Septic Tank

Why You Should Inspect Your Septic Tank

A septic tank holds wastewater and solid waste from a home. Solid waste, referred to as sludge, sinks while liquid waste, called effluent, floats to the top.

Bacteria break down the sludge and liquid waste. The wastewater then exits into a drain field, where soil microbes further purify it. Check out Septic Tank Services Near Me to learn more.

Regular Maintenance and Cleaning

Septic Tank

A septic tank is a large underground storage container where wastewater flows from your home. Inside, bacteria and enzymes break down the waste. As a result, sludge forms at the bottom of the tank, which must be removed regularly to prevent your septic system from becoming overloaded and clogged. Clogged systems can cause sewage backups, flooding and untreated wastewater releases to the environment. Septic tank cleaning services can cost anywhere from $200 to $600 for a typical septic tank and can be performed by professional septic service companies like Honey Wagon.

In addition to septic tank cleaning, routine inspections are necessary for septic system maintenance. During an inspection, a septic tank professional checks the interior of your septic tank for sludge build-up and other problems. They can also check for leaks, which can contaminate groundwater supplies and cause expensive repairs.

Keeping up with regular maintenance and inspections can extend the life of your septic system and help you avoid costly repairs. In addition, a well-maintained septic system is more attractive to potential buyers and may increase the value of your home.

If you’re not sure how often to schedule septic tank cleaning or inspections, consult with a local septic professional for recommendations based on your household size and use. They can recommend a maintenance schedule that will keep your septic system in tip-top shape.

Your septic tank should be pumped out at least once every three to five years to remove the accumulated solid waste and sludge. Regular septic tank pumping can also help prevent clogs and ensure that wastewater is properly treated as it leaves the septic tank for the drain field.

The septic tank’s drain field, or absorption field, is the area where wastewater seeps through soil. When the septic tank is emptied, it leaves effluent behind, which percolates into the ground water supply and cleans it before entering a drinking water well or natural waterway. Over time, this field can become clogged with soil debris and excess nutrients, which can cause harmful algal blooms in nearby water bodies and kill fish and other organisms.


There are a number of septic tank additive products that claim to enhance the breakdown of waste, reduce odors, prevent clogs, and extend the lifespan of your septic system. These include enzymes, bacteria cultures and chemical treatments. Many of these products are marketed as safe and natural. However, some of these septic system additives can be harmful to the bacteria that live in your septic tank and drain field. Some can even cause your septic tank to fail or overflow, leading to costly repairs and replacement of components.

Additives that contain enzymes change the structure of organic solids so that bacteria can feed on them more easily. These additives can be used to break down toilet paper, fibrous materials and some protein-based pollutants. These products are typically less expensive than other types of septic tank additives, but they do require regular purchase and application.

Products that contain bacteria or bacterial cultures are a good choice because they can replenish the bacteria in your septic tank. They can also help to break down fats, oils and greases. However, these septic tank additives cannot help to treat a septic system that is overworked. If this is the case, you will need to cut back on water use or have your septic system pumped more often.

Chemicals containing acids or alkalis should be avoided at all costs. These septic system additives are often marketed as drain cleaners and can sterilize your septic system, preventing the anaerobic digestion process from occurring and allowing raw sewage to flow into the drain field. They can also corrode concrete tanks, leading to leaks and failure.

Flocculants and surfactants are another type of septic system additive that works by reducing the tension between molecules. This allows solids to become dissolved in wastewater, making it easier for the bacteria to digest them. These septic system additives can also be toxic to bacteria and damage the soil in the drain field.

Yeast is another type of septic system additive that is often sold as a way to replace the beneficial bacteria in your tank. However, yeast is actually a fungus and will not revive the bacteria in your tank.

Drain Field

Often the most overlooked part of a septic system is the drain field. This is a large, flat, open area of the yard where wastewater enters the soil and absorbs over time. Like every part of a septic tank, the drain field needs proper maintenance to ensure it works properly and prevents wastewater from backing up into the home.

Located in a sunny, well-drained location of the yard, the drain field is a series of perforated pipes buried underground, typically 18 to 36 inches deep, one to three feet wide, and about 100 feet long. Wastewater from the septic tank flows into these pipes, which are surrounded by a layer of gravel. The water is filtered by the soil and broken down by aerobic bacteria before it disperses into the ground.

To avoid clogging the pipes, it is important to limit solids in the sewage. This can be done by only flushing toilet paper and other non-toxic, biodegradable materials down the drains. It is also important to have your septic tank pumped regularly. Solids that build up in the septic tank can make their way into the drain field, causing a clog that prevents the flow of wastewater and may lead to a septic tank failure.

The drain field also requires regular maintenance to extend its life and improve its efficiency. The area should be kept free of vehicles, structures, parked cars, or other excessive weight. This can cause the soil to shift and stress the septic tank or pipes. It is also important to keep trees and other shrubs away from the drain field; their roots can clog and disrupt the treatment process.

Regular maintenance includes observing water usage, checking for odors and leaks, and inspecting the drain field for visible signs of clogs or failure. If a homeowner notices these issues, it is important to call in professionals for a professional inspection and cleaning of the septic system. This will help prolong the life of the septic tank and improve the quality of the wastewater treated by the drain field.


The last thing any homeowner wants to think about is a problem with their septic system. However, if you live in the country and don’t connect to a city sewer system, your septic system is one of the most important components in your home. If you don’t take care of it, you can end up with a very expensive repair bill in the future. Having your septic tank inspected regularly can help you prevent serious problems.

Regular inspections of your septic tank and the absorption field can help you find minor problems before they become major ones. The septic tank should be pumped out every two to three years, and you should keep a record of when it was last pumped. This information will help you to avoid overpaying for pumping services and will also help you to determine if your septic tank needs to be pumped out sooner than expected.

During an inspection, the inspector will look at the condition of the tank’s lids, inlet and outlet baffles, and the distribution box (also called the ‘d-box’). If the septic system is newer, there may be a map showing where the septic tank and other components are located. Otherwise, the inspector will use a metal probe to locate them. Some older tanks have oversized concrete lids, sometimes called ‘coffin lids’, which require special tools to open. The inspector will also dig where he or she assumes the tank and the d-box are located, checking for cracks, wetness, and other problems.

A septic tank’s liquid level is another important factor in evaluating its condition. An overfilled tank can restrict flow and lead to failure. The inspector will measure the liquid level and determine if it is within the recommended range.

The inspector will also check the condition of the septic tank vent and the drain field absorption trenches for cracks, heaving, settlement, or other problems. The inspector will also test the drain field’s ability to handle wastewater, looking for a proper water flow and checking for clogged or damaged filters. In addition, the inspector will test the septic system aeration system if there is one.