All you need to know about emptying a septic tank including costs of materials, labour and time frames.
People living in the city or suburban areas tend to take sewer systems for granted, but if you live in a rural location, then you will realise the importance of septic tanks. If there is no mains sewage, homes require a septic tank for baths, toilets and dishwashers to drain into. These tanks need emptying around once a year. Most contractors will need to drive a tanker onto your property so they will need unobstructed access between the septic tank and the parking area. The de-sludging or emptying service offered to customers with septic tanks usually includes the removal and treatment of around 1000 gallons of sludge. As part of the emptying process, the tank is also normally "backwashed" to remove any solids! This emptying service can be done as a "one-off" or more often as part of a regular maintenance contract.
Septic tanks use an outlet pipe that runs from into a drainage field or soak-away. A soakaway is a network of perforated or slotted pipes which allow the wastewater to percolate slowly into the ground without causing pollution. The septic tank separates out the waste into "scum", "separated wastewater" and "sludge". It's the separated waste water which runs into the soak-away system, the more solid yucky stuff stays in the tank which is why septic tanks need to be emptied out on a regular basis. If you don't empty your septic tank regularly then toilets will start taking longer to flush and you may even get stinking waste backing up to your home! The wrong kind of waste can then get into the soak-away system and pooling above ground, this creates an awful smell and can even pollute local water sources.
In terms of the cost to empty a septic tank, the size of your tank has a major effect as you would imagine. The bigger the septic tank, the more work to empty it out and flush the solids. But when choosing a tank, you need to remember that it's not just toilet and bathroom water, but water from washing machines, sinks and dishwashers too - so you need a tank with adequate capacity.
Smaller septic tanks are cheaper to install as they can often be above ground so no excavation costs, plus the tank itself is cheaper to buy, but smaller tanks will also require emptying more often, which can be expensive over the tank's lifetime. So larger tanks cost more to buy and install (usually they are underground) but are cheaper over the long term. The other benefit of a large septic tank is that a soak-away can be used for some of the waste-water to be filtered out so the tank is able to be emptied even less often. As long as septic tanks are emptied regularly and have been installed properly in the first place, they are largely problem free.
A septic tank specialist emptying out your septic tank will be supplying their own specialist equipment to empty the tank and dispose of the contents safely. Usually they'll charge around £80-£300 per empty varying on the size and time it takes to clean. Depending on the size, this will usually only need doing once a year.
Below are some estimated costs to empty and clean out a septic tank:
|Septic Tank Size||Avg. Cost||Duration|
|Extra Large||£300||2-3 hours|
Individual costs of cleaning a large septic tank - Total Cost: £200