Summary: How much does it cost to clean a septic tank, average prices and factors to consider when cleaning a septic tank.
Cleaning a septic tank generally involves using a third party who uses specialist equipment to empty the tank and safely dispose of the contents. Given that you have to pay for this service, most septic tank owners are keen to ensure their tank is kept in good working order to reduce the frequency of cleaning and keep costs to a minimum. Just how often you will need to pay for your tank to be emptied will depend upon several factors.
|Cleaning cost||£80 – £120 (Per clean)||2019||n/a|
Factors to consider
Size of tank and household occupancy
The size of your septic tank versus the number of people in your home is an important factor to consider when thinking about how often your tank will need to be cleaned. A small tank serving a family of four will need emptying-out more regularly than a large tank which is only used occasional as a holiday home.
If you are installing a septic tank for the first time, the tank manufacturer will be able to advise on how often your new tank will need cleaning. If you are moving to a home with a septic tank already in place, there are a number of charts available online which will help you calculate the frequency of cleaning, based on the size of your tank and occupancy of your home. If in doubt, you can obtain advice from one of the many environmental waste management companies.
Volume of waste deposited
The volume and types of waste deposited in your septic tank will have a big impact on how often it needs cleaning. By carefully managing your household’s waste, you can reduce the frequency of cleaning and help avoid problems such as bad smells and blockages. Conserving water is first and foremost the most straightforward way to cut the volume of waste going into your septic tank. Taking showers instead of baths, recycling grey water and using water-efficient cycles on household appliances will all help save water and space in your septic tank.
Types of waste deposited
Cutting the amount of solid waste deposited into your drains is another way to reduce the frequency of cleaning. Throwing solid waste such as coffee grounds, sanitary products and paper in your toilet or drain will lead to a build-up of solid waste and could even cause blockages. Fat and grease have a similar effect and cloth fibres from household cleaning are also known to cause problems. Ensuring materials of this kind are kept away from your septic tank will prolong its life.
Because septic tanks rely on bacteria inside the tank to break down waste, using anti-bacterial cleaning products can cause problems for your septic tank. Cleaning products such as bleach, toilet cleaner, disinfectants and biological detergents should all be avoided as much as possible as they will kill the bacteria in your tank too. Use an oxygen bleach instead of chlorine bleach and look for ecologically-friendly cleaning products in the supermarket.
Use of bacterial boosters
Bacterial boosters or bacterial organic degraders can help reduce the number of times your septic tank needs cleaning. Available as a powder or in liquid form, they act to restore the biological balance of your tank and help break down waste. There are a number of products available for use in septic tanks – all of which need to be used at regular intervals either by flushing the product down a drain, or by using a manual dosing system. A year’s supply of bacterial booster can be bought for around £40.
Costs to consider
As mentioned above, just how often your septic tank will need cleaning will depend on a number of factors. Most septic tank emptying companies charge between £80 and £120 per clean, so if your tank needs cleaning once a year your annual cost will be around £100 per year.
As most properties with septic tanks are in an area which doesn’t have a mains sewerage system, teaming-up with neighbours who also have a septic tanks can be a good way to cut costs. If a septic tank cleaning company can empty two or even three tanks on one journey, they will save money and should be able to offer you a discount. If not, ask elsewhere.
One important thing to remember is that if a problem arises with your septic tank, it will need urgent attention. Blockages and leaks are not only unpleasant; they can be dangerous to your health and that of the environment. With that in mind, it is a good idea to have an emergency fund set aside so that you can call in the experts if needed.