Making sure your septic tank – whether it’s for your home or business premises – is emptied and maintained regularly is the best way to minimise the risks to yourself and your immediate environment. Here Gilson Environmental Services, who provide septic tank maintenance services from our Ipswich base, outline some of the key hazards inside and outside your property.


Outside the House

If you don’t have your septic tank emptied or pumped out in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations, sludge and scum could soon build up. This could seep out into the drainage field or soakaway; this in turn could damage the local flora and fauna and (eventually) also contaminate local groundwater sources. Watch out for pools of water in and around your tank, particularly if it hasn’t been raining recently; this could be the first indication that it needs emptying urgently.


Inside the House

Just as sewage and its byproducts can clog up the system outside your house, failure to have regular inspections and maintenance can also lead to issues inside your home or business. When sewage isn’t emptied from the tank, it won’t have anywhere to go.

When that happens, the first tell-tale signs that you have a problem will be that the water in your sinks, shower and bath (as well as the toilet) are taking a lot longer to drain away. In worst-case scenarios, sewage could seep back into your property through the pipes, creating a horrible mess in your bathroom, kitchen and anywhere else you have drains.

And, as outlined above, if you contaminate your local water supply, then you could be contaminating your own drinking water (as well as the water you use for showers, baths and laundry).


Outside and Inside the House

When your sewage begins to decompose, smelly gases begin to accumulate. These include methane and hydrogen sulphide, both of which can be harmful to human health. The latter is particularly hazardous, as it can irritate the eyes (potentially causing long-term damage) and also impair a person’s immune system. In extreme cases, a large build-up can also lead to a greater risk of explosions.


How Often Should Your Tank be Emptied?

Smaller tanks (usually for domestic properties, and with a capacity of 1,000 gallons or lower) should be inspected and emptied once a year. This will ensure that the system complies with the General Binding Rules – for more information, check out our previous blog post here.

Larger tanks may only need emptying every three to five years, or in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations. However, there are no hard and fast rules; it may be worth having this done more frequently if there is a period of high water usage.


Septic Tank Maintenance from Ipswich-based Gilson Environmental Services

If you own a septic tank and are experiencing any of the problems outlined above, or are unsure how often it should be inspected or emptied, then contact us by calling 01473 741530 (including if it’s an emergency) or by emailing If there is a blockage or malfunction, we should be able to sort it out quickly and efficiently (and we’ll provide full records as well.

We can also commission and install new tanks, as well as providing a range of other services – including ditch maintenance, cesspool installation and sewage treatment plant maintenance in Suffolk and across East Anglia.