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Old 04-08-2009, 08:48 AM
 
21 posts, read 271,581 times
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Default How often to clean out the septic tank?

Our house comes with a private septic system when we moved in in August 2007. Only my wife and I, two people live here. How often do I need to clean out our septic tank? How much are we expected to pay? Just some ballpark figures would be fine. Thank you!
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:16 PM
 
Location: Patriot Nation!
648 posts, read 1,841,376 times
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We have our septic pumped every year just to be safe (family of 4 with frequent guests). Last time it ran $175. Our next door neighbors are empy nesters and have their septic pumped every other year. Hope that helps.
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Old 04-08-2009, 07:20 PM
 
Location: mass
2,905 posts, read 4,440,398 times
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How big is your tank?

My tank is 1500.

When I bought my house, it was 9 years old and the tank had never been pumped.

I pumped it last year, at 10 years approximately, and the septic people said it was looking good.

I plan to have it pumped every 1.5 years or so. Since I did it last year in the fall, I'll do it next year in the spring.

If they tell me next spring that it looked great, I'll probably see if I can stretch that out to two years.

It's not terribly expensive to pump, but do you know where your covers are exactly?

I measured exactly where my TItle V diagram said the covers would be, ripped up the rose bushes that the prior idiots had planted, which had grown through the lattice work on the deck, dug for 2 hours through rocky soil, went to town hall and got the previous title V because I didn't hit the cover, discovered that the previous drawing had point "A" at a slightly different location, then paid the septic people to come dig the covers out. ARGH! I was so mad..... (Meanwhile the guy argued with me when I showed him the two diagrams, because they were the inspectors both times, that "A" being off by a foot would not change the location of the covers----I told him that if I gave my cousin, a Math book editor, the locations of B, C, and the two A's that she could tell me exactly where the covers woudl be, which would be in different spots because the A's were in a different location!!! OMG! He gave me a discount for the digging, anyway)

So, all in all I paid $600, but this was for the digging, the pumping (he had to pump, fill with water, and pump again), and for adding a riser to each of the covers, because they were about 1.5 feet in the ground. So I paid for them to put the risers on so that next time, they will only be about 6 inches or less under the ground....................................

Good luck, it shouldn't be that much, I think a couple of hundred dollars if everything goes well!!

P.s. sorry for the rant!!
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Old 04-08-2009, 07:35 PM
 
Location: USA
77 posts, read 165,350 times
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We have a 4/5 BR house and a 1800 gallon tank. 2 adults live at our home and we get it pumped every 18 months and put the recommended CCSS "bacteria" stuff down the toilet every month. Don't ever neglect to pump your system, as it can cost big bucks if it backs up into your home.
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Old 04-09-2009, 03:26 PM
 
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Sorry for asking a stupid question: What are the "covers"? I don't think I know where they are. The system is new, the last owner had it installed prior to us buying the house. Do they have to dig (and destroy the lawn or flower bed) very time they pump the stuff out? Gosh I'd hate that! I might as well get rid of the lawn then!!
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Old 04-09-2009, 03:45 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
3,988 posts, read 5,783,091 times
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Yes, the tank's cover(s) have to be exposed to put the hose in. If you know the exact location of the cover, you can dig it up yourself and minimize the damage. Otherwise, they will dig it for you (costs more $$$). We had a riser installed like one of the previous posters, it makes it a lot easier.
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:37 PM
 
Location: mass
2,905 posts, read 4,440,398 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beijing66 View Post
Sorry for asking a stupid question: What are the "covers"? I don't think I know where they are. The system is new, the last owner had it installed prior to us buying the house. Do they have to dig (and destroy the lawn or flower bed) very time they pump the stuff out? Gosh I'd hate that! I might as well get rid of the lawn then!!

The covers are about 1 foot in diameter, and they are the covers that open into the tank itself. I have two or three I think, but I only have to unearth two of them to have my tank pumped.

If your covers are deep, and below the flowers, then yes, you will have to dig up (and destroy) whatever is on top of them.

My tank is half under the deck, half next to our deck. I had to rip out lattice work, and the rosebushes.

I can tell you I was cursing a blue streak as I was trying to dig out those covers. At first I wasn't going to pay for the co. to dig them out. "Heck No" I said, "For $150, I can measure and dig!" I ended up paying the money.

In any case, you can look at your Title V documents and you should be able to determine where the covers are. It might mention how deep they are and if there are risers.

Risers look like a big tube, about 1 foot in diameter, that basically sit on the opening of the tank, extending it upward, and the covers sit on the risers. My neighbor has the risers and his covers are concrete, so he has two concrete disks right on his lawn that you can step on, those are his covers. My covers ended up just below the surface, maybe 6 inches or so. If I stuck a shovel in there, I should be able to tap around and find my covers.

If you know exactly where the covers are, you shouldn't have to dig up very much, but they are not small, at least a foot in diameter like I said.
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Metrowest, MA
1,815 posts, read 7,535,461 times
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How often one should pump depends on how one use the septic tank. It is recommended that to pump once every 2 years for newer system (less than 10-15 yrs); once a year for older system. If you take really good care of it, you can easily extend it from 2 yrs to 3-4 years.

Septic is design to deal with excrete waste from our body only. You need to pump more often if
you throw many non-biodegradable stuff;
you use a lot of cooking oil
you use bleach
you use garbage disposal

Cost is usually ~$150-200 depending on how easy it is to get to the opening.

To know where the septic opening is... the best time is during winter after snow storm. As you take hot showers, the heat will melt the snow... You can see the opening with snow melted in the middle of nowhere... If not, you'll find the opening simply by looking in your basement which direction the drain goes out. Then, use metal detector to find the opening.

Grass grows very fast, you will not even notice 1-2weeks after you dig it.

mommytotwo experience is due the stupidity of the previous owner to build a deck on top of a septic. In general, one has to dig 3-5 feet to put a concrete post to support the deck. I wonder how they pass inspection.
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:30 AM
 
21 posts, read 271,581 times
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Thanks mommytotwo and smarty, so basically every time you have your septic system pumped you have to dig (and possibly destroy the lawn or flower bed or whatever that is above it) out the covers and the riser? That means you have to reseed that part of the lawn every time you do it? What a pain in the you know where!
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
3,988 posts, read 5,783,091 times
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Beijing66, it's not a really big area that gets dug up if you know exactly where the cover is. What we did is put a decorative paving stone over the spot, so the next time it will be easier to dig. It's a good idea to mark the spot in some way.
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