Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I pump my septic tank?
The answer to this question depends directly on how the household uses the system. Variables such as how many people reside in the home, garbage disposal use, age of the system, how much entertaining is done, etc. affects the time period in which solid waste accumulates in the septic tank. Please refer to the “Pumping Services” section for the basic formula. The Pumper should be able to give you a recommendation once she/he has cleaned the tank. If you have a garbage disposal the septic tank should be cleaned annually.
How will you clean my septic tank?
The cleaning must be done through the maintenance opening (typically a 28-inch in diameter concrete manhole-type cover). Cleaning through this opening allows the Pumper to move the pumping hose over the entire bottom of the tank, removing all the solid waste accumulation. The Pumper can also inspect the inside of the tank for any cracks or infiltration problems as well as checking to be sure that the baffles are in place.
How do I find the maintenance hole cover?
The location of the maintenance hole cover will vary by tank manufacturer. However, the cover typically will be located either in the center of the tank or there will be a cover at each end of the tank. Your Installer may have a drawing, often called an as-built.
I had my septic tank pumped out about a week ago and it is full already. Why?
As wastewater is discharged from the house, the tank will fill back up in a short period of time and then begin to trickle-flow into the next tank or to the treatment area, depending on what type of system you have. The rate at which the tank fills up depends on the gallons per day that are discharged to the tank. When onsite sewage systems are sized, one of the factors that is included in the calculation is projected gallons per day of water used. The standard applied is 150 gallons per day per bedroom, or 75 gallons per day per person. This daily use takes into consideration water use for entertaining, food preparation, personal hygiene, laundry, dishwashing, etc.
The alarm on my lift station just went off, it must be time to clean my tanks. How soon can you come out?
The alarm on your lift station is not a signal to have your septic tanks cleaned although many people seem to think this is the purpose of the alarm. The alarm is alerting you that the lift station pump is not pumping effluent up to the disposal area. A float switch that has failed and is not turning the pump on, a pump that has failed, or no electrical power to the lift station may cause this. If your circuit breaker is in the on position and the pump does not work, East Mountain Pumping and Septic Systems, Inc. can repair the problem. Minimize your water use until the repair can be made.
What are the top ten ways to keep a septic system healthy throughout the year?
1. Have your tank cleaned and inspected on a regular basis. Please refer to the “Pumping Services” section for the basic formula.
2. If you didn’t eat it, it shouldn’t go into the septic system.
3. Use water consistently throughout the week, spread out laundry, showers, etc.
4. Keep brush and trees from growing in the drain field area.
5. Have an effluent filter installed in your septic tank.
6. Do not use additives in your septic tank.
7. Keep vehicles and heavy traffic off of the septic system.
8. Check all water appliances, make sure nothing is dripping.
9. Keep manholes above grade to prevent water runoff into the system and allow access for inspection & maintenance. East Mountain Pumping and Septic Systems, Inc. can install risers to bring the access to grade.
How about products that are advertised on TV for your septic tankā€¦do they do any good?
The research shows that the products do not help your system.
Any suggestions on what kind of toilet paper to use or not to use? Any suggestions on soaps to use or not to use that could leach from the septic system into the lake?
Most toilet paper is okay, however, wet wipes, flush wipes and paper towels should not be flushed. Antibacterial soaps and cleaners are very popular, however, they diminish or kill the “bacteria” in your tank and diminish the biological treatment in the tank. When a septic tank’s organic balance is severely upset, waste can be transferred out into the drain field.
How can I keep roots from nearby trees out of my septic tank?
Often times we find people have “hidden” their septic tank and drainfield with trees and deep root shrubs. Trees and plants love water, so they find voids, cracks and leaking joints to access the water. Septic tanks and drainfield pipes can become plugged. It is important to cutback brush and trees off of the drain field and tank area. Sometimes repairs are needed to fix areas of the system that have been damaged by root intrusion.
What are the three or four main things that can cause my septic system to fail?
1. Lack of maintenance. Many people believe that if a septic system isn’t backing up, it must be fine.
2. Overuse of water compared to the design capability of the system.
3. Using your septic system as a garbage can. Paint, grease, left over medication, oil and other non-organic waste should never end up in a septic system.