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Since some materials in sewage cannot be decomposed, they must be periodically removed by a licensed systems cleaner, who will pump this material from the tank.
If you have a two-compartment tank, both sides should be pumped. The pumper should also remove all the water from the tank; this will allow a "rest period" for the leaching field.
Failure to regularly pump the tank may result in sludge being carried into the leaching field where it can plug the soil pores and cause failure. Since repairing a failing absorption bed may cost many thousands of dollars, the cost of routine pumping represents a very reasonable investment in protecting your ISDS.
See the following chart for recommended pumping frequency or tank cleaning.
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