Questions to ask when hiring a professional to clean your septic tank

  1. Does the company carry general liability insurance?
  2. Does the company carry workers compensation insurance?
  3. Is the company registered with the TCEQ  for hauling wastewater?
  4. How long has the company been in business and cleaning tanks?
  5. What methods are used to locate the tank?
  6. Does the price include finding the tank and exposing the lid(s)?
  7. Does the price include dumping fees?
  8. Does the price include any additional time on site due to locating the tank or a tank with very heavy sludge?
  9. Are their hoses long enough to reach the tank without driving over your lawn?
  10. Do they carry extra lids on the truck in case yours breaks?
  11. Do they check the inside of the tank for baffles, walls, cracks, leaks, roots, etc.?
  12. Do they pump the tank though the tank lid(s) or the cleanout?
  13. Do they wash out the tank after it is pumped?
  14. Will they remind you the next time your tank should be cleaned?
  15. Do you have to be there when they clean the tank?

How do I know if my tank is full?

The question should be “How do I know how much sludge is in my tank?”

The liquid level in your tank should always be at its normal level, which is at the outlet pipe (unless you are having a backup from the absorption area).  So, lets say you have a 1000-gallon tank. The tank will be filled to 1000-gallons, at the level of the outlet pipe. When your tank is cleaned it will be empty.  Once you use 1000-gallons (or however many gallons your tank holds to the outlet pipe), the tank will be filled to its normal level.  The amount of sludge in the tank determines when the tank is pumped, not when it is “full.”

Do you pump everything out of the tank?

Some liquids will remain on the bottom of the tank, simply because it is impossible to leave the tank completely dry.  The bacteria that remains in liquid helps keep your tank clean.

Will septic tank cleaning tear up my yard?

No.  We use shovels to expose the tank lids.  If you have nice grass, we will be careful to place the grass back in a way that it will easily grow with regular watering.  If the tank is difficult to find, several holes may be dug.

In extreme cases, an excavator may be used to locate or expose the tank and the lids, with your approval.

How often should my septic tank be pumped?

A conventional septic tank should be pumped every 3 to 5 years, depending on the size of the tank and the household wastewater usage. A family of 6 on a 1,000-gallon tank will need to pump out the tank more frequently than a family of 3 on a 1,000-gallon tank.  In Bexar County, the tank is required to be pumped/cleaned at least every five years in order to renew the License to Operate for the system.


Why clean a septic tank?

A clean septic tank lasts longer.  The septic tank separates the wastewater from the solids and allows the wastewater to enter the absorption field.  A dirty tank allows more solids to enter the absorption field.  This clogs your drainfield, leading to system failure.

In most cases, the entire system will have to be brought up to current regulations set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and your local permitting authority, which often requires an entirely new system installation.