How Often to Pump Septic Tank with Leach Field?

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Septic tank is an excellent asset for homes and structures where public sewage is absent. Have you ever imagined flushing your toilet without pipes to drain everything to the local sewer system? That’s one of the issues a septic tank helps to address.

However, as a homeowner, you need to maintain your septic system, one of which is to pump your septic tank as it protects your investment in your home. But do you know how often to pump septic tank with leach field?

Experts recommend pumping your septic tank every 3 to 5 years. However, there are certain factors to consider in regards to this, and we will address everything in this article.

Let’s get started!

What Is a Septic Tank?

A septic tank is an onsite wastewater treatment system you can use to decompose waste flushing out of a home or structure. So, rather than draining waste into a local sewer system, it goes into the tank or treatment unit, usually underground on your property.

A septic tank system is based on the biological decomposition of organic waste.

It is because there’s no apparent way solids can drain out. So, tank bacteria slowly consume the sewage and reduce it to almost nothing to enable you to continue with the tank usage, flush after flush. Meanwhile, the septic tank liquids drain out via the soak-away system.

As the waste drains away, the effluent mush is continuously eaten up by bacteria. However, some septic tanks do not possess soak-aways and instead direct their liquids into water courses like ditches, streams, and rivers.

But such systems are currently outdated and illegal, which requires you to build a soak-away or a unit called a package sewage treatment plant.

See Also: How Often Should You Clean Your Septic Tank?

What Is a Leach Field?

Also known as a drain field, a leach field is referred to a series of pipes stretched out from your distribution box. The tubes are often 20 to 40 feet long and possess little holes along the sides that drain out grey water from your septic system. 

These leach field pipes are usually placed over dirt and gravel to commence the filtration process naturally. Once the liquid seeps out of the leach field lines, it filters through the ground and enters the natural hydrologic earth cycle.

How Does a Septic System Work?

Microbes in the soil digest or remove several contaminants from wastewater before gradually reaching groundwater. Meanwhile, a typical septic system features four significant parts; a pipe from the building, a septic tank, a leach field, and soil.

The septic tank is an underground, watertight container created from concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene.

It helps to retain waste liquid long enough for solids to form sludge, and oil and grease float to the surface. It helps in the partial breakdown of solid materials.

Compartments and a T-shaped septic tank component help prevent the sludge and scum from escaping the tank and draining into the leach field area.

It also needs screens to help prevent solids from being discharged into the leach field. The wastewater leaves the septic tank and enters the drain or leach field for more treatment by the soil.

How Often to Pump Septic Tank with Leach Field?

Several rules state that you must pump a septic system between 2 to 5 years. In other words, you must pump it as often as your system requires. However, there are cases where it might or may not take up to that time frame before it will need pumping.

Again, there are certain factors you must consider before knowing whether to pump your septic tank or not, the most notable of which is the sludge and scum levels inside the tank.

Your septic system works in such a way that it uses natural gravity power to separate the household wastewater into three sections;

  • Solids (sludge) underneath the tank
  • Grease (scum) above the tank
  • Watery mix (effluent) in between the tank

In normal operations, the sludge and scum stay inside the septic tank while the wet mix drains into the leach field. However, it would be best to regularly clean the sludge and scum from the septic tank to ease its operation.

According to experts, generally, you should pump your septic tank every three or five years.

But as we mentioned earlier, certain factors should be considered in deciding how often to pump your septic tank with a leach field, including the system age, the number of occupants in your home, garbage disposal use, and the laundry amount done in the house.

Note: Septic system varies, as what is suitable for your system might not be right for your neighbor’s. However, with proper maintenance, you shouldn’t be worried about too many issues with your septic tank. But why and how should you maintain your septic tank?

Why Should You Pump or Service Your Septic Tank?

As a homeowner, you must maintain and service your septic system, as it helps to protect your investment in your home. Your septic tank needs inspection every 2 to 3 years and duly pumped.

Most people take septic systems for granted since they are out of sight and out of mind.

However, with proper maintenance, servicing, and pumping, your septic tank and the system will offer durable, effective treatment of household wastewater, save money, and protect your family’s health.

In contrast, lack of maintenance leads to damage and contamination of groundwater that might be a drinking water source.

How Do You Maintain Your Septic Tank?

As we mentioned earlier, regular pumping of the septic tanks when needed will save you some cost of repairs and prevent any resulting malfunctions and diseases, amongst others. But how do you maintain your septic system generally?

Pump frequently

You should contact an expert to inspect your septic tank at least every two to three years and have it pumped as required. Alternative systems require inspection more often, like electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical parts.

Use water efficiently

The average indoor water use in the typical single-family home is around 70 gallons per person daily. The more water a household preserves, the less water drains into the septic system.

Dripping faucets tend to consume approximately 2,000 gallons of water per year. Leaky toilets tend to waste at least 200 gallons daily.

Flushing responsibly

Dental floss, feminine hygiene products, condoms, diapers, cotton swabs, cigarette butts, coffee grounds, cat litter, paper towels, and other items tend to clog and destroy septic system components.

Again, if you flush household chemicals, gasoline, oil, pesticides, antifreeze, and paint can disrupt or damage the natural remedy within the system or may affect surface waters and groundwater.


If you want your septic tank to continue working effectively, then you must always inspect it and have it pump whenever it is required.

How often to pump a septic tank with a leach field depends on certain factors we have discussed above, which is why you must always employ a professional to check it. However, its pumping frequency ranges between one to 5 years.

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