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How Often Should I Empty My Septic Tank

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  • 06-08-2021
How Often Should I Empty My Septic Tank

How Often Should I Empty My Septic Tank?

Many companies and property owners follow a general rule that you should try to empty your septic tank at least once every three-five years.

There are vital factors that tend to influence how often you should empty it, and these are:
The size of your tank: septic tanks can only hold a certain amount of solids, sludge and waste before they require immediate attention.
The level of usage: depends a lot on how many people live in your property, establishment, or house.
What you flush: the content you flush may cause detrimental blockages that you must address by emptying the tank quickly.

The Importance of Regular Emptying

It is so vital to have routine emptying of your septic tank as often as it requires. 

The septic tank is a relatively expensive system to have put in place, and potential replacements or repairs can be just as costly. If you ensure your septic tank is always maintained and in good care, it can positively affect their life span, so it's best to strive to do so.   

Routine cleaning of your septic tank is also significantly necessary for eliminating any risk of expensive septic tank repairs, system failures or potential foul smells or chemicals emitting that aren't pleasant to live with. 

It is also a great act of stewardship to partake in that will positively benefit the environment, your neighbourhood and your community.

How Often Should I Empty My Septic Tank? SURREY AND THE SOUTH EAST

How Often do you Pump Out a Septic Tank?

Some septic tank contractors in charge of pumping suggest that you pump it every year or every two years—some even state that you should get it pumped every few months or after many visitors.   

It is wise to get your septic tank pumped before or after heavy use if the septic system in use is marginal. Pumping the tank before extreme usage avoids potential sewage backup mid usage, and pumping it afterwards shall return to its previous state.

Septic Tank Pumping or Part-Time Occupied Buildings

You can take any point in your septic tank pumping schedule and increase the interval length between pump-outs.

Septic Tank Pumping Surrey And The South East

An example: 

Let's say your household or property size is four people; the septic tank will hold around 1250 gallons. The frequency of tank pumping is every 3-4 years. Keep in mind that each tank is different and will have other conditions and guidelines to follow.  Let's suppose your camp or building is occupied for four months of the year (12). Meaning around the portion of the year occupied is 40 months between pump-outs.

Pumping for Sewage Holding Tanks

Onsite sewage system holding tanks for disposal are explicitly required when a septic drain field or treatment plant is not in sight. They need to be pumped routinely according to the rate and overall volume capacity of the waste inflow.   

An excellent design for septic holding tanks or sewage includes a septic tank alarm system alerting you whenever the tank needs to be emptied or pumped. You can set the alarm to sound it early enough so that you continue your usage of your plumbing system whilst you wait for the contractor to arrive and pump your septic tank.   

Periodic inspection of your septic holding tank is a viable alternative; however, it is not the most common one—many struggle to follow this with care to avoid the damage.

What are the signs your septic tank is full?


If your lawn above looks exceptionally healthy, it is likely that your septic tanks wastewater is leaking or overflowing and therefore assisting in the growth of your grass! 

Whilst the healthy grass is a great bonus, you don't want the damage of an unemptied septic tank.

What are the signs your septic tank is full? Surrey And The South East


You may notice strange pools of water lingering on your lawn or by your septic tank; this is a sign your septic tank is overflowing.  

 When your tank has reached its optimum capacity, it forces the wastewater upwards above to the ground. Book an appointment to get your septic tank emptied.   


Your drains may react and operate much slower, and this would be a sign of clogged or blockages in the drainage pipes system. 

The same can be said for problems with toilets and sinks; if the drains are draining slowly, your septic tank may be full.


You will find that every drop of dirty water goes down into the septic tank from especially from washing up, so overall it can create a rather nasty, foul smell over time. 

If, over time, you find that those smells have grown more robust than usual, your tank is likely to be complete, and you'll want to empty it before neighbours or other establishments begin to complain. 


Out of all of the signs, this is one you will want to avoid with routine emptying and cleaning.  If your sewage system is backing up, this is the most obvious sign that your septic tank needs emptying immediately. 

Keep a close eye on the lowest drains in your house or property, as these will be the first to show signs. Would you please do your best to reduce your water usage and ensure you call a specialist septic tank technician to assist you in emptying it safely?

What Happens if a Septic Tank is not Pumped - Surrey And The South East

What Happens if a Septic Tank is not Pumped/Emptied? 

As a septic tank owner, it is your responsibility to comply with all Environmental Agency binding rules and guidelines.  

 Ensure you carry out regular inspections with septic tank specialists so that they may thoroughly analyse your system and repair any faults. Pump and empty your tank when most needed and necessary to your routine, size and usage levels.   

Those who fail to meet or comply with these obligations can face local authority action, including extensive fines. Your business, home or community could be at risk. It's best to take care of the septic tank you have, learn its ins and outs and perform your maintenance well.   

How Often Should I Empty My Septic Tank?

When it comes to maintaining your septic tank, everyone seems to have their ideas. Here is a guideline on when you should empty your septic tank.   

Septic tanks need to be emptied regularly. They do not clean and maintain themselves, so it's your responsibility to do so. 

The frequency will depend on the size of the tank and how often it's used. A typical tank for residential use can take around 3,000 litres. These tanks need to be emptied at least once a year. If it's a smaller tank, it may need to be emptied more often.   

It also depends on the number of people who lives in the house or property. Septic tanks are ideal for areas where there is no connection to the local sewage system. It also means that you won't be liable for any sewage fees. But you will be responsible for maintaining the tank.   

 Septic tanks are often preferred over cesspools. They work to treat the waste, rather than just simply storing it as a cesspool does. But the choice you make will depend on the space you have available.  

Septic tanks should be emptied by a professional. It can be very dangerous to handle these tanks, and you can even incur a fine if you empty them by yourself. A licensed contractor will keep records and ensure that waste is disposed of properly.  

Tank Smart provides liquid waste management solutions. If you want to know more information, phone our team 01483 377 074 today, or visit the email address on our website.

Are you looking for septic tank emptying or other wastewater services? For liquid waste collection or disposal in Surrey, Sussex, Essex or the South East, follow the links below.