How often should I pump-out and inspect my system?

On average you should pump-out your system every 3 – 5 years. BUT it really depends upon the design of your system, its capacity, the number of people living in your home, and your maintenance of the system.

Most people only pump when there is failure. Pumping is a maintenance and inspection tool to help uncover potential problems before a failure. With a home wastewater system, once you have two pump-outs with inspections and measurements, your inspector can calculate the right interval for future pump-outs depending on your specific situation.

Each person generates about two cubic feet of sludge per year. The table below is a rough guide to start with, but it will vary.

  Home Size – Number of Occupants
Tank Size (in gallons) 2 4 6 8 10
  Septic Tank Pumping Frequency (in years)
1000 5.9 2.6 1.5 1.0 0.7
1500 9.1 4.2 2.6 1.8 1.3
2000 12.4 5.9 3.7 2.6 2.0
2500 15.6 7.5 4.8 3.5 2.6

Portions of this information were provided by: Penn State College of Agriculture – Cooperative Extension.


A pump-out costs between $300 and $700 depending on volume, ease of access, and other factors. If maintained, a home wastewater system, costing $5,000 – $10,000 can last 30 years.

Call for professional help immediately.

For more specific guidance on pump-outs and inspections:

Size & Design

At your first pump out, your septic professional can help you determine if your system is an appropriate design for your situation. If not, consider upgrading or enlarging the system as needed.

If you have a cesspool, please install a septic tank with a leaching pit or field.

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This website was prepared for the C.E.S.S.P.O.O.L. Project with funds from the New York State Department of State through Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund