Home > Septic Tank Services Blog > What the EPA Says About Septic Tank Pumping

What the EPA Says About Septic Tank PumpingEven with an efficient microbial septic system breaking down waste, along with a well-functioning drain field, scum and sludge will still build up in your tank over time. That’s why it should be periodically pumped out. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), septic tank pumping should be done when the top of the sludge layer is within 1ft. of the outlet pipe, or the scum layer is within 6 inches of it.

Unless you’ve got extraordinary x-ray vision or ESP (extrasensory perception), how can you know when the waste has reached these levels? In short, you can’t.

That’s why people with septic tanks should have their systems inspected once a year. An inspection includes checking the pipes and mechanisms, measuring the scum and sludge levels, and checking the drain field to ensure it is percolating the effluent correctly. The EPA recommends that septic tank pumping should be done every 1 – 3 years.

If not pumped regularly, the system can overflow and lead back into your home where drains and toilets belch out what is supposed to be in the tank. Moreover, overflow can set off a sudden deluge of raw waste that floods the drain field. If this occurs, water can also permeate aboveground, leading to a flooded yard as well as run-off into bodies of water such as nearby rivers and creeks.

Belowground, this flooding can result in an even more serious hazard – tainted groundwater. Combined, these invasions of waste can contaminate water that people drink and use, causing diseases such as hepatitis. Regular septic tank pumping is one way of preventing these potential threats.


If you need septic tank pumping in Lakeland FL, contact us at Lee Kirk & Sons Septic. Operating since 1959, we have the experience and quality workmanship to serve your septic and waste disposal needs. Request a free estimate today!