One-quarter of homes in the U.S. use septic systems. Though they are more common in the rural areas of Northwest Indiana, many in-town homes can have them as well. Both municipal sewer systems and septic systems can manage the waste for your Northwest Indiana home, but septic systems come with unique maintenance needs. One of those needs is septic pumping. Before you can understand the necessity of septic pumping, it’s important to know a little bit about how septic systems work. So, let’s dive into your septic tank.
First, How Does A Septic Tank Work?
There are typically two main parts to a septic system – the septic tank and the drainfield. The pipelines from within your Northwest Indiana home carry water and wastes to the septic tank by either gravity or with the help of an electric pump. Within the septic tank, the solid wastes separate and sink to the bottom (this is known as sludge) while grease and oil wastes float on top (this is known as scum), and liquid waste (this is known as effluent) is drained from the tank.
The effluent empties into the drainfield, which is a designated underground location meant for the filtration of the wastewater. The wastewater moves to the drainfield through perforated pipes, which allow for the water to trickle into the soil. In the drainfield, the wastewater moves through the soil, naturally filtering out bacteria, viruses, and nutrients along the way.
Inside the septic tank, solid wastes settle at the bottom. These wastes are broken down by the bacteria within the tank. However, the bacteria cannot break down the waste rapidly enough to clear it completely. This leaves an accumulation of solid waste at the bottom, known as septic sludge. Over time, this sludge builds and can interfere with the operation of your septic tank.
What Happens When Septic Sludge Builds Up?
The two most significant complications of septic sludge buildup are related to the inlet and outlet of the septic tank. When sludge blocks the inlet, this prevents the draining of waste from your home and into the septic tank. Unfortunately, the sewage waste can then only travel one direction: back into your home. Septic sludge buildup can cause sewage to backup into your Northwest Indiana home pipelines, invading your drains and leaving unpleasant odors around your home. This is one of the main reasons to ensure you receive timely septic pumping.
Now, for the other reason. When septic sludge blocks the outlet of your septic tank, this prevents the effluent from effectively draining from the tank. Additionally, the sludge can leak through the outlet and into the drainage field. This can severely contaminate the soil, and the waste can travel to the surface as well. You will be left with extremely foul odors and dangerous health hazards across your Northwest Indiana lawn. Septic pumping is absolutely necessary to prevent damage to your home, yard, and health.
So, Is Septic Pumping Necessary?
Yes, septic pumping is a necessity for homes that use septic systems. Without the proper maintenance, you can be left with horrible smells, health hazards, and costly repair bills at your Northwest Indiana home.
It is natural that septic sludge builds in the bottom of your septic tank. And, though bacteria do their best to break it down, the rate of sludge disintegration is much slower than accumulation. This means the septic sludge must be removed from your Northwest Indiana septic tank. The only way to do this is with professional septic pumping services.
How Often Should A Septic Tank Be Pumped?
The frequency of septic pumping depends on a few factors. These include:
- The size of your household (More people create more waste, which means more frequent pumping is needed.)
- The size of your septic tank (A bigger tank may require less frequent pumping, but this also varies based on the number of people using it.)
- The levels of scum and sludge present in your tank (These levels vary over time, and certain parameters indicate that a tank needs pumping.)
- The total amount of wastewater generated (If more wastewater is generated, more space in the tank is taken up, and more frequent pumping may be needed.)
So, how do you know if your Northwest Indiana septic tank needs pumped? For starters, you should have your septic system inspected at a minimum of every three years. When it is inspected, the technician can determine the levels of scum and sludge present within the septic tank. This will allow them to determine if and when septic tank pumping may be necessary for your Northwest Indiana home. Overall, most home septic tanks require pumping every 2-5 years, varying with the factors above.
Are There Ways to Protect Your Septic Tank & Decrease Frequency of Pumping?
Yes! Proper care for your Northwest Indiana septic system can prevent the need for excessive pumping. Here are a few tips to keep in mind that will help your septic system to remain in working order:
- Be mindful of what you are putting into your septic tank.
This includes the deposit of wastes in toilets, sinks, and garbage disposals. With toilets, only flush human waste and toilet paper. Avoid any other items, such as oils, non-flushable wipes, food wastes, harsh chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hygiene products, cat little, coffee grounds, and more.
At the sink, try to avoid using harsh chemicals. Also do not wash oils down the sink. With the garbage disposal, frequent deposits of food waste may contribute to the need for more frequent septic tank pumping. Be mindful of what you put into the garbage disposal. Avoid oils, grease, and excessive amounts of solid food waste.
- Avoid drain cleaners and harsh chemicals.
Instead of using harsh chemicals to clean your drains, try using a drain snake. This can provide mechanical removal of blockages. Harsh chemicals can percolate into the soil of your drainfield, and they can harm your septic system altogether. Natural or plant-based cleaners are also great alternatives for your sinks, showers, toilets, etc. because they are processed more easily and do not cause damage to your septic tank.
- Monitor your home water usage.
First, correct any leaky faucets within your home. Leaking water can significantly increase the amount of wastewater produced. Increased water usage causes your septic tank to fill faster.
Second, wash laundry throughout the week instead of all in one day. Running your washer continuously for the day can risk flooding your drainfield. Though it may seem easiest for you to wash all the laundry in one day, it can make it more difficult for your septic tank to process wastewater effectively. Using energy-saver modes and proper load size on your washer can positively impact the water usage and allow your septic tank to keep up with filtration as well. Dishwashers also often have energy-saver modes, which may use less water.
- Keep your drainfield healthy.
Never plant trees or vegetation too close to your drainfield. Doing so can cause damage to the pipes that drain your wastewater, and the roots can interfere with drainage and filtration. Also, do not park on your drainfield. This can also cause damage to the underground system. Lastly, keep all other drainage systems (sump pump, rainwater, etc.) away from the drainfield. Excessive water in the area can prevent the proper treatment of wastewater.
There are many methods to keep your Northwest Indiana septic system healthy and operational. By following these simple tips, you can extend the time between septic pumping and also save money on costly septic system repairs!
Who Can Perform Septic Tank Pumping?
Even if you follow all of these tips, your septic system will still need occasional pumping. It is natural that sludge builds up in your septic tank, whether it is at a slow or fast rate. When it’s time for septic pumping, who can you call?
If it’s time for maintenance of your septic system, FreeFlow Environmental of Northwest Indiana is your expert septic service provider. Whether you need septic inspections or septic pumping, we have an experienced team that will take care of your every need with courtesy and timeliness.
If you are unsure of the status of your septic tank or think it is time for septic pumping, contact us today! Our team at FreeFlow looks forward to working with you and ensuring your Northwest Indiana septic tank is working at maximum capacity. Call or fill out our online contact form to schedule your septic tank pumping services now.
Call Us Today!
Don’t delay your septic pumping until you start having problems. Contact the professionals at FreeFlow Environmental for every septic service you need. We have every solution for your home septic tank! Call today to schedule your septic tank pumping, septic repair, or septic inspection.