FAQ 

Education about SEPTIC TANKS is critical for getting the most out of your system. 

Q. How often should Septic Tanks be checked for pumping? 

A. Every year is preferable.    Regular maintenance activities such as pumping effluent will help control odors and reduce disease threats.    It can also help prevent expensive to repair system blockages, drainfield contamination or failure and the outfall on your property will not be sludge contaminated.  

 

Q. How often should a Septic Tanks be pumped out, cleaned, desludged?

A. This depends entirely on its use and care.   The Environmental Protection Authority of Victoria declares in their Certificate of Approval for septic tanks 001.1/03.   That they should be desludged/pumped out every 3 years, or as per local authority guidelines.   

 

CONSIDER THIS

If you add up the sewerage charges for an average property that has a sewer connection for a 3 year period, the charge is approximately $900.  

If you pump out your septic tank / treatment plant every 3 years (as is recommended by EPA Victoria and most authorities), at a cost of between $270 and $350 (charge depends on tank size and location) there is a saving of up to $630.  

So why risk blocking your effluent drainfield and incurring costly repairs or blockages???   It is a no brainer!

 

Q. What should happen when your Septic Tank is pumped out? 

A. The lid/s are removed from the septic tank / treatment plant.   The contents is mixed up and pumped out.   In addition the tank is hosed out. THIS IS A MUST!   DO NOT let anyone tell you that you need to leave any material in the tank to seed or regenerate bacteria.    Bacteria will naturally regenerate in the tank without the need for re-seeding.   If you follow some simple practices, which we explain to you on the day we pump out you tank, there is no need to do anything else. 

 

Q. Last time my Septic Tank was pumped out, they pumped it out of the 100mm round hole on top of the tank?

A. The 100mm round hole on the top of your septic tank is an inspection hole!!!   There is one at each end of the septic tank.   This is NOT a pump out hole!!!   This method of pumping out a septic tank is a waste of time, the solid crust in the top of the tank CANNOT be pumped out this way.   Basically all that is happening is you are de-watering your tank.   You may as well take the $$$ money from your wallet and cut it up!!!   If you are offered this service, please choose another pump out company.   One of the unfortunate ripple effects of this method of pumping can cause system blockages.   As water re-enters the tank, the level in the tank rises.   When the level reaches the outfall/downstream discharge "T" in the tank it can block.   You will then need a plumber, one of the first things you will be asked is, how long since the septic tank was pumped out.   When the plumber hears that it was pumped out of the inspection hole, they will tell you to have your septic tank pumped out properly.   So it costs you again for the pump out and the plumbers charge.   DON'T BE CONNED BY THE DODGEY OPERATORS

 

Q. What is the concrete wall in my Septic Tank?

A. Commonly found in 3200 litre concrete septic tanks is a concrete baffel.   The baffel has a slot removed from the centre of the baffel.   This allows effluent water to pass through to the downstream side of the tank, whilst containing the crust and sludge on the upstream side of tank.   The downstream side of the tank acts like a settling chamber for the effluent water before it flows out into your drainfield/relm drain.   If you do not pump your tank out on a regular basis, the downstream chamber in your tank will become contaminated with sludge and crust.   Now there is nothing stopping this contamination entering your drainfield/relm drain.   Blockages are now only a matter of time away, along with expensive restoration works for your drainfield/relm drain.

When you have you septic tank pumped out, ensure that all lids are removed and that both sides of the baffel (if a baffel is fitted) are pumped and washed out.  

 

Q. What cleaning/laundry products are safe for use with a Septic Tank?

A. There are several different brands of cleaning/laundry products on the market.  

It is our opinion that, "eco store Bathroom and Shower Cleaner" provides the best and most effective range of cleaning/laundry products that are safe for use with Septic Tank systems.   You can look online for the full range of products, give them a try, you will not be disappointed!

Q. What can I use to clean my toilet without killing the beneficial bacteria in my Septic Tank?

A. "earth choice Antibacterial Toilet Cleaner" is safe for use in Septic tanks.   Natures Organics have developed their Antibacterial Toilet Cleaner to kill the nasty non beneficial bacteria whilst not killing the beneficial bacteria required to maintain a health Septic tank.    

For details on how to care for your Septic Tank, click here or on the Septic Tank link at the top of this page. 

Q. What does a Septic Tank look like inside and how can I tell if something is not right?

A. Look at the diagram below to get a better understanding of how a healthy Septic Tank should be inside.  

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Q. Why has my effluent line started to smell so bad?

A. This is most likely due to the fact that the Septic Tank is full and the raw sludge is running into the effluent line.   It is time to have your Septic Tank pumped out. 

Q. My toilet has started making a gurgling noise when it is flushed?

A. It sounds like your Septic Tank is full or even blocked.   This can be due to that Septic Tank being full of scum, sludge, toilet paper and alike.   This additional material forces the liquid out from between the scum/crust and sludge and can make like a solid block in the tank.   The scum/crust should be about 300mm thick, in this case the scum/crust is most likely 900mm or more thick.  

Expect that cleaning a Septic Tank that is full like this, could cost more than normal, as water must be mixed in with the scum/crust to break it down enough to be able to pump it out.   Therefore additional time is required to mix the contents of the Septic Tank and in turn this increases the amount of material pumped out of your tank which then costs more to discharged at an approved discharge point. 

This type of problem can be easily identified as soon as the lid is taken off the Septic Tank and a shovel pushed into the scum/crust.   This is when we advise our clients of the problem and of any additional charges. 

 

Q. Is there any video, movie or documentary showing what happens when a septic tank is pumped out or cleaned?  
A. Yes there are 2 videos on our site of a septic tank being pumped.   One is us in Upper Beaconsfield Victoria.   Kindly filmed, produced and edited by Muddy Boots Media.   The other is a septic tank in the USA, after watching both videos its easy to see how Australian septic tanks are different.   Click on the link below and it will take you to our Video Page.

Septic Tank Cleaning Video

 

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© Eco Liquid Waste Pty Ltd 2009