Septic Tank Emptying | D&J Drain Services

Septic tank emptying – how often should it happen?

One of the top questions that we are asked is how often should a septic tank be emptied?  Well we would recommend that septic tank emptying should take place every 12 months.  If you are a homeowner in Northern Ireland with a septic tank, NI Water will carry out one desludge every 12 months and it’s free!  You can book it on their website in less than a minute and they promise that the desludge will happen within 12 working days. 

So the annual desludge from NI Water is essential to help your septic tank run smoothly.  But are there any tell-tale signs that all may not be well with your septic tank?

How to tell if your septic tank needs emptying?
  1. Is there water lying on the lawn or field beside the septic tank outlet pipes?
  2. When you flush the toilet, is the water slow to drain away?
  3. Is there a smell near the septic tank?
  4. Is the grass near the septic tank overly healthy?

These are all signs that all is not well with the septic tank and it needs to be emptied.

How does a septic tank work?

When you flush waste from your home (eg from the toilet, washing machine, shower or dishwasher), it travels through the external pipes until it arrives at the septic tank in your garden.  On arrival, it separates into liquid or solids.  Anything liquid will head to the soakaway but anything heavy will sink to the bottom of the tank where it joins the other sludge already there.  When your tank is emptied, it is the sludge which is removed.

Remember to treat your septic tank with respect.  Avoid flushing bleach, chemicals, grease and oil in your toilet or sinks as they can upset the delicate balance of the septic tank’s system.

Does the septic tank need emptied more regularly than once per year?

For most people, the annual desludge is sufficient but some homeowners still have problems even if the septic tank was emptied a few months ago.  This may because there are more people in the house and then waste fills the tank more quickly.  Sometimes a property has been extended but the original septic tank is still the same size so it may struggle to cope with the increased demands from more residents.  Even the COVID-19 lockdown played havoc with your septic tank as there are more people working from home and hence more waste heading to the septic tank every day.

How is the septic tank emptied?

Quite simply, a tanker lorry arrives at your property and the sludge is sucked from the septic tank to the tanker using a long flexible hose.  The tanker then takes the sludge away and disposes of it meeting stringent environmental safety standards.  Always make sure that the carrier is licensed with the NI Environment Agency. 

Worried about your septic tank?

Then give D&J Drain Services a ring on 07925 153827 today and one of our specialist engineers will be able to advise you as what needs to be done.  If you need you tank emptied in a hurry and can't wait for NI Water,  we can desludge it with our vacuum tanker.


    1. Author

      Good morning Colin

      Thanks for getting in touch with D&J Drain Services. I believe David sent you an email about this on Saturday.

      Kind regards

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