A B C Septic

Calgary Septic Services Since 1984

Here we will list a few of the common septic system related questions our customers have asked us over the years, along with answers to help you better understand how your septic tank and drainage field work in conjunction with each other and what we can do to help you with maintaining them. A properly cared for septic system should last the lifetime of your home.
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Below are a few of the common questions we receive about septic systems and the services we provide for on-site sewage systems in the Calgary area of Southern Alberta.

Septic System Questions and Answers

My septic tank lid is buried and I forget where exactly it is on my lawn. Are you able to find it for me?

Not a problem. We come equipped with devices to help us find your tank. Depending on how deeply it is buried there may be an additional charge for the usually minor excavation. Also, as we're not professional landscapers we will have to leave the cleanup and reburial to the homeowner.

My septic tank was pumped recently but I can see it has filled up again. Is there a problem?

Likely not. If we were the company that last pumped it your system would have been checked for any obvious problems that could cause a backup.

What is more likely is your tank has re-filled to its normal operating capacity, which is to the crossover line on the sludge side. Septic tanks need to be filled up to a high level so that the liquids drain to your leach field while the solids sink to the bottom. Have a look at the diagram we've included on this page to see how it works. Also, keep in mind that the pump side (or Bell System side) can vary in height of effluent depending on each system's design.

If you have any concerns regarding the height of effluent in your septic tank please call ABC Septic.

I have a garbage disposal unit. Does my tank need to be pumped more frequently?

In theory, yes it could. As you're putting more solids into your septic tank the debris will build up faster and require pumping more regularly. But it really depends on a few factors; your usage, how well the unit grinds up the waste, how big your tank is and how well the bacteria performs at breaking down organic matter. Your tank will at least need to be monitored more frequently until you get an idea of how well your system does at breaking down the extra matter that goes into it.

Search the web for some tips on the do's and don'ts of operating a garbage disposal, here's a link to get you started.

Are you thinking of installing a garbage disposal unit but on the fence? Consider a backyard compost pile instead. Food waste is great when mixed in with your leaves and grass clippings. It requires very little maintenance, has virtually no odour and makes for some great potting soil each Spring.

Will you have to drive your truck on my lawn to access my septic tank?

Usually not. Our vacuum hose is around 54metres (180 feet) in length so with most homes in the Calgary area we have more than enough reach to never have to leave the pavement. It really depends on how far away your septic tank is located from your driveway. If you think it may be close to being out of reach be sure to leave lots of room in your driveway as near the tank as possible so we can avoid having to drive our heavy vacuum truck on your grass.

Can I drive my garden tractor on top of my septic drain field?

Generally anything too heavy will contribute to packing down a leaching field but a good field will be built to handle the weight of a garden tractor that is used normally, especially in areas with large yards where they are required. Lawn tractors are very common in the rural, surrounding areas of Calgary and we haven't seen any problems from their use above a leach field.

How often will I need to have my septic tank pumped?

This is not an easy question to answer with accuracy as the answer depends on a number of factors.

  1. How much non-biodegradable stuff is being flushed.
    • The more stuff that can't decompose is flushed the faster the solids build up in your tank.
  2. How many bacteria killing chemicals are being poured into it.
    • If the bacteria required to break down the organic solids is being killed off by household cleaning products your tank will fill up much sooner.
  3. How many people live in your home and the water use habits of everyone.
  4. How large your septic tank is.
  5. What kind of septic system you have.
  6. How well your septic system functions, which depends on a quite a few factors including those mentioned above.

There are different septic tank pumping frequency guidelines and schools of thought. We have chosen not to list them here because every septic system is different and we would need to know more about yours specifically to give you an accurate answer.

If you're a longtime owner of your home the usual frequency can be kept. This assumes your septic company hasn't noted any cause for concern and your family's habits haven't changed in regards to water usage and what is being flushed.

If you're a new homeowner and haven't yet had your septic tank inspected or pumped we recommend you do so and ask your septic professional for their advice when they visit, after they've had a chance to inspect your septic set-up.

I have a question that I didn't see listed here. Can we call you about it?

Absolutely! Let us know what's up :)