A Step-by-Step Guide: How to Check the Septic Tank Liquid Level in Carroll County, MD

Are you puzzled about septic tank liquid levels? There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the concept of “full” when it comes to septic tanks. We often receive calls like, “I haven’t pumped the septic in a while, so I guess it’s full,” or “I opened the tank lid, and it’s full, so it must be time for a pump.” The reality is, your septic tank has been running full of liquids since shortly after the last pump-out. Here’s how it works, and how you can check and maintain your septic tank in Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Harford County and Howard County, MD.

Understanding the Design:

Septic tanks are designed to operate full – of liquids. Here’s the process: All water from your home (from showers and toilets to laundry, dishwashers, and sinks) flows through a single pipe to a septic tank. In the tank, the solids (yes, including toilet waste) sink to the bottom, while the liquids flow through an outlet pipe to your absorption system, which could be a drywell(s), drain field, sand mound, or drip system.

The Role of Routine Maintenance:

Just prior to pumping your septic tank during regular maintenance, Legacy measures and records the solid level inside the tank. We’ll pump the tank regardless but ideally; we aim to pump it when the solids reach about 14 inches. The frequency of pumping may vary based on your household’s water usage. Some homes may require pumping every 18 months, two years, three years, or even four years. Going significantly beyond that interval is not recommended, especially if we’re also cleaning your outlet filter or monitoring your drywell liquid levels when applicable.

How to Check Your Septic Tank Liquid Level:

Here’s a simple test you can perform to check the liquid level in your septic tank:

1.Have someone inside the house turn on the water.

2.Unscrew the lid on the observation port, which is typically a 6” PVC or cast-iron cap.

3.Shine a flashlight into the port and check if you can see water entering the septic tank. If you can, that’s a positive sign.

4.The water level should be around 2 to 4 inches below the inlet pipe.

5.If you can’t see the inlet pipe, it means the tank is overfull. This is a cause for concern, as something is preventing the water from exiting the tank and entering the absorption system (drain field, drywell, sand mound, drip system, etc.). There may be an obstruction in the pipe, and excavation may be necessary. It’s crucial to call a professional in this case.

Pumping the septic tank when it’s overfull will provide temporary relief, but the issue’s root cause needs to be determined. Keep in mind that as soon as you use water, the tank will fill up rapidly, so the problem won’t disappear on its own.

Understanding septic tank liquid levels is crucial for maintaining a healthy septic system in Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Harford County and Howard County, MD.  If you encounter any concerns or need professional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to Legacy Septic. We’re here to help you keep your septic system running smoothly and avoid any unexpected issues.