What’s the Difference Between Septic Cleaning and Septic Pumping?

March 10, 2019 Published by Leave your thoughts

There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to septic tank maintenance. You might hear the words “pumping” and “cleaning” used interchangeably. And while they both involve backing up a truck to your home and sucking waste out of your septic tank, there is actually a difference between them. Really, it comes down to what’s being removed from the tank.

Anatomy of the septic environment

To understand the difference between septic cleaning and septic tank pumping in Conroe, TX, we need to understand the septic environment—specifically, the layers of waste within it:

  • At the top is scum. This is floating waste that’s typically still being broken down by the bacteria in your septic tank. It’s the thinnest layer.
  • Under the scum is the liquid layer. This is simply liquid waste and makes up the majority of your tank. This is the thickest layer (volume-wise).
  • Settled at the very bottom of the septic tank is the sludge. This is solid waste that’s broken down as far as it can be by your tank.

Pretty mental pictures aside, a healthy septic environment will contain all three of these layers. Too much of one or the other can disrupt the balance of a tank, making it harder to break down waste. This is where pumping and septic tank cleaning in Cleveland, TX come in.

Septic cleaning vs. septic pumping

Septic cleaning and septic pumping are both important. But the rate at which they’re needed to maintain your tank are very different.

Septic tank pumping is a routine procedure, done every three to five years. Keeping up on routine cleaning is the best way to prevent problems! During this procedure, it’s mostly liquids and floating solids that are removed from the tank. This helps restore the biome of your tank, so solids are processed quickly and other problems (like backflow) are avoided.

Septic tank cleaning in Conroe, TX, on the other hand, involves pumping all liquid and sludge out. It’s a much more involved process that’s used to totally reset your septic tank. Cleanings are usually done when the tank has exhibited problems, like backflow or drain field issues. Cleaning may even require hydro-jetting to break up compacted solids that have settled at the bottom.

Leave it to the professionals

When you call for septic maintenance, it’s a good idea to know what you’re asking for. The professional on the other end of the line will likely know what you mean when you ask for pumping or cleaning (usually, it’s pumping). But it never hurts to know the difference yourself, in case a service is recommended to you.

Either way you look at it, neither job is one you can do yourself. The best you can do as a homeowner is stay informed so you’re aware of what your septic system is getting in terms of maintenance. And, if cleaning is recommended to you, you’ll be able to ask questions about why or what’s involved.

Both services may look like waste being sucked out of the ground, but the fact is, cleaning and pumping are two very different septic maintenance solutions! For more information or to schedule an appointment, reach out to All Pro Septic today.

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