Photo of septic tank sludge and
scum layer being broken up prior to septic tank cleanout.Septic Tank Pumping Procedure - Sequence of Steps for Pumping, Cleaning, Inspecting Septic Tanks

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Septic tank pumping guide & procedures, Step 1: initial checks before pumping the septic tank.

Things to check before starting the actual septic tank pumpout or cleanup. In these articles the steps in servicing a septic tank are given by photographs that show each of the critical steps in pumping, cleaning, and inspecting a septic tank.

This article series provides a step by step, photo-illustrated guide to opening, pumping, and inspecting septic tanks, how a conventional septic tank is located, opened, pumped out, cleaned, and inspected. This guideline is intended for septic pumping tank truck operators and as general information for homeowners or septic service companies concerned with septic system care.

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A Photographic Guide to Pumping a Septic Tank

PHOTO of a risky practice, leaning into a septic tank opening.Septic System Safety Warnings

This septic care guideline describes the steps in pumping and cleaning a septic tank.

While it is common for a septic service company to send a pumper truck with a sole operator, pumping septic tanks is an inherently dangerous procedure and I advise against working alone. An operator can be injured, or overcome by fumes such as methane gas.

Don't lean over or crouch down at the tank opening such as shown in the photo above. In this example case the operator was not working alone. Having a buddy watching is invaluable.

If someone does fall into a septic tank, do not enter the tank to try to save them - call emergency rescue. Double fatalities have occurred when a second worker entered a septic tank to try to safe the first who had entered the tank and was overcome by gases.

Because cleaning septic tanks involves potentially dangerous hazards (cave-in, collapse, methane gas explosion, or asphyxiation) readers should be sure to read our SEPTIC & CESSPOOL SAFETY article.

If a cesspool, drywell, or seepage pit is or might be installed, be sure to read Cesspool Safety Warnings.

Citation of this article by reference to this website and brief quotation for the sole purpose of review are permitted. Use of this information at other websites, in books or pamphlets for sale is reserved to the author. Technical reviewers are welcome and are listed at REFERENCES.

This is a chapter of SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION & MAINTENANCE COURSE an online book on septic systems.

Below at in the form of individual detailed articles are the Steps in Septic Tank Cleaning Procedure in the order that they should be performed.

Septic Pumping Procedure & Pumper Truck Operation Articles

Watch out: some septic system designs use fragile media or media filters for which service should be performed only by properly trained or certified septic service companies. Failure to properly protect media or filters from damage during septic tank pumping or cleaning can cause costly damage to the system and may prevent its proper operation.
See BAT MEDIA SEPTIC PLANTS and the owners' manual provided by Jet Inc. for that system design.


Continue reading at CLEANING SEPTIC TANKS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see SEPTIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS - separate article

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SEPTIC TANK PUMPING PROCEDURE at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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