The frequency with which you will need to pump depends on three variables, the size of your tank, the number of people in the household contributing to the volume of your wastewater, and the volume of solids in your wastewater. If you are unsure about when to have the tank pumped, observe the yearly rate of solids accumulation in the septic tank. The solids should be pumped out of the septic tank by a licensed septic contractor. To determine how frequently you should be pumping the septic tank we adhere to the Ministry of the Environments guideline that, generally speaking, tanks should be inspected regularly and pumped every 3-5 years as required.
For example, when waste backs up in your backyard, the system has obviously failed. If significant amounts of biological or nutrient contaminants reach your well or surface waters, the system is also failing, even though it may appear to be working simply fine.
Most septic systems are designed to have a lifetime of 20 to 30 years, under the best conditions. However, many septic systems will fail before this time. Eventually, the soil around the absorption field becomes clogged with organic material, making the system unusable.
Many other factors can cause the system to fail well before the end of its “design” lifetime. Pipes blocked by roots, soils saturated by storm water, crushed tile, improper location, poor original design, or poor installation can all lead to major problems.
But by far the most common reason for early failure is improper maintenance by homeowners. When a system is poorly maintained and not pumped out on a regular basis, sludge (solid material) builds up inside the septic tank, then flows into the absorption field, clogging it beyond repair.