General Septic Tank FAQ


FAQ: How do I locate my septic system? How can I learn more about my property’s septic system?

Obtain a copy of your property’s septic system record drawing (usually referred to as an “as-built”), a diagram showing where your system components are located.

You can obtain your property’s as-built from your local health department or health district–some allow you to search for your as-built online.

Lentz can also locate your tank for you during a Home Septic Inspection or when we come out to pump your tank. 

Call to schedule your Maintenance.

FAQ: How do I know my septic system is in good working order?

Lentz Septic Tank Service performs a septic system evaluation when we pump your tank. Some health departments and districts can perform this service prior to pumping, usually for a fee.

If you don't know if or when your septic system has had a Full Inspection, you may want to consider getting one soon.

If you suspect your system is having issues because you are noticing slow drains, gurgling toilets, or wet spots in your yard, getting the septic tank pumped out is usually a good idea and can help these issues. Contact us if you have any questions regarding your system functionality.

FAQ: What can my family do to keep our Septic Tank running better longer?

Be aware of what goes into the system, when waste is going into the system and how it gets there. Timing can help your septic system work more efficiently for you! See What You Need to Know About Your Septic System.

Also see our article & video for MODERN FAMILIES.

FAQ: We seem to have issues during the Holidays – Why is that?

If you have EXTENDED STAY HOUSE GUESTS or are sharing your home with several guests (or temporary residents), the additional stress on your septic system may show itself in various ways.

Creating a schedule for bathing, laundry and even cooking will ease the additional burden it will put on your septic system for the duration.

FAQ: Does my Homeowner's Policy cover the Septic Tank?

The septic system is part of the home so it is covered by your homeowners insurance; however, it usually only covers sudden damage (storm, earthquake, etc) and does not cover maintenance costs.

It does NOT cover damage caused by neglect or lack of maintenance.

Now is the time to begin a regular maintenance program and be sure to keep good records!

Request our Free Septic Maintenance File Download.

FAQ: I am RENTING a home with a Septic Tank. Who is responsible for maintenance?

Landlords are normally responsible for the maintenance of the tank + any repairs or replacement if needed. Check your lease to make sure they have not shifted the maintenance to the tenant (you).

Plumbing issues or other needed repairs caused by tenants who flush damaging items down the toilet or do not observe proper care in the kitchen are NOT the responsibility of the landlord, falling instead to the tenant. See our #doNOTflush guidelines and watch our Modern Family Video to make sure you are protected.

Septic Tank Pumping FAQ

FAQ: Why do I need to have my Septic Tank pumped out?

Most conventional septic tanks built after 1975 feature two concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene containers buried underground. Solid waste accumulates most in the first compartment, settling at the bottom and forming sludge. Some solids also settle in the second chamber. Bacteria break down much of this waste, but it can’t eliminate all organic material from the tank.

Saves You Money

If septic tank sludge isn’t removed with periodic pumping, it continues to accumulate and may overflow into the drainfield. Eventually, this may cause drainfield plugging and failure, requiring costly repairs to get the system up and running again.

Septic tank pumping involves removing liquids and solids with a vacuum truck, which transports and safely disposes of the sludge elsewhere. As long as you keep up with routine maintenance, it should be fairly easy for the vacuum to remove solids from the tank. If the sludge in a neglected container is thick and heavy, the process may be more difficult and time-consuming, increasing the cost of pumping.

Protects Your Health & the Environment

Perhaps more importantly, especially with our current health concerns nationwide, NOT PUMPING out the tank could lead to health problems for people in your household, your neighbors and even your community at large! See Can I Get Sick From My Septic Tank? for more information.

Clearly, it’s worth keeping up with septic tank pumping for your peace of mind and the continuing functionality of your plumbing system.

FAQ: I’ve been in my house for 10+ years and never pumped my Septic Tank. Why should I be concerned?

Over time sludge and scum build up in the septic tank and unless it is removed it will flow into the drainfield, clogging the soil pipes. Once a drainfield is clogged, it must be replaced, which is an expensive repair, costing anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 or more. Replacement can be 2-3x as much!

It is also possible that you could have a leak in the tank. 

In either case, you risk contaminating ground and surface water resources, which could affect you or your neighbor’s wells or nearby streams and other water bodies. And finally, you may eventually have a plumbing backup in your home.

If your tank has not been serviced for this long, you should consider a Full Home Septic Inspection. The EPA recommends an inspection every 3 years and pumping every 3-5 years.

FAQ: How often should I have the Septic Tank pumped?

How often you need to pump depends on the size of the tank, the number of people in the household, the amount and type of solids, and your family’s lifestyle & habits. A septic tank should be inspected regularly to check for needed repairs and pumped as needed, usually every 2 to 3 years based on our Modern Families.

