Septic Tanks and Sewage Treatment Systems – when do they need emptying and how much does it cost for septic tank pumping?

Here at Arklow Jetting & Drain Maintenance we are regularly asked how often a septic system should be emptied and how much it will cost.  Read on to find out more about why it’s important to keep on top of maintaining your sewage system.

How does a septic tank work?

Septic tanks are part of an underground wastewater treatment system, sometimes known as a sewage treatment system or domestic wastewater treatment system.

Septic tank systems are commonly found in rural areas attached to homes that don’t have access to the mains system. The system uses a main tank, or a tank with several chambers, which holds waste from bathrooms, kitchen drains and laundry. The septic tank then treats some of the waste before the liquid part, or effluent, passes or is pumped, into pipes with perforations so it can soak into the surrounding land.

How do I know if my sewage treatment system is full or my septic tank needs emptying?

Depending on your septic tank design, the number of people living in your house and the size of the tank, your system will need to be emptied out every year or two. However, the EPA recommends a de-sludge at least once a year. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if your septic tank is full, until your pump stops working, which can be very expensive to replace! However sometimes the following sign might appear –
• An alarm sounding on your control panel (if you have one).
• Wastewater backing up in your house drains.
• Bright green, spongy grass on the leach field or drainage area.
• Water, effluent or muddy soil gathering around the septic system.
• A strong smell around the septic tank and drainage area.

Are there any septic tank regulations in Ireland?

Many homeowners are required to sign up to a septic tank maintenance contract with a local supplier as part of their local planning conditions. Even if this is not a requirement, regular maintenance of your system is the best way to keep everything in order, preventing wearing of pumps and expensive problems down the line.
Septic tank regulations are enforced by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and as of 2013, every home with their own septic tank or wastewater treatment system has to be registered and may be inspected. You can register your system at

The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for inspecting septic tanks and wastewater treatment system. Not every area is subject to inspection at the same time, as the EPA uses a risk-based approach which prioritises areas of higher risk to human health and water quality.

What is the average septic tank cleaning cost?

Don’t be concerned about septic tank emptying costs, because it is absolutely necessary in order to prevent damage to pumps and to stop clogging up your system. If you leave your tank until this stage it could cost several hundred euros to have your pumps cleaned or replaced, or worst case scenario your whole system will cost thousands to replace. For more information on how to look after your septic tank system check out the EPA website here –

Looking for local septic tank pumping or wastewater treatment system cleaning?

At Arklow Jetting & Drain Maintenance, our team of professionals have many years experience in servicing and maintaining septic systems. Our affordable prices and a quick and tidy service, have made us one of the most popular septic tank companies in Ireland. We serve everywhere from Dublin to Wexford, Kilkenny to Louth and Carlow to Meath, as well as our home county of Wicklow and our neighbours Wexford. Why not call us for a free quotation today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *