When Not To Pump Your Septic Tank

Posted on: 11 March 2016

You need to pump your septic tank regularly to prevent clogging, boost its efficiency, and prolong its life. However, there are specific times you shouldn't pump your septic system. Here are three examples of those times:

The Area around the Field Is Flooded

Many things can flood the ground around your septic tank. For example, a nearby river can overflow its banks after a serious storm; even too much rain can cause flooding. Pumping your tank at this time may not help you since the dirty water may just flow back into the tank after pumping it. The risk of this happening is greater if the floodwater level is above the tank inlet. If that happens, you will need to pump the tank again to get rid of the muddy water; it's like doing the same thing twice.

Also, if you pump the tank during this time, it may float out of the ground if it is made from a light material, such as plastic. The wastes in the tank help to weigh it down, and getting them out makes the tank even lighter. With the pressure from the floodwater pushing the tank from all directions, it can easily float out of the ground.

There Is an Imminent Tank Inspection

A comprehensive septic tank inspection is usually broken down into three stages; the tank is inspected before pumping, during pumping, and after pumping. Thus, you interfere with the inspection if you pump the tank before the inspector has a chance to do their job.

An example of a pre-pumping inspection involves introducing a brightly colored dye into the system and observing how it flows. This can reveal, for example, if the tank is leaking or if there is a backflow in the system. Another test involves introducing water into the waste drainage system and observing how it flows into the tank; a rise in the liquid level in the tank indicates a blockage at the outlet. Both of these tests cannot be performed if you have already pumped the tank.

The Tank Is Too Old

Lastly, you shouldn't pump a tank that is too old; its fragility can lead to accidents during pumping. For example, a tank made of concrete blocks can collapse if it has been in use for many years and its walls are fragile. It may be that it is the effluent tin the tank that is keeping it intact, and removing it would make the pressures outside the tank too much for it walls. A septic tank cave in can be a dangerous accident if it happens when someone is close to the tank. In this case, it's best to have the tank inspected first before pumping it.

You may not know about any of these things if you take a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach to septic tank pumping. This is why it's best to consult a professional plumber anytime you wish to engage in a service, repair, or inspection involving a septic tank.