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How much does septic tank pumping cost?

National average: $275


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The average cost for a septic system specialist is $275. You are likely to spend between $155 and $500 total. Exact price may vary depending on your area and project details.

Updated August 1st, 2017

Next Step: Find out exactly how much your project will cost.

Septic tanks process the wastewater coming from home sewage pipes. Pumping a septic tank regularly (the Environmental Protection Agency advises that septic tanks are pumped at minimum every three years, for example) helps prevent system malfunctions and the need for costly repairs. Septic tanks may need to be pumped for inspection or regular cleaning, because of poor pipe and drain performance, because of a sewage backup, if there is standing water or dips in the ground around the septic tank, if there are persistent puddles over the drain field, or if there are foul odors. It’s important to have a pro come right away if odors or backup issues are present because sewage wastewater is hazardous to the health of humans and animals. Several cost factors affect the cost of septic tank pumping.

Set rates

Many septic system companies charge set rates for standard pumping jobs that require no repairs or updating of parts (such as new screens). Standard rates typically start around $200 and can be more than $500, with costs increasing as the tank size increases.

Size of tank

The larger the septic tank, the more it will cost to have pumped. Tank size is usually determined by the number of bedrooms in the home—with sizes ranging from 1,000 gallons to over 2,500 gallons. The more people using a septic tank (i.e., the more people in a household or office), the more frequently the tank should be pumped.

Clogged tank

A clogged or overflowing tank usually costs more to have pumped because it takes more effort and time. A septic tank creates a safe environment for sewage to begin decomposing. Solids (sludge) drop to the bottom of the tank, wastewater remains in the middle and a greasy layer of scum floats on top. When the tank is being overused or has not been properly pumped to remove the sludge and scum that builds up, the tank can become clogged and may overflow.

Flooded drain field

An overflow in the drain field increases the cost of a septic tank pumping. The drain field is an underground region where partially decomposed waste water is further broken down before being released into the soil. If your septic tank is overflowing, the sewage overflows into the drain field causing wastewater to potentially break through the ground surface level. Not only does this smell bad and pose a health risk, it makes the job of pumping a tank more challenging because the pros have to unclog the tank, drain out the excess surface water and unclog your pipes to get your system operating again.

Pro tip:

  • Don’t flush anything but toilet paper, and avoid putting food down the garbage disposal. These practices will help reduce the need for tank pumping because your septic system won’t become clogged or have to work as hard to break down foreign objects.

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Recent reviews

Clear Flow Environmental

Shows up on time. The price he quotes is the price you pay. Responsive, professional and reliable.

Papa's Septic Service llc

Troy is a great guy! Job done well and on time. Fair cost as well. Tank is clean now, with a new cover and he sealed the 'exit' thing... at no extra cost! I saved his number!

Victory Septic Solutions

My experience with Victory Septic Was outstanding. First of all, when I discovered the issue late at night, I submitted the request through thumbtack not expecting an immediate response at 2am. However, not only did VSS reply to me at 2 in the morning, but they were at my home 10 hours later - on Super Bowl Sunday no less! In addition to pumping my tank, the owner identified my problem and fixed it for a minimal upcharge, potentially saving the money and hassle of a full inspection and unnecessary repairs. On top of it all, the invoice amount was so reasonable I decided to overpay. I will use VSS for all of my future septic needs.