Sludge buildup - pump septic tank

How Much will it Cost to Have My Septic Tank Pumped?

If you know even a little bit about septic tanks, hopefully it’s that having them pumped at regular intervals is as necessary as having your car’s oil changed or keeping your roof in good repair: ignoring any of them will inevitably result in serious expense and hassle.

In fact, replacing a septic system can run between $5000 and $10,000. The good news is, depending on system type, tank material and soil quality, well-maintained septic systems can last 25, 30 or even 50 years.

Pumping costs depend on tank size, frequency and location.

According to HomeAdvisor, you can expect to pay between $200 and $900, with the average cost falling at $383:

Average Septic Tank Pumping Cost


Let’s be more specific. Depending on household size, it’s common for most people to have their tanks pumped every one-to-three years, but here’s a chart for those of you who like your data on the precise and orderly side:

As you can see, larger tanks need emptying much less frequently, but will cost a bit more to pump. And, of course, the bigger the household, the higher the frequency. Now that you have an idea of what type of schedule your system should be on, as well as what the national cost averages are, the only way to truly know how much you’ll be charged is to contact your local septic service.

If you forget or neglect to pump your tank, here’s what happens:Sludge buildup - pump septic tank

The contents of your septic tank are divided into three layers. The bottom, or “sludge” layer, is made up of solids, while liquids make up the middle. Oils and fat rest on top to form the “scum” layer.

The only layer that’s meant to exit the tank is liquid, since sludge remains on the bottom, slowly breaking down, and scum stays buoyant. Over time, the sludge layer begins to build up and, if not removed by pumping, will begin to seep into the drainage pipes and out into the drainage field, causing clogs.

As things get worse, you may end up with standing, scummy water around the area of your tank or water containing waste material pooling in your drainage field. Without intervention, a complete system failure is soon to follow.

When you opt to have your tank pumped by a trained technician from a reputable company, here’s what happens:Septic tank pumped by a trained technician from a reputable company

If you don’t already know where your tank lids are, a technician should be able to locate them and uncover them, if necessary. Once the lid’s off, he or she will most likely note the tank’s liquid level to ensure there’s no leak.

A vacuum hose will then be lowered into the tank and begin pumping waste safely and efficiently to the truck. During this process, the technician will be on the alert for any backflow, which can be a sign of a drainage issue.

Once the pumping’s complete, your tank will be thoroughly cleaned and “backflushed” to break up and rinse out any remaining sludge. Your technician will also take this time to assess your tank for any damage.

Your tank lids will be replaced and once the job’s over, there will be virtually no sign visible (or odiferous) sign that it ever took place. The only ones who will know will be you and your happy, well-functioning tank.

If you have questions or would like to inquire about septic service in Phoenix and surrounding areas, please don’t hesitate to reach out any time. We’d love to tell you about our automated septic pumping scheduling service, which reminds you by post card or email when your service is due.


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