Vacuum waste truck (Photo: @photovs via Twenty20)

What Happens if You Don't Clean Your Septic Tank?

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Vacuum waste truck (Photo: @photovs via Twenty20)
It’s easy to pretend your septic system doesn’t exist and all your waste just magically disappears. Out of sight, out of mind. But the reality is your septic system is very real and it definitely needs to be tended to. One vital part of septic system maintenance is cleaning your septic tank. But what happens if you don’t clean your tank? Here’s what you should know.

Solids will build up inside the septic tank

Over time, solids build up in your septic tank. There are a lot of bacteria and microorganisms that live inside the tank that keep solids from developing, but there’s only so much they can do. Eventually, solids will begin to build up.
When you have your septic tank cleaned, these solids are removed. Furthermore, household chemicals and products that might have made their way into your septic tank and kill the bacteria and microorganisms will be cleaned out, so that solids don’t form as quickly.
If your septic tank isn’t cleaned on a regular schedule, the solids will continue to build up, and that only leads to further problems.

The septic tank will have a reduced capacity due to an inability to drain the solids

Your septic tank is able to drain a lot of the fluids through a water treatment system, but it isn’t able to pass the solids through it. Which means that the solids will just sit there inside the septic tank. And since they’re inside the septic tank, they’re taking up space, which reduces the capacity inside the tank.
In other words, not cleaning your septic tank makes it smaller, because solids take up space that should be available for your sewage.

Next come the clogs

The tank will eventually get clogged, because the solids will reach the pipe that expels the liquids into the drain field. As the solids build and build, and the septic tank capacity shrinks and shrinks, you’ll eventually end up with a clogged septic tank. This will happen when the solids have grown to the point where they reach the pipe that feeds the septic system into the drain field.
When that happens, the septic tank will be clogged the same way a household drain gets clogged, and it won’t be able to pass liquid through. Instead, all the liquid will get backed up in the tank, because it has nowhere to go. And what happens next is a bit gross.

You’ll have a gross situation on your hands

When the septic tank has no place to expel liquids, they begin to seep out. This results in a lot of unwanted side effects.
One of them is smell. You might notice that it smells like sewage near your septic tank because … well … there’s sewage on the loose. To make matters worse, you might also notice the ground near the tank getting swampy.
There’s also the potential for the sewage to get backed up in your home, and start to come up through your drains: your sinks, showers, and toilets.

It will cost a lot of money to repair or replace the septic tank

If those things happen to you, you’ll need to call a plumber immediately. The plumber will have to drain and clean your septic tank, and depending on the damage caused by the solids and clogs, you might need serious repairs or even replacements. Those cost a lot of money.