Septic pumping is an essential routine maintenance task if you have an on-site waste management system. Despite its importance, some property owners choose to skip it, only to realize the damaging effects far too late. As a general rule, septic tanks require clearing out every three years to prevent overflows and premature failure. The guide below explains what you should expect during the pumping process.

How Septic Pumping Works

Septic pumping involves the removal of a tank’s contents using a pump or vacuum. The waste is then loaded into trucks and hauled away for proper disposal. Some pumpers measure the thickness of scum and sludge layers, which allows them to estimate the rate your tank fills up and the next pumping schedule. Depending on the tank size and number of users, the frequency may range from three to five years.

After measuring content levels, the operator puts the vacuum line inside the tank to start the removal process. Some use a muck-rake, which looks like a long-handled hoe, to break up the hardened sludge at the bottom and the floating scum. 

septic pumpingDuring pumping, the operator may sometimes stop the process to observe if there is effluent coming into the tank—it can be an indication that the drain field is already saturated and nearly failing. The pumper also needs to be aware of a dislodged tank plug, if there is one, as it leads to possible contamination of nearby soil and groundwater. After removing all its waste contents, the septic tank gets washed and inspected for signs of damage.    

What You Can Do to Prepare

A thorough septic pumping starts with proper preparation, so here are a couple of steps that you can take to make the process smoother:

  • Hire a Professional: Instead of doing it on your own, it’s better and more cost-effective to work with a fully licensed and insured septic pumping company. Ask for referrals, compare at least three different quotes, and perform due diligence before hiring one.

  • Locate the Tank: Find the location of your septic tank based on your records, and uncover it if you can. If you can’t uncover it, your service provider can locate the waste reservoir for an extra charge.

  • Clear Out a Path: Even if you’re uncertain of the exact location, clear out a path and enough space for the pumping tank. Remove outdoor furniture, vehicles, and other items that can hinder proper extraction.



For the best results on septic pumping, count on the professionals at Great Bear Septic Service. Serving clients throughout New York’s Westchester, Putnam, and Southern Dutchess counties, they’ve offered quality septic solutions, including sewer cleaning and cesspool maintenance. Call (845) 621-0250 to schedule a septic service or visit them online to browse their offerings.