What Happens When You Don’t Pump Your Septic Tank

June 21, 2017

A range of variables including the size, type, and frequency of use can speed or slow the frequency at which you have to clean your septic tank. On average, tanks ought to be pumped and cleaned approximately once every 1-3 years.

Septic pumping typically costs in the range of $200-400, but larger or commercial-grade tanks can cost $500 or more. This maintenance may feel like a frustrating expense, but the value you receive by avoiding risky complications is well worth it.

A fact of life for septic system owners, septic pumping and cleanings are a simple part of regular property maintenance. Here’s how it works, and everything you need to know to keep your septic system in top-shape, from D&L Environmental.

Why You Need To Pump Your Septic Tank

Your septic tank is designed to allow accumulated waste to separate into solids, effluent, and scum.

Solids sink to the bottom of your tank, where bacteria naturally decompose them.

Effluent is the middle, liquid layer. This is safely processed by your septic system

Scum and sludge float to the top, where it accumulates over time. Scum and sludge cannot be processed by a septic system and must be manually cleaned.

What Happens When You Don’t Clean Your Tank

When tanks go too long without being cleaned, sludge and scum accumulate, clogging filters, pumps, and drain-field lines designed to process effluent.

When this happens, wastewater will contaminate and eventually saturate your soil, and rise to the surface. Fixing this not only requiring the repair/replacement of much of your septic system, but a treatment to surrounding soil known as ‘soil fracturing’.


Soil fracturing requires a hole to be drilled into soil. A hollow tube is inserted into it, and hundreds of pounds of compressed air are blasted into your soil to create ‘fractures’ that wastewater can flow into.

This process requires significant time, energy, equipment, and can only be performed by professionals. The cost of repairing your septic system aside, soil fracturing typically costs in the range of $1000-2000

How You Can Extend Time Between Pumps and Keep Your Septic System Clean

Maximizing the healthy life of your septic system, and minimizing the expense of pumping, is a matter of cultivating a healthy balance of good bacteria in your tank. Several substances are well-known to upset this balance, so avoiding them is a great way to protect your septic system. They include:

  • Anti-Bacterial soaps
  • Drugs (especially time-release capsules)
  • Bath and Body Oils
  • Septic-unfriendly dishwashing detergents
  • Most water softeners

Septic Pumping With D&L Environmental Services

Serving Kelowna, Pentiction, and Vernon; D&L makes septic pumping and cleaning easy. To avoid the costs and hassle of a septic system in need of repair, contact D&L for your next septic pumping!

D & L Environmental Ltd. has been doing business in the Okanagan for over 30 years. We have grown into the largest full service hydro vac & vacuum truck company in the BC Interior.

670 Beaver Lake Road
Kelowna, BC V4V 1S7

250-765-0999 (Main Number)
250-766-3260 (Lake Country)
250-769-8040 (West Kelowna)
250-769-8040 (Vernon)
236-425-2232 (Kamloops)

Get in touch

    D&L Environmental is hiring experienced operators immediately for hydro vac, haz waste, septic and grease vac trucks. Very competitive wages, benefits, boot allowance, overtime etc. Out of town camp work available and as well local area work.

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