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Archdale, NC 27263
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Frequently asked questions

Why does my septic system need to be pumped out periodically?

How often should my septic system be pumped out?

Generally speaking, for a 1000 gallon septic tank with a properly working leach field, it is recommended to have the system pumped out every 3 to 5 years. This can vary depending on factors such as:

  • The size of your household
  • Do you use a garbage disposal?
  • Does your laundry water go through your system?
  • Is there adequate bacteria in your system to aid in the digestion of organic solids?
  • Do you want your system to last and work effectively as long as possible?
  • What are the signs of system distress?

    Signs of system distress include:

  • Toilets and sinks draining slowly
  • Gurgling sounds in your plumbing
  • System backups
  • Certain areas of the yard are wet, possibly with standing black or gray water
  • Black or gray water coming from your home’s outlet tile discharging into a creek or ditch
  • Foul sewage odors noticed in the house or outside

  • *BE SAFE: If odor is present you should immediately take appropriate safety measures to eliminate propane or gas leaks as the cause

    How much does it cost to pump my septic tank?

    Roughly $220 per 1,000 gallons depending on your location. Cost included finding the tank, uncovering it, pumping it, cleaning the filter (if there is one) and covering the tank back up.


  • Do not overload your septic system.
  • Use water sparingly.
  • Do only full laundry and dishwasher loads at off-peak times if possible.
  • Do not put kitchen grease down the drain.
  • Do not flush cigarettes, sanitary napkins, disposable diapers, or other inorganic materials down the toilet.
  • Do not put gasoline, oil, anti-freeze, paint, paint thinner, pesticides, etc., down the drain.
  • Use garbage disposal sparingly or increase septic system maintenance schedule.
  • Check all plumbing fixtures for leaks.
  • Ask your contractor if you think that roots are clogging your pipes.
  • Water softener use requires increased septic system maintenance schedule.
  • I’ve heard I shouldn’t use a garbage disposal. Why is that?

    Garbage disposals have a dramatic impact on how often you’ll need to pump your septic tank. Food particles usually are not digested by the bacteria and accumulate as scum. If a large amount of water enters the tank, it can then push the food particles into the drainfield, causing clogging. If you must use a garbage disposal, your tank will need to be pumped more frequently.

    How close can trees and shrubs be to the drainfield?

    Trees and shrubs generally have extensive root systems that seek out and grow into wet areas, such as drainfields. As a result, trees and large shrubs should be kept at least 30 feet away from your drainfield, and may require greater setbacks depending on the root structure and soil type. If you wish to plant trees near a drainfield, consult an expert who can determine types of plants and distances, based on your property’s soil type.

    Rainwater is directed onto my drainfield, is this a problem?

    Yes. Downspouts and stormwater from surfaces such as driveways and patios should be diverted off the septic tank and drainfield. A small trench uphill from a drainfield can help direct water away.

    I’ve been in my house for 18 years and never pumped my septic tank. Why should I be concerned?

    Over time sludge and scum build up in the septic tank and unless it is removed it will flow into the drainfield, clogging the soil pipes. Once a drainfield is clogged, it must be replaced, which is an expensive repair, costing anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 or more. It is also possible that you could have a leak in the tank. In either case, you risk contaminating ground and surface water resources, which could affect you or your neighbor’s wells or nearby streams and other water bodies. And finally, you may eventually have a plumbing backup in your home.

    Can you tell if the tank needs pumping without digging it up?

    Unless you have risers installed, you will need to dig up the ground above the septic tank to inspect it. Risers give easy access to the septic system without disturbing the soil above the tank. By keeping maintenance records, you can have it pumped on a routine schedule, based on the previous years’ rate of solids accumulation.

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