Septic tank pumping


Over the years, your wastewater system will gradually build a layer of solids or ‘sludge’, which settles at the bottom of the primary septic tank. The layer of ‘scum’ that floats on top, typically consists of fats, oils and grease.

Septic pumping, or desludging is the process of a vac truck removing the ‘sludge’, ‘scum’ and effluent, or wastewater, from your system.



The frequency of desludging is typically calculated on the number of people living in the house. The following table is a guide only.

Number of people living in the home1-33-66-10
Frequency of desludge4-6 years3-5 years2-4 years

However, the frequency of desludging may increase if excess of the following enters the system:

  • Harsh cleaning products such as bleach, chlorine, disinfectants
  • Foodscraps, fats, oils and grease
  • Strong medications such as antibiotics or blood pressure tablets
  • Sanitary items
  • High levels of grey water

A record of the pump out should be kept, as it may be required for some local councils.



Desludging is one of the most important things you can do to protect and prolong the life of all types of wastewater systems.

Without regular desludging:

  • Your sewer drain could block, which may cause raw sewage to back-upi nto the house

  • Raw sewage may discharge from your Overflow Relief Gully (ORG), in your backyard

  • Your system may build highl evels of suspended solids, which can block filters, damage pumps, block dispersal fields (irrigation) and clog Sand Filters

  • The quality of the final effluent is significantly reduced


How do I know my tank needs pumping?

The best way to ascertain if your septic tank requires desludging is to measure the ‘sludge’ and ‘scum’ layer with a measuring tube. Many septic tanks are buried, which can make it difficult to inspect the sludge levels. SSA can help by exposing your system and can also install a lockable access lid at ground level for future desludging.

If you are unsure about where your septic tank is buried, SSA has specialised drain-locating equipment.


We’re ready to get our hands dirty

We’re ready to get our hands dirty with septic pumping. Give us a call!