Are You a Modern Family? Why is this Important? Watch our Video Here to learn more!

Some alternative systems that are more complex may need pumping more frequently. If you are unsure if your tank needs pumping, have it inspected and get a recommendation for how many years you can go between pumping. Write this schedule down on a maintenance chart or where you keep your maintenance records and stick to it.

If you ever have an insurance claim or plan to sell your home, you will be glad you did!


FAQ For Other Things To Consider When You Have a Private Septic System

FAQ: What if I want to Install a Sprinkler System in my yard?

Irrigation lines from your sprinkler system must be placed at least 15 feet from the septic tank and leach field areas. *This is important as when we are looking for your leach field (if you do not know where it is) irrigation lines can be damaged. The homeowner is responsible for any repairs to damaged irrigation lines. We do not test further out so if your system was installed per regulation, there should be no damage.

FAQ: Things To Consider When Renovating

Managing a home and the grounds around it can sometimes seem like a maze. Here are some things to consider and remember when you are renovating, upgrading or putting in new installations around your home.

  • A full foundation must be 10 feet from the septic tank and 20 feet from the leaching area.

  • A slab foundation such as a garage must be 10 feet from the septic tank and 10 feet from the leaching area.

  • Concrete columns for a deck must be 5 feet from the leaching area and not disturb the septic system.

  • Tanks must be placed at least 10 feet away from property lines, water lines, and the up-slope portion of drainage systems.. at least 15 feet between septic tanks and basements, embankments, drainage system side-slopes & swimming pools

  • Swimming pools should be at least 25 feet from property line.

FAQ: Is there more info on installing a Swimming Pool?

See our blog post here for more info on swimming pools when you have a septic system.


Septic Tank Inspection FAQ


FAQ: I'm Buying a Home With a Septic Tank- Is a Septic Inspection Really Necessary?

Most definitely, unless the Seller has had one done recently. Buying a home is a major investment and worth protecting.

When buying a home, a need for repairs caused by a problem not pointed out during a Home Inspector's visual inspection could mean Major Repairs or having to install a New System – and if the issues are not discovered until after the sale is complete, you will have to foot the bill! 

If you are buying a home, you should request a FULL INSPECTION to protect yourself and your investment.

Many loan companies will not accept this type of inspection in the case of buying a home, so you may be required to have the Full Inspection done in addition. DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

FAQ: Doesn't the Home Inspector Check the Septic System?

Home Inspectors perform a VISUAL inspection, consisting of running water in the house and flushing toilets. The septic tank may or may not be located in a visual inspection, but home inspectors are not authorized to open and check the tank. Only Certified Septic Inspectors are allowed to inspect a septic tank!

Visual inspections are risky because of what they can't see!

So, as long as there is no noticeable backup in the plumbing and no water surfacing over the absorption field, visual septic inspections may assume the system is functioning correctly -BUT- it really only means the toilets flush and the taps work.

FAQ: Why is a Lentz Full Inspection Better Than One Performed by a Home Inspector?

Our Certified Inspectors begin by first locating the septic tank and making sure it is not too close to the home, a well, property lines, etc. This will also tell the inspector if the system is obstructed by a deck, room addition, etc.

We use a 45 point checklist to inspect the Septic Tank, Pump Tank (if present), and Dispersal Field and give a detailed report to the Realtor or Loan Company requesting the order for a home buyer (or seller).

Full Septic Inspections for conventional standard septic systems and low-pressure dosing systems include having the septic tank pumped so that a thorough inspection is possible.

Lentz Licensed Inspectors are certified from North Carolina State University, Subsurface Wastewater System Inspector School.

Give yourself Peace of Mind by insisting on a Lentz Full Inspection.

FAQ: Why Isn't an Inspection Done by a Home Inspector Good Enough?

Home Inspectors are not qualified to perform a thorough inspection of the tank and system. They offer home buyers a visual inspection, which means they check the faucets run and the toilets flush. They may be able to tell you where the tank and drainfield are located but they are not able to give you valuable information that only Certified Septic Inspectors can.

Here are some problems your system could have that the Home Inspector would not know about if only a visual inspection is done:

leaking tank | overfull tank | roots in the tank | backflow issues | actual size of tank | corrosion | thickness of sludge | if dividing wall is secure | if baffles are in place | location issues (under a deck, room addition, etc)

FAQ: How Can I Find Out What Size Tank Is On or Required On a Property I'm Buying or Selling?

If the home has not been renovated or added onto, you can obtain an "as-built" record from the County Health Department. This will give you the original tank size & requirements for the home as it was originally built.

If you are not sure if the home has been renovated or if an "as-built" record is not available, the location of the septic tank and drainfield can usually be determined with a copy of the permit and with the help of a septic contractor like Lentz Septic Tank Service or the local health department. *There may be a fee for this service.

