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Septic tanks are meant for storing sewage wastes. Sewage waste is separated from the other wastes that come from your house and is deposited into your septic tank. The solid part of the waste settles at the bottom of the tank while the water that rises to the top is usually allowed to leach off. Normally, septic tanks are made of non-corrosive materials like treated metal or plastic.

Most of the solid wastes that settle at the bottom of your septic tank degenerate and degrade. The remaining waste will have to be drained occasionally. It is recommended that you pump out the septic tank every two years in order to prolong your septic tank’s life and maintain its performance. If you are a small family, you can have your septic tank pumped out once every 5 years.

It is important to pump out your septic tank on a regular basis. Otherwise, sludge can accumulate and reduce the capacity of your septic tank. There is also a danger that the sludge might overflow into the drain field causing bigger problems. The frequency of pumping and cleaning the tank depends on the speed at which the tank is filled with solid wastes. Also, the amount of wastes in the tank, particularly the non-biodegradable wastes, and the temperature of the tank affect how often a septic tank should be pumped. These days there are special apparatus that can be attached to septic tanks to provide additional heat in order to increase the breakdown of solid wastes. Septic tanks with these special apparatus do not need to be drained often.

To help keep your septic tank in tip-top shape, avoid filling the tank with chemicals that can kill the bacteria that help break down solid wastes. Also avoid flushing down items that are not biodegradable. Plastic, rubber and sanitary pads should be disposed of properly and should not be flushed down the toilet.