Septic Tank Cleaning

Septic cleaning truck Issues Rarely Considered

Septic Tank Cleaning

Mums on chair

Many readers live in the city or an area with a public sewer system. There’s rarely a problem and you give little thought to the process necessary to dispose of the waste in your home’s plumbing system.The first reference to a septic type system in the Bible is in Deuteronomy 23:12-14.

Out in the country we have a private sewage system, AKA septic system. When they work well you give little thought to them but if they act up…

Our system has been working fine since we moved here in 2002 but the tank does need to be periodocally emptied and according to the experts (who make a living by cleaning out the tanks) ours was long overdue for a cleaning. Not wanting to have the horrible problems I have heard about neglected septic systems several weeks ago I scheduled a cleaning.

Early this week I dug out above the tank to get to the large man hole cover, which is about 18 inches below the surface. This covers the tank, which is a 1,000 gallon concrete container. A neighbor helped me and we lifted the cement cover off to provide access to the cleaning and a view of the contents of the tank. (This is not what you normally have your neighbor’s over to see.)

Yesterday the truck came by to empty the tank using a large hose which sort of works like a vacuum cleaner. I watched with interest as the technician lowered the hose into the tank and went to work. He was clearly a real pro, although I wondered as I watched him lean over the opening if he ever lost his cell phone, which was attached to his belt, down the pit.  

He aggresively man-handled the heavy hose around the sides of the inside of the tank to “break up the solids” and in just a few minutes the tank was empty and we were “good to go.”  With a twinkle in his eye he said we now needed several million bacteria to replenish the tank. Boy, they sure didn’t tell me that when I ordered the cleaning.  This sure has got me worried:

  • Where do you buy “several million bacteria”?  I’ve never seen them advertized in any store I go to although I do see lots of anti-bacterial products.
  • How will I get all this bacteria home. Even if I get small bacteria surely several million will take up a lot of room and do I really want to haul that around in my car?
  • How much will this cost? Even if I manage to get the bacteria at 10 cents each (10 cents for anything these days is a real value) that’s still a whopping $200,000.
  • Surely they could be more specific. “Several million” is pretty vague figure and I sure hate to buy more than I need. Or if I get to many won’t that just clog up the system?

Well, we’ve resumed using our home’s plumbing system and everything seems to be working fine. I suppose we’ll juts have to let the bacteria thing take care of itself!

I asked the technician what they did with the waste. The truck held 5 systems worth (1,000 gallon tanks) he told me they had a processing plant that processed the material and the solids were used as fertilizer and the liquid went into the public system.

Next time you use the toilet or your home’s plumbing system count this among your blessings!


5 responses to “Septic Tank Cleaning

  1. Both of my folks grew up with outhouses, so I heard a lot of stories and jokes concerning that. When I was growing up, we had a septic system of sorts, but not as “up to date” as a cement holding tank. As I got a little older, we finally got “city sewer” put in out our way (at the edge of town), and my mom (especially) was sure glad to have it! I think we should all be thankful for, and not take for granted, just how comfortable we have it these days! Concerning the possible “lost cell phones,” my husband has heard stories in the oil field about pumpers and other various workers losing cell phones down in a tank of oil. “Boss, I need a new phone … “

  2. I worked with public sewers for 28 yrs with the City of Pgh. But when I lived up the mountains I built my own septic system that worked well except once in a great while I had to clean it out by hand. Oh Boy !

  3. Our septic guy does all the work himself. He digs it open and then closes it up, carefully replacing the sod over the top. Some things aren’t meant to be seen, even by their owner! He told me story of an old man who called him to retrieve his dentures from the septic tank. He planned to sterilize and then reuse them. Don’t think I could do that!!!

  4. Brother Weber,
    I would suggest that you invest in an extra piece placed on top of your tank which will raise the man hole cover just above the surface of the ground to make the next cleaning less labor intensive. However, you may want to place a flag or other marker clearly aabove it so as to prevent anyone from taking a dip. You wouldn’t want the Lord to accidently step in when He “moves” within your camp. Blessings!


    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to

    say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s