Frequently Asked Questions About Septic Systems Services

Septic systems can be confusing, especially for those who recently purchased a property with such a system. Here are some of the most common questions about septic system pumping, inspection, and repair. For more information, we encourage you to contact Aloha Sanitary Service at (503) 648-6254 to speak with one of our septic system experts.

How does a septic system work?

Essentially, a septic system is made up of sewer lines, a septic tank, and a drain field. The sewer lines transport sewage from the drains into the septic tank, where solid waste breaks down naturally over time. As it breaks down, waste settles at the bottom of the tank. Liquid waste remains at the top of the tank and is sent to the drain field via an electric pump or the force of gravity. When liquid waste arrives at the drain field, it is distributed into the ground, where the soil naturally filters and absorbs it.

How often does a septic system need to be pumped?

Regular pumping is an essential part of maintaining a well-functioning septic system. The average household of 3-4 people with a 1,000 tank usually requires septic tank pumping every three to four years. You can find more detailed guidance by visiting the Oregon Septic Smart Homeowners’ Guide

What happens if I don't pump my septic tank?

Failing to pump a septic tank regularly can lead to serious (and expensive) issues. Without proper maintenance, solid waste can accumulate in the tank and eventually fill it, preventing the natural decay process from occurring and forcing solid waste into parts of the system where it should not be. Eventually, an overly full or blocked septic tank can damage the drain field components and make it much more difficult to pump the tank itself. Insufficient or delayed septic pumping often means more money out of your pocket—not to mention an intense and disastrous mess.

How do I know if my septic system needs replacing?

First, we encourage you to contact us to arrange a septic system inspection. We will perform a detailed assessment of your system to identify any weaknesses or issues that need attention. It may be time to consider a system replacement if the steel or concrete tanks have developed holes or leaks or if you notice puddles forming in the drain field. In some cases, a leaking septic system can cause well water contamination, which calls for immediate action to restore safe access to drinking water.

If I add more bacteria to my septic tank, does this mean I don't have to pump the tank anymore?

Naturally occurring bacteria play a critical role in breaking down solid waste so the septic tank can function properly. However, there is no need to add any more bacteria—trust that nature will do its job on its own! Additives may promise to remove the need for septic pumping, but they are not a replacement for this essential aspect of proper septic system maintenance. Without regularly pumping your septic tank, you risk excessive accumulation of solid waste in the tank that could lead to significant damage later on.

Have more questions? We’ve got answers. Call our office today at (503) 648-6254 to get started.

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