One of the traits of a true redneck is being a fan of the Red Green Show! I for one enjoy the silly comedy of this off beat show that features the antics of a myriad of goofy characters and touts the virtues of duct tape for almost any project. One of the mainstay characters is Winston Rothschild, the hard hat toting funny guy who owns Rothchild’s Sewage and Septic Sucking Services and constantly spouts one-liners such as the topic of this article. That slogan was meant to be a funny pun, but it does beg the question, “How often should you pump your septic tank?”

If you live in the country you probably have a septic system that was designed to collect and process raw sewage, which effectively cleans the yucky stuff from the sewage water before allowing it’s return to ground water. It accomplishes this by storing the solid waste in a large tank, allowing only the watery portion to spill over into a drain field. The drain field then distributes this effluent (nasty gray water) over a specified area causing it to percolate down through a filter of soil in a way that will allow its slow absorption rather than seeping out on top of the ground or traveling too quickly to ground water sources.

Even though some of the solids do eventually break down because of the bacterial process and may be released into the drain field as part of that gray water, the amount of soaps and grease that we usually flush make it necessary to periodically pump these solids out of the septic tank, otherwise the excessive buildup of solids can cause the drain field to age prematurely and cause failure of the system because the drain field soil becomes so clogged with gray matter that it can no longer accept the liquid.

The pumping procedure is done by removing the tank lids and inserting a large hose that sucks the contents from the tank. This process is a nasty job at best and usually requires some effort on behalf of the pump technician who must break up the thick crust of flotsam that develops on the top of the water.

Some say that you should pump your septic every two years, but each system is unique depending on design, soil types and usage. Obviously a large family can burden a septic system more than a small family with less usage. Since situations vary greatly, homeowners should talk to a professional septic pumper to get specific advice. I’ll bet you are guilty of procrastinating when it comes to this unpleasant project! Me too!