Do I Need to Empty My Septic Tank?

Your priority as a homeowner is to maintain the value, function, and safety of your house. One of the most important systems in your home to maintain is the plumbing, namely, the septic system. The problem is that many people are quite confused on what the proper maintenance is for a septic system. Furthermore, many people confuse sump pumps and septic systems. If you are having the same questions, such as, “what is the difference between a sump pump and septic tank?”, or “when should I empty my septic tank?”, you are in the right place.

Continue reading to learn what you need to know about taking good care of your property’s septic system, including when septic tanks should be emptied.

Septic System Basics

First let us discuss the basics of a septic system so that you understand the difference between a sump pump and a septic tank. You see, a septic tank is a component of plumbing that collects sewage and wastewater, and naturally decomposes them using a bacterial action. They are usually constructed of precast concrete, concrete blocks, or reinforced fiberglass, and buried in the ground somewhere on the property.

A sump pump is a device that is outfitted to a sump pit for the purpose of removing excess water and liquids from the pit. They are usually connected to a municipal sewer line or storm drain, and equipped with a flotation device that forces them to clink at particular levels of flooding. If the power is out, there is a manual lever that allows people to release excess water. If the water level reaches or exceeds a preset level in the pit, the pump initiates and sucks up enough liquid to remedy the risk of overflow.


Now where does the cesspool come into play? Well, not every property has a cesspool. Some homes are equipped with cesspools instead of septic systems. Although both collect organic waste and decompose them naturally, cesspools are a much older waste disposal technique compared to the modern-day septic tanks. The general rule of thumb is to have your septic tank inspected and serviced by a professional plumbing company every 1 to 3 years.

When and How to Empty the Septic Tank

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends having your septic tank inspected every three years by a licensed Indianapolis master plumber. They further recommend adhering to the professional advice given by the plumbing contractor in regard to routine de-sludging and septic service. Basically, you need to hire a licensed plumbing contractor to perform all septic and cesspool work, no matter how inclined you feel on doing it yourself. These are important systems, and one wrong move or mistake can leave you with some very messy, and extremely unsanitary conditions.

Where to Get Professional Sump Pump Service and Repair in Indianapolis

Call Weilhammer Plumbing Co. Inc. at 317-714-0759 to speak with a friendly and knowledgeable master plumber about sump pump service and repair in Indianapolis, Indiana and its surrounding counties. We are happy to answer any questions you have about septic tank and sump pump installation, maintenance, replacement, repair, problems, and more. We even offer 24 hour emergency services for water leaks, floods, and more. Owner and Master Plumber, Mark Weilhammer, recommends installing the Aquanot ll® Battery Backup Sump Pump in your sump pit along with your main sump pump. The Aquanot ll® is the most reliable back up system on the market today. Call 317-714-0759 for professional sump pump services in Indianapolis you can trust!

What is the Difference Between a Cesspool and a Septic Tank?

Cesspools and septic systems are essentially the same, as they are both used for waste management when a connection to a centralized municipal sewer service isn’t possible. However, they have key differences that matter in terms of performance, practicality, and convenience.

Continue reading to learn more about both waste management systems, including their primary differences and which system is best for your home.

Indianapolis Septic Tank Service 317-784-1870

Indianapolis Septic Tank Service 317-784-1870

Ancient Rome and Babylonia

What we all know as the modern septic system has actually been in development for more than a century. It can be dated back to the early 1900’s when the septic tank was first invented in England. In contrast, the cesspool is a lot older, and can be dated back all the way to ancient Roman times. In fact, many theories suggest that antique cesspool waste disposal systems began in Babylonian times when pipes were first invented.

Modern Day Private Sewage Disposal

Today, nearly 25% of residences in North America rely on septic systems for private sewage disposal. Aside from these numbers, there are still a nominal fraction of North Americans that use cesspools instead of septic tanks. Although one system is more outdated than the other, they both provide the same purpose of separate waste, safely and conveniently.

What They Do

Cesspools and septic systems are a means of private waste disposal in areas that do not have access to a central municipal sewer service. These systems are designed to separate three types of organic waste, allowing for strategic sewage diversion and disposal. The three types of organic waste include scum, sludge, and effluent.

Scum has a lower density value than water, so it is found floating as a top layer; it is also biodegradable, Effluent is the actual wastewater, so it is distributed to the surrounding ground to naturally absorb into the soil. Sludge describes the solid, organic elements found at the bottom of tanks or cesspools. Since sludge is non-biodegradable, it must be pumped out on a routine basis. See our blog, “When Should I Empty My Septic Tank?

Advantages and Disadvantages

Most professionals and consumers will insist that septic systems are a much better operation than cesspools. First of all, cesspools are not integrated systems; they are rudimentary in design. They are basically perforated concrete or block rings that are buried underground. They do not spread effluent to the surrounding ground soil, and sludge piles up at the bottom. Overtime, cesspools have to be pumped to remove the sludge buildup, and sometimes, they have to be relocated altogether because the surrounding soil becomes too saturated with wastewater.

Septic tanks are well-designed systems that use an elaborate method of distribution to safely and efficiently divert wastewater to a series of perforated pipes. This allows for a widespread distribution of effluent, and provides an eco-friendly alternative to the outdated cesspool setup. Furthermore, they are designed with a closed tank environment that safely contains bacteria, which helps breakdown scum waste. And although septic systems also require periodic pumping, the frequency is much lower and the process is much easier, compared to cesspools.

Indianapolis Septic System Repair

Weilhammer Plumbing Company 317-784-1870

Weilhammer Plumbing Company 317-784-1870

Call Weilhammer Plumbing Co. Inc. at 317-784-1870 when you need a licensed Indianapolis plumber you can trust for quality septic system service and repair at an affordable price. We use a comprehensive approach to plumbing diagnostics, with the help of state-of-the-art equipment and the latest technologies in the plumbing industry. Request a free estimate, today.