Most housing sites permitted since the early 1980s are legally required to have a “repair area or replacement area” in which a second drainfield could be built if needed. This repair area was identified by the health department when the site was permitted and should be shown on your septic system permit.

The law also requires you to protect this area from excavation; building a house addition, garage or outbuilding over it; swimming pool construction; and any soil disturbance activities.

Locating & mapping the septic system is part of the Lentz 45 Point Inspection Checklist.

FAQ: What Questions Should I Ask a Home Seller With a Septic Tank?

If you are buying an existing home, ask the seller a few important questions:

  • How old is the system? NOTE: If it is the original system but you notice upgrades in the kitchen & bath/s or there is an addition to the home, you will want to make sure the size of the tank is still appropriate for the home!

  • Where are the tank and drainfield located?  If well-maintained, the homeowner should have a general idea where it is.

  • When was the tank last pumped? Many home septic tanks go for 10+ years without maintenance, so when buying an older home, you will want to know the septic system has been pumped within the last 3 years. Ask to see the paperwork or get the name of the company and give them a call to see if they had notes of any issues with the system OR call us to do a complete inspection before you buy the home!

  • How frequently has it been pumped?

  • Does the tank have an "effluent filter"? How often has the filter been cleaned (these effluent filters are required on systems installed since 1999).

  • Have there been any issues with the tank or leach field -or- signs of possible failure?

  • Where is a copy of the permit and records showing how the system has been maintained?

  • Have there been renovations or additions made to the house? 

  • Has the system ever been repaired, and if so, when, and by whom?

If the house has just been built, ask the septic system contractor to provide you an “as built” diagram that may show details not on the permit. If the house has a system with a pump, ask the contractor and health department to provide details concerning the initial pump setup.

Grease Trap FAQ


FAQ: What Kind of Business Is Required to Have a Grease Trap?

Any business or facility that prepares food in a commercial capacity is required to have a grease trap and is required by law to keep it maintained. Grease Traps may be regulated on a city, county or state level.
Some examples of the types of businesses that may have commercial kitchen and required to have grease traps are: restaurants, churches, government facilities, prisons, event halls, nursing homes & assisted living communities, etc.

FAQ: How Often Should I Have My Grease Trap Serviced?

Minimum Frequency Guidelines

General Frequency Rules indicate commercial kitchens with an outside Grease Trap be cleaned/pumped every 90 days and businesses with indoor Grease Traps should be serviced each month to reduce foul odors reaching your paying customers! Frequency is determined by the type of restaurant, rate trap is filled, consistent use of Fats, Oil, and Grease in menu, etc.

You can speak with your Lentz Septic technician or call our office to discuss the best maintenance plan for your facility.

FAQ: Why Should I Choose Lentz as My Grease Trap Cleaner?

Lentz Septic has been in business for over 60 years and are both professional & efficient. We customize our services to fit the needs and schedules of our clients. Now offering OVERNIGHT or early a.m. services to better meet your needs!

Call our office to discuss the best maintenance plan for your facility. Call 704-876-1834.

Watch our Grease Trap Video HERE.

FAQ: Do I Have to Sign a Contract for Grease Trap Services?

No. Lentz will clean your trap on a one-time basis or in an emergency situation or on an as needed basis; however, clients that do contract for regular maintenance save money and don't have to worry about compliance issues.

Service Contracts are customized to fit your specific needs.

FAQ: What Does Lentz Charge?

Pricing varies with each client, based on the following:

  • placement of trap & ease of access

  • whether it is a one-time, emergency, as-needed or contracted service

  • payment method/term of sale

  • how long it has been since last service from Lentz or another company

  • whether you are an existing business client (volume) or an individual home (septic tank) customer

Please give us a call to speak to a Grease Trap Pro or fill out the form on the Grease Trap page.

FAQ: We Are On a Tight Budget Due to Current Events - Can You Help?


In several ways, Lentz Septic Tank Service is able to help restaurant and other facility owners save money:

  • By having a contract with a specific time frame for your grease trap service, you save money by removing any opportunity for non-compliance fines from your FOG inspector.  And, hopefully this will never happen, the chance of being fined from the city if a sewer line is clogged, creating sanitary sewer overflows, hazardous conditions in the collection system, or treatment plant inhibitions.  Without a proper manifest, and proper cleaning, your restaurant may become liable for the damage.

  • It IS expensive to have a grease trap replaced, and it is also expensive to have a grease trap cleaned that has gone too long before being pumped. Having a grease trap that is PROPERLY and regularly maintained, WILL ABSOLUTELY last years longer than a trap that has old grease and old residue.

  • Grease traps are designed to prevent excessive introduction of oil and grease into the sewer system and wastewater treatment plants. Keeping them maintained, even when your facility use is restricted or downgraded is just good business sense.