How Much Does it Cost to Clean or Pump a Septic Tank?

Clean or Pump a Septic Tank Costs
Location: National Change Location
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Average reported cost:
$479
based on 1,253 cost profiles
Most homeowners
spent between:
$410 - $548
Minimum cost:
$200
Maximum cost:
$822
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The average national cost of septic tank pumping and cleaning is $479, with most homeowners spending between $410 and $548. This data is based on actual project costs as reported by HomeAdvisor members.

If your tank hasn't been pumped in the last 5 years, you are seeing wet areas or standing water above your drainfield, your toilets are running slowly or there are odors in your home, you may need to have your septic system cleaned. Below are some things to think about that will influence the cost of your septic system cleaning.

Pumping

Under normal conditions, you should pump your tank every 1-3 years based upon the number of people living in your home. Generally, this pumping will take around 4-5 hours of manual labor and about 2 hours or so with a backhoe. If you know the location of your septic system, this could save you some money on the backend because your professional won't have to charge you the time to locate it.

Size of tank

Obviously, smaller tanks cost less to clean, although you may need to do them more often. Larger tanks require more labor and possible machinery to dig up and pump the tank.

Replacing common parts

You may need parts replaced, such as a filter, which could cost a few hundred dollars. However, this filter is necessary in maintaining the function and longevity of your drainfield.

Soil fracturing

If your professional notices that your tank is failing, they can sometimes resurrected by properly pumping the tank, cleaning the drainfield lines, installing filters and a process known as fracturing the soil, which involves inserting a hollow tube into the ground and injecting a 300-pound blast of air. While this procedure could cost into the thousands dollars, it's much less expensive and much less hassle than installing a new system.

Keeping it clean

You know that your septic tank will work only if the bacteria in it are healthy and hungry. If they get sick or die, your septic tank will start sending un-digested waste out to the drain field which will quickly plug it up. Below are some "weird" things that could kill your septic tank:
  • Chemotherapy Drugs
  • Anti-Bacterial Hand Washing Soap
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaners
  • Bath and Body Oils
  • Dishwashers
  • Water Softeners
  • Time-Release Pills and Capsules

    Tip

    Once your septic tank is uncovered - take photos of it and diagram it in relation to your home. This information can save you money and could prove valuable if your tank needs additional service in the future.

     

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