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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.)
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.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
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TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
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.
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