Septic System Care: Septic Tank Pumping Procedure - Septic Pumper Truck Operation
PUMPER TRUCK OPERATION PROCEDURE - CONTENTS: How the septic tank pumper truck or vacuum truck is operated. Description of vacuum pumps used on septic sewer & drain cleaning pumper trucks, list & contact information for buying a septic pumper truck vacuum pump. Description of the steps in prepring the pumper truck for septic tank cleanout, vacuum line layout, checking the pump, operating the pump
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Operation of the septic pumper truck: this document describes the steps in septic pumper truck operation during septic tank cleaning and service.
We describe the septic pumper truck operator's steps in opening the septic tank, placing the vacuum lines, checking the septic truck vacuum pump for proper operation before beginning the pumpout, the normal vacuum levels in the system during septic tank pumping, listening for jamming of the septic vacuum pump during pumping, connecting the vacuum hoses to the pumper truck, and beginning the septic tank vacuuming procedure.
Contact information for the manufacturers or distributors of all of these pumper truck vacuum pumps are at the end of this article. 
An example of the type of vacuum pump used on septic tank service vehicles is the Masport HXL400 System - Water cooled 400 CFM unit. Various pump sizes and pumping rates are available, all of them that work on septic pumper trucks will be similar in effect however.
This is a very powerful pump, typically weighing 470 pounds, using 6-vanes, water cooled, and pumping sewage at 400 cubic feet per minute. It should be readily apparent that septage moving through the unit and into the pumper truck will be highly agitated and mixed in the truck. This agitation effect will be true with any pump used for this application.
A Photographic Step by Step Guide to Pumping or Cleaning a Septic Tank
Before placing the septic tank pumping lines or performing any other steps with the
septic pumping truck the operator locates the septic tank and removes its cover (discussed above.)
With the septic tank opened the operator performs an initial action to begin breaking up the
septic tank floating scum layer and settled sludge layer as shown in the photo here.
The septic pumper operator lays out the pumping vacuum lines from the tank
to the septic tank.
The vacuum lines are not yet connected to the pumper
truck nor has the vacuum pump been turned on.
These photographs show the septic pumper truck's vacuum pump assembly.
photo of the vacuum pump gauge indicates that the pump is running at about
-6" of mercury.
In preparing to connect the pumper hose to the truck's transport tank,
the operator must
first turn on the vacuum pump.
You will only forget to do this once, as opening the
valve at the bottom of the pumper tank without first turning on the vacuum pump
can permit sewage to flow back out of the tank onto the operator!
The operator listens to the truck's vacuum pump motor to assure that the
vacuum pump is operating correctly.
If the pump is blocked or jammed it will need
to be cleared or repaired.
Once the vacuum pump is operating satisfactorily we're ready to remove the pumper truck
tank valve cover and to attach the vacuum line to the pumper truck.
In the first photo at above left the
operator is holding a bucket under the tank valve to catch the small amount of
effluent that may fall out of the valve body when the valve cap is removed in order
to attach the pumping hose.
The second photo at above right shows the operator attaching the
first length of septic tank pumping hose to the tank truck.
With the pumper truck's vacuum pump operating properly and the septic pumping hoses laid in place, and with
the first hose section already connected to the pumper truck, the operator connects the remaining sections
of the vacuum line.
Watch out: the operator in these photos is not wearing personal eye protection equipment nor an apron. Those are recommended to protect from hazards of sewage contaminant splash-back.
Where to Buy Septic Pumper Trucks, Vacuum Pumping Trucks, other Septic System Service & Installation Equipment & Supplies
KeevAC, run by Kevin Keegan, 866-789-9440, is a producer of new vacuum service trucks for servicing septic systems or portable toilets.
The company also provides vacuum pumps, hoses, and other sanitation accessories.
Sanitation Journal is an industry publication that
lists portable restroom and septic pumper trucks for sale. Vacuum trucks and portable toilet/restroom service trucks are listed and described.
SewerShopper.com website lists septic pumper trucks for sale under "Vacuum Equipment Septic" as well as
vacuum excavators, jetters, and portable toilet service equipment.
Wastequip provides vacuum trucks and vacuum equipment as well as hydro trenchers and portable toilet trucks.
Check your local telephone listings of other septic service companies to see if they have equipment to sell.
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Special thanks to M & O Sanitation, Dutchess County NY (845) 471-0308 for permitting us to photograph steps during septic system service at our demonstration property.
