To safely remove wastewater from your home, your septic tank stores waste until bacteria breaks it down and the liquid inside the tank goes into the drainfield (also called a “soil absorption field”). The drainfield—a series of perforated pipes that slope down from the septic tank—expels the liquid into the ground, naturally removing any harmful bacteria or viruses.
When inside the tank, the waste breaks down into 3 layers:
- Scum: Oils and greases that float to the top of the tank and get trapped in a special compartment
- Liquid: The remaining liquid waste (known as effluent) that gets expelled to the drainfield
- Sludge: Solids that settle at the bottom of the tank
Like other systems in your home, septic tank systems need regular maintenance to prevent issues and efficiently do their job.
At Alpha Environmental, our professionals have the knowledge, training and tools to properly clean or pump a septic tank. Contact us today to schedule a free estimate from one of the most reliable septic tank cleaning companies in Portland.
Importance of Septic Tank Maintenance
Regular septic tank maintenance does for your septic system what changing the engine oil does for your car: it helps the system run optimally and prevents problems.
Regular septic maintenance will:
- Help your system run more efficiently. Routine maintenance ensures a healthy ecosystem in your septic tank, which allows the bacteria inside it to effectively break down waste.
- Prevent buildups and backups. Routinely clearing out the waste inside your septic tank removes any scum or sludge that may have started building up inside your tank—and would have caused a blockage or backup.
- Catch any issues before they become serious problems. When a professional inspects your septic tank, they can tell you if any problems exist so you can fix them before they get worse. They can also advise you on any unhealthy septic habits you may need to change.
- Prevent expensive repairs or cleanings. By catching problems early on, you’ll prevent them from becoming massive issues that can only be fixed with expensive repairs or cleanings. Plus, you’ll save yourself from having to repair any damage to your property.
How to Maintain Your Septic Tank
The best way to maintain your septic tank is with regular septic tank pumpings. Pumpings will help prevent any serious issues that would have to be solved by a septic tank cleaning.
We’ll go over the difference between cleanings and pumpings.
Septic Tank Pumping
A septic tank pumping removes only liquids, scum and floating solids from the septic tank. This process helps improve your septic tank’s ecosystem, which consists of bacteria and enzymes that keep the system running smoothly.
We recommend a septic tank pumping every three to five years to prevent any issues that will likely require a septic tank cleaning.
Septic Tank Cleaning
A septic tank cleaning is a much more intensive process than a septic tank pumping. A cleaning involves removing everything from the septic tank, including the sludge (solids) settled at the bottom.
Septic tank cleanings are usually only done when trying to fix issues. A cleaning essentially resets the septic system, removing everything inside it and allowing it to run as if new.
Signs You Need a Septic Tank Cleaning or Pumping
Without regular septic maintenance, the sludge and scum inside your tank will build up and cause problems like:
- Strong, foul odors coming from the tank
- Gurgling or slow drains
- Wastewater backing up into sinks or tubs
- Standing water or muddy soil near the tank or drainfield
- Exceptionally green grass near the drainfield
If you notice any of the signs above near your septic system, you likely need a septic tank pumping or cleaning.
Contact Us for Septic Tank Maintenance in Portland
Septic tank systems are tanks that use anaerobic bacteria to decompose and purify organic wastewater (or sewage.) It’s an airtight tank that, if not emptied on a regular basis, can cause sewage backup or leakage into the surrounding ground area or home. They’re an alternative to traditional sewage lines when it comes to disposing of your household’s waste.