One of the most frequently asked questions we receive as a company offering service for septic tanks in Prior Lake, MN is whether or not it is standard to pump septic tanks through the inspection port. The easy answer here is no, absolutely not—not only is this not a standard practice, but it should actually never be done this way.
Instead, pumping should be exposed through the manhole of the tank, not the inspection pipes. This is how the system was designed, and doing it in this way is the best for the safety of the tank.
An overview of the best practice
This has actually been a debate going back several decades, but for at least 25 years now the debate has generally been settled. The argument from pumpers at the time was that backflushing through the small inspection ports would actually be a sufficient method of pumping the system.
However, as other septic system maintenance professionals wisely pointed out, that would not actually result in cleaning the system. Some thorough analysis of septic systems showed what happens when inspection ports, rather than manholes, are used for pumping. When those inspection ports are used, analyzing the system through the manhole will demonstrate that the tanks do not actually get cleaned of solids. Instead, it only removes liquid waste, leaving the majority of the sludge behind in the system, which entirely defeats the purpose of cleaning and pumping the tank to begin with.
This is why most state wastewater associations now have regulations in place indicating the best practices and standards for pumping procedures. If you do come across a septic technician who swears by pumping through the inspection ports, they are in violation of state regulations and could potentially lose their license for doing so, in addition to being hit with fines. This should be a massive red flag and an indicator that the company is not to be trusted with your septic system.
These rules were put into place because a failure to adequately clean out a tank will result in the rest of the treatment system potentially being contaminated, particularly in the drain field. The more these solids build up inside a tank, the more likely it is that they’ll be forced out into the soil, which will reduce the ability of the soil to soak up any effluent that comes out from the tank. This could result in the effluent instead coming to the surface, or even backing up into the home, both of which have some significant health and environmental risks associated with them.
So again, not only is it crucial that you engage in regular septic pumping (the frequency of which depends on the size of your tank and the usage in your household), but it’s also important to make sure you’re working with a company that actually does the job correctly.
For more information about best practices when pumping septic tanks in Prior Lake, MN, contact Mike’s Septic & McKinley Sewer Services today.