When should you clean a septic system?

Thumbtack Editors
Answered

Experts agree that you should clean your septic system every three to five years for optimal system health and safe water. You should also have it inspected every year to catch minor issues before they become major. If you think you may be overdue for a septic cleaning, here are signs that you should call a pro immediately.

  • You’re at capacity: If the bottom of the scum layer is within six inches of the bottom of the tank’s outlet or if the top of the sludge layer is within 12 inches of the outlet, your tank needs to be pumped, according to the EPA.
  • It stinks: If you can smell wastewater, call a pro right away to clean your tank, pipes and field.
  • Sewage backup: Raw sewage backing up into the pipes in your home is no fun. The pros can pump out your pipes, clean your tanks and clear any clogs, but it will be a complex and messy job.
  • Pooling water: Water collecting around your tank or drain field can be a sign you need to clean your septic system.
  • Super grass: If the grass above your septic system drain field suddenly gets vibrantly green and lush, the septic tank leak could be leaking sewage and fertilizing your lawn in unwanted ways. Call a pro to inspect it right away.