Lack of Septic Pumping leads to Septic System Failure

This septic emergency was because of lack of maintenance.

This client was under the impression that you never need to pump the septic system, unless it’s giving you trouble.  He adds septic tank additives every months.  It’s never giving him a problem before.

Unfortunately, over 8 years, it completely packed with solids.  All a septic tank does is separate liquids from solids and allow liquids to enter the drainfield.  If the septic tank get’s too full, it will allow solids to enter the drainfield, and cause it to fail.  This homeowner thought he was taking very good care of his system.  No garbage disposal.  Doesn’t flush any garbage at any time.  Just toilet paper.  Added septic additives.  He was shocked to see that the system is now failed.  It filled up with water, and the drainfield could not accept any water, and backed up within minutes of pumping the septic tank.  Now the entire system will need to be replaced with a system that’s up to code.

This septic system failure could have been easily avoided by cleaning the septic tank every 4-6 years.

Estimated cost of system replacement $8,000-$13,000 if county allows replacement.  The county may require city sewer hook up because it’s close.  Estimated cost to hook up to city sewer $18,000 to $25,000.  Estimated cost of pumping a septic tank every 4-6 years $380.00.


  1. Just wanted you to know that I think your blog and content are awesome. Also I find that its pretty common that people are generally unaware of the required septic upkeep to keep things running smoothly. Sites like this are important so that people can continue to be educated and so that they can avoid situations like the one above.

  2. Wow that was a costly mistake! Thanks for sharing. I think its important to note that there is no exact guideline on when to get your tank pumped, it needs to be monitored and maintained frequently to keep the system free from as many solids as possible. I’ve seen some that last 4-5 years without getting pumped and others that only last 2-3 years before they need to get pumped. Thanks!

  3. We’ve been seeing so many systems in Oklahoma fail because they’ve never been pumped. Most of those homeowners believed that tanks don’t need to be pumped until they are backed up. Septic system education is so important and this is a great post for doing that!

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