpleasant consequences, such as disease and infection.
There are many products on the market that claim to aid in the breaking down of septage, but experts caution against using them to prolong the period between pumpings. What takes place in your tank is a natural process, and it already contains the microbes necessary to effectively treat the septage. You're better off keeping your money and sticking with the pump. Contact a septic company like Septic Services Inc for more help.