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Question DetailsAsked on 10/3/2013

should both chambers of a septic tank be pumped and inspected?

In past experience, my septic service company always uncovered and pumped both chambers of my septic tank. This year I went with a new company that only pumped the first (inlet side) chamber. When I asked them about it they said there is no need to pump out the second chamber. Is this true?

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1 Answer


Well - guess we can figure why you went with the new guy - cheaper price, right - and you got what you paid for.

Both sides should be pumped - because the first chamber accumulates predominately solids and floating materials, whereas the second accumulates a lot of the grease and semi-dissolved materials that make it past the primary sedimentation and skimming chamber. Also, depending on your tank, a lot of septic tanks, particularly older ones, have little or no knee (bottom) baffle and only a top skimmer baffle, so while the skimmer baffle catches most of the floating material and grease scuz layer, the solids spread across both chambers. Even with a high or solid intermediate barrier, a significant amount of material accumulates in the second chamber, and if it ever gets full to the bottom of the outlet pipe (typically about 3-4 feet off the bottom of the tank) then the flow to the leach field essentially stops.

If you have a local building department I would see what their regulations, or local code, says about pumping - some jurisdictions mandate in writing that all chambers be pumped, including the manifold or bifurcation chamber if it has a recessed sump.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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