Septic Tank Emptying | D&J Drain Services

Septic Tank Emptying – how often should it happen?

If you live in the countryside, there is a good chance that you have a septic tank buried somewhere in your garden.  This is tank to collect wastewater and sewage safely for homes located outside urban sewage systems.  One of the top questions that we are asked by country dwellers is how often should a septic tank be emptied?  Well we would recommend that septic tank emptying should take place every 12 months. 

So an annual desludge is essential to help your septic tank run smoothly and to avoid expensive repairs should things go wrong.  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? As your septic tank fills up, solid waste can clog the drain and force liquid to the surface of your lawn or field.
  2. When you flush the toilet or empty a sink, is the water slow to drain away even when you have tried to unclog the drains?
  3. Is there a nasty smell near the septic tank?
  4. Is the waste from your toilet, shower or washing machine overflowing?
  5. Is the grass near the septic tank overly healthy? Are plants and flowers growing more quickly than in other parts of the garden?
  6. If your sewage discharges into a watercourse, there may be overflowing sludge or scum on the water?

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.

Please note that the septic tank is never completely emptied as around 10% of septic waste should be left in the tank to continue the anaerobic breakdown process.  

Worried about your septic tank?

If you are a homeowner in Northern Ireland with a septic tank, NI Water will carry out one free desludge every 12 months!  You can book it on their website in less than a minute and they promise that the desludge will happen within 12 working days.

If you can't wait for NI Water to carry out the desludge as you have an urgent problem with your septic tank, please call us on 07925 153826 and one of our specialist engineers will be with you within 24 hours.  Our specialist engineers are highly experienced and they will empty your sewage tank with minimal interruption to your day.  We take pride in completing every job safely and without causing any disruption to your property or garden. Once the septic tank emptying is completed, we will dispose of the waste at a licensed treatment facility. We can empty septic tanks from business customers as well as private homeowners.

All in all, a fast and affordable septic tank emptying service from D&J Drain Services.

"David and James answered our plea for help almost immediately as our septic tank was overflowing into our garden. Great service, emptied the tank, flushed it through and fixed the problem. Great job! All done with good humour and professionalism. Many thanks." Catherine and Nigel Finch, Larne, July 2020