 Battoni & Pagani vacuum pumps,
Battioni Pagani Pompe S.p.A. - Via Cav. Enzo Ferrari n. 2 RAMOSCELLO di SORBOLO Parma (Italy), Email: email@example.com, Website: http://www.battionipaganipompe.it/bp/default.asp?sLang=PT
U.S. distributor, NVE National Vacuum Equipment, Inc., PO Box 685
Traverse City, MI 49685 USA, Website: http://www.natvac.com/products/battioni.html
 Conde vacuum pumps, Westmoor Ltd.
P.O. Box 99
906 West Hamilton Avenue
Sherrill, New York 13461
Pumps@WestmoorLtd.com, Website: http://www.westmoorltd.com/
 NVE Vacuum pumps, NVE National Vacuum Equipment, Inc., PO Box 685
Traverse City, MI 49685 USA
 PB Vacuum pumps, PB Pumps
PO Box 142 - 1230 SE 2nd Street
Galva, IL 61434
Phone: 309-932-3311 Fax: 309-932-3155
firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://pbpumps.com/
 "International Private Sewage Disposal Code," 1995, BOCA-708-799-2300, ICBO-310-699-0541, SBCCI 205-591-1853, available from those code associations.
 "Manual of Policy, Procedures, and Guidelines for Onsite Sewage Systems," Ontario Reg. 374/81, Part VII of the Environmental
Protection Act (Canada), ISBN 0-7743-7303-2, Ministry of the Environment,135 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto Ontario M4V 1P5 Canada $24. CDN.
 Manual of Septic Tank Practice, US Public Health Service's 1959.
Septic Tank/Soil-Absorption Systems: How to Operate & Maintain [ copy on file as /septic/Septic_Operation_USDA.pdf ] - , Equipment Tips, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8271 1302, 7100 Engineering, 2300 Recreation, September 1982, web search 08/28/2010, original source: http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfimage/82711302.pdf.
Pennsylvania State Fact Sheets relating to domestic wastewater treatment systems include
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-161, Septic System Failure: Diagnosis and Treatment
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-162, The Soil Media and the Percolation Test
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-l64, Mound Systems for Wastewater Treatment
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-165, Septic Tank-Soil Absorption Systems
Document Sources used for this web page include but are not limited to: Agricultural Fact Sheet #SW-161 "Septic Tank Pumping," by Paul D. Robillard and
Kelli S. Martin. Penn State College of Agriculture - Cooperative Extension, edited and annotated by
Dan Friedman (Thanks: to Bob Mackey for proofreading the original source material.)
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Or choose the The Home Reference eBook for PCs, Macs, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android Smart Phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAEHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
Advanced Onsite Wastewater Systems Technologies, Anish R. Jantrania, Mark A. Gross. Anish Jantrania, Ph.D., P.E., M.B.A., is a Consulting Engineer, in Mechanicsville VA, 804-550-0389 (2006). Outstanding technical reference especially on alternative septic system design alternatives. Written for designers and engineers, this book is not at all easy going for homeowners but is a text I recommend for professionals--DF.
Builder's Guide to Wells and Septic Systems, Woodson, R. Dodge: $ 24.95; MCGRAW HILL B; TP;
Quoting from Amazon's description: For the homebuilder, one mistake in estimating or installing wells and septic systems can cost thousands of dollars. This comprehensive guide filled with case studies can prevent that. Master plumber R. Dodge Woodson packs this reader-friendly guide with guidance and information, including details on new techniques and materials that can economize and expedite jobs and advice on how to avoid mistakes in both estimating and construction. Chapters cover virtually every aspect of wells and septic systems, including on-site evaluations; site limitations; bidding; soil studies, septic designs, and code-related issues; drilled and dug wells, gravel and pipe, chamber-type, and gravity septic systems; pump stations; common problems with well installation; and remedies for poor septic situations. Woodson also discusses ways to increase profits by avoiding cost overruns.
Country Plumbing: Living with a Septic System, Hartigan, Gerry: $ 9.95; ALAN C HOOD & TP;
Quoting an Amazon reviewer's comment, with which we agree--DF:This book is informative as far as it goes and might be most useful for someone with an older system. But it was written in the early 1980s. A lot has changed since then. In particular, the book doesn't cover any of the newer systems that are used more and more nowadays in some parts of the country -- sand mounds, aeration systems, lagoons, etc.