When Does Your Septic Tank Need Pumping? Think SOAT

3 December 2020
 Categories: , Blog


Since it is buried in your backyard, your septic tank is probably not a part of your home that you think about too often. And thankfully, most septic tanks go on doing their jobs for years on end before they need any sort of attention. However, you will need to have your tank pumped out now and then. When do you know the septic tank needs septic pumping? Well, you keep the acronym SOAT in mind.

S: Smell

The smell is probably the most obvious indicator that a septic tank is full and needs to be pumped out. You may smell a nasty sewage odor coming out of your drains or your toilet. This goes away for a minute or two after you flush or turn on the water, but then it comes back. The smell is coming from sewage that has started to back up into the pipes since there's no room for it in the septic tank.

O: Overflowing Water

Another symptom of a full septic tank is water overflowing into the back yard. You may notice puddles and pools of water in areas that were not extra wet in the past. You may also notice that the grass grows really long in some areas. This is because that grass is getting more water than is needed. Since the water that overflows the tank is not always sanitary, avoid touching the grass or soil in these moist areas until you're able to have the tank pumped.

A: Alert System Going Off

Not every septic tank has an alert system, but newer ones do tend to have this feature. The alert system might be a light that lights up when the tank needs to be pumped. Or, it could be an alarm that starts beeping. If you're not sure how your tank's alarm system works, then look for the user manual — or look up your tank's model number to see how it works.

T: Toilet Clogs

Not every toilet clog means your septic tank needs to be pumped. However, if your toilet seems to be clogging again and again, or if plunging does not seem to be fixing the issue, then your septic tank might be to blame.

The acronym SOAT is a really convenient option for remembering when your septic tank needs to be pumped. When you notice these signs starting to creep up, call a local septic pumper.