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Septic Tank Maintenance

Your septic tank should be routinely checked, maintained and repaired to ensure efficient operation.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, regular septic tank empties are the answer.

We can offer a weekly service to empty your septic tank or schedule a more periodic emptying so you don't have to worry about remembering when a service is due, for example once a year.

Regular septic tank maintenance...
  • Expands the life of your tank
  • Increases working efficiency 
  • Decreases chance of septic tank failure
  • Is a cheaper alternative to replacing your septic tank

Here are a few tips on how to maintain a domestic septic tank. Some of these tips may also be applicable to prolong the life of a commercial septic tank.

Firstly, try to divert rainwater away from the septic tank as this will fill the tank quicker, meaning the tank will need emptying more often.

Other water saving ideas include: 
  1. Only use your dishwasher when there is a full load
  2. Fill your washing machine to it's best working capacity
  3. Ensure your taps or pipes don't leak

When siting a new septic tank, make sure there are no trees within 25 feet of the installation. If you have an old septic tank, have it checked for root damage if you suspect you have a problem with the tank.

Never dispose of nappies down the toilet as they expand and clog up the outlet pipe and will damage the tank, similarly tampons, paper towels and female hygiene products should not be disposed of in this way unless the manufacturer's instructions indicate suitability.

Use biocides such as domestic bleach, anti-bacterial soap, kitchen and toilet cleaners 
sparingly.  They can kill off the friendly bacteria that break down the solid waste in the tank. 
Do not to pour grease or fatty oil down the sink or toilet. As it does not bio-degrade in the
septic tank and though it is disposed of during septic tank service, it can drain off on to the drain field preventing surrounding land from draining water efficiently. 

Damaged Septic Tank
Varnish, paint thinners, engine oil, petrol and other similar chemicals will ruin your septic system and are a hazard to groundwater and the surrounding environment. Careless disposal could lead to prosecution and a fine by
the Environmental Protection Agency.

Don't park vehicles on top of your septic tank or place heavy paving slabs on top of where your tank is sited. Your septic tank is hollow and not designed to withstand weight from above. For best protection, place grass above the septic tank. Gravel is not advised as it is heavy and moves around.

How often should I have my septic tank emptied?

Your septic tank will need to be pumped out by a vacuum tanker. As an example, a family of four with a 1,000 gallon septic tank would need to have the tank emptied once or twice a year based on full time use. Manufacturers often provide specific guidelines on septic tank maintenance.

We do not suggest you open or try to maintain a septic tank yourself. 

Gases and bacteria inside the tank can be hazardous to health.

Damaged Septic TankHow to identify a suspected root ingress?

Telltale signs of a root breaking through can be an unpleasant smell from the septic tank, pollution of the surrounding area visible to the naked eye or slow drainage.

If you require a root cutting / removal service for your septic tank, give us a call.

Call freephone 0800 731 0589 for your quotation on Septic Tank Emptying


Septic Tank Troubleshooting Guide

We've listed some common problems experienced with septic tanks and some possible causes/ solutions to said problems. 

If your tank is over full BUT only when there is wet weather (during or after heavy rain):
  • Check to see if the rainwater is entering your system
  • If not the rainwater, check if the surface water is then entering your system instead
  • The septic tank maybe too small for your household and will require emptying on a more regular basis

If your tank is over full all of the time and not JUST in wet weather
  • The soakaway area may be too small
  • The septic tank could be too small for your household (will require emptying more often)
  • The soakaway may have a large hole that is full up with stones etc 
  • Have a failed percolation area: it has a long trench with a land drainage pipe, it is installed below the site water table or it is placed in a wet area

If your pipes are blocked and the tank is not over full:
  • Check the pipe for a blockage
  • Check for a manhole that has been badly fitted
  • Check for collapsed or sagging pipes

If there is a bad odour coming from your septic tank:
  • The tank could be backed up
  • There may be a sludge build up
  • Wet weather can also cause bad odours
  • May not be any air ventilation 

Other common problems with septic tanks:

Sludge build up: This is the main reason that septic tanks back up. They should be emptied at least once a year.
Sewage odours: This could be caused by a leak, plumbing problems or the septic tank could require emptying / cleaning.
Septic filter clogging: This is caused by not having it cleaned on a regular basis.
Tree roots getting into cracks in the tank: This can cause the system to slow down or stop completely.
Phosphates you get from detergents: As this can be a fertiliser that then will encourage algae to grow this can then block the perforations in the distributions pipes. 
Tips for avoiding problems:
  • Keep the amount of water going into the septic system to a minimum e.g. take shorter showers
  • Keep kitchen waste such as fats and greases out of the system
  • Do not put non-biodegradable products in the system e.g. nappies
  • Rather than powder dishwasher soaps use liquid or gel, due to the powder containing phosphates. 
  • Do not use the septic system to dispose of toxic materials e.g. paint thinners

Problems can be avoided by regular maintenance. 

We recommend that you have the tank emptied regularly, ideally at least once every 12 months. We can also schedule periodic/routine emptying of your septic tank. 

Tardis waste tankers operate nationwide for septic tank emptying and de-sludging.