Maintaining and Cleaning Septic Tanks

Maintaining and Cleaning Septic Tanks2019-07-15T03:06:07+00:00

What is a septic tank?

A septic tank is a tank that holds the water, toilet paper and waste from toilet flushes. It is a basic type of onsite waste facility. Most domestic septic tanks are 1600L concrete tanks.

How does a septic tank work?

The septic system uses bacteria to break down and “eat” the solids (poo and toilet paper) that enter the septic tank. When the bacteria are alive and healthy, the solids are slowly broken down, but if the bacteria die off, a crust begins to form on the top of the tank and the solids in the tank begin to turn hard. When this happens, if the tank is not pumped out, over time the contents of the tank can turn into hard dirt which needs to be broken up and mixed with water before it can be pumped out. This hard buildup can block the pipes and also cause blockages in the trenches and cause new waste entering the tank to overflow.

Septic Tank Sludge Breaking Down

Septic Tank Sludge Breaking Down

Septic Tank With Crust

Septic Tank with crust

How septic tank blockages occur

Blockages in septic tanks can occur for a couple of reasons. First, without bacteria and bugs in the septic tank, solids will form a “crust” on the surface of the water and cause the tank to ultimately block up the inlet and outlet pipes. Secondly, if too much “sludge” accumulates in the septic tank to the point where it is exiting the outlet pipe, blockages will also occur and toilet drains will clog. For these reasons, we recommend that you pump out the septic tank on a regular basis to prevent the extra costs of blockages and damage that can occur.

How to Clean a Septic Tank

When choosing a company to pump out your septic tank, it’s important to check that they will open the main lid of the tank to perform a thorough pump out, clean and inspection of the tank. On every occasion Lee’s Environmental provides the highest quality clean to ensure your tank is kept in optimum condition. When we clean out a septic tank, we don’t just do a quick pump out through the inspection opening. Our regular service includes:

  • Lift up the main lid and pump out the septic tank
  • Scrape down all walls and baffles to remove accumulated sludges
  • Rinse out the tank with a garden hose
  • Pump out the rinse out residue
  • Inspect the tank and advise of any repairs or maintenance needed
Lifting the heavy main lid of a septic tank with gatic lifters

Lifting the heavy main lid of a septic tank with gatic lifters

 Refilling a freshly cleaned septic tank with water to prevent hydrostatic lift

Refilling a freshly cleaned septic tank with water to prevent hydrostatic lift

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Septic Tank

Follow these guidelines to help keep the bacteria in your tank healthy:

  • Only use 1 or 2 ply toilet paper
  • Repair leaking toilets
  • Install a dual-flush cistern for the toilet
  • Clean the toilet naturally (see our Septic Toilet Cleaning Recipe)
  • Don’t flush other items down the toilet including tampons, sanitary napkins, condoms, paper towels, cat litter or nappy wipes.
  • Pump out your septic tank every 2-5 years. Lee’s Environmental can test your septic tank to determine if it’s due for a pump out.

How to clean a toilet connected to a septic tank

Septic toilets should be cleaned with natural products to ensure the bacteria in the tank are alive so they can break down the waste.
For a great recipe to keep your toilet fresh, please see our blog article Septic Toilet Cleaning Recipe

Products to clean a septic toilet

  • Bi-Carb Soda (Baking Soda)
  • Vinegar
  • Borax
  • Lemon Juice

Products to avoid

  • Bleach
  • Disinfectant
  • Chemical Cleaners
  • Biodegradable Wet Wipes
  • “Septic Safe” Cleaning Products

Septic Tank Repairs

Lee’s Environmental can assist with the repair or replacement of your septic tank lids and baffles and repairs to septic tank walls.

Septic Tank Lids

A standard septic tank has a concrete lid with a main lid in the centre and two inspection openings either side. Keeping lids in good condition ensures that odors do not escape from the tank. We can replace the concrete inspection opening lids with new ones, and also replace the main concrete lid with a new one in most cases. If a concrete lid cannot be used, we can arrange for a custom checkerplate lid that is bolted over the septic tank.

Lifting the heavy main lid of a septic tank with gatic lifters
 Refilling a freshly cleaned septic tank with water to prevent hydrostatic lift

Septic Tank Baffles

Septic tank baffles help to prevent solids from flowing out of the septic tank and blocking up the pipes and trenches. They work by allowing the solid waste to settle on the bottom of the tank and build up as “sludge”. Septic tanks need both an inlet baffle and an outlet baffle. As part of our standard service, we will check and let you know if there are any issues with your baffles and arrange for replacement.

Lifting the heavy main lid of a septic tank with gatic lifters
 Refilling a freshly cleaned septic tank with water to prevent hydrostatic lift

Septic Tank Repairs

Depending on the condition of your tank, Lee’s Environmental can patch/repair the septic tank walls or assist with the replacement of your tank if needed.

Domestic Septic Tank Services

Contact Us

Please fill in the form below and we will be sure to contact you within 1 hour (within business hours). For immediate service please call 3206 4844.

Our Septic Tank Services