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How Much Does it Cost to Clean a Septic Tank?

Homeowners on large or rural properties often have to deal with unique issues related to septic and water equipment and services. Your septic system is an important part of safe home operations, and a problem in the system can lead to disastrous results. Annual maintenance can limit your problems by preventing the overfilling of your tank with solid materials.

National Clean Septic Tank Costs

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by ImproveNet members.

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Average reported cost

based on 1985 cost profiles


Minimum cost


Maximum cost

Most homeowners spent between:




National Clean Septic Tank Costs
Average reported cost $360
Number of Cost Profiles 1985 cost profiles
Minimum reported cost $73
Maximum reported cost $875
Most homeowners spent between: $289 to $367

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Contacting A Service

Septic tank cleaning should be handled by a professional. You'll find that services are available in areas that feature more septic systems, especially in rural communities. The costs can range from $200 to $800 for a cleaning, depending on the size of your tank and the local trends. Some providers will charge a flat rate for cleaning your tank while others may charge per gallon or per hour. Small communities tend to feature fewer options, meaning that pricing may not be very competitive. However, the service is important for ensuring ongoing operation of your home's plumbing.

Frequency of Cleaning

Annual cleaning is advisable to ensure that problems don't arise. Some households space their cleaning services out every couple of years, but it's important to base this on issues like household occupancy and other usage considerations. More people in your home will generate more sewage, leading to a greater accumulation of materials to be pumped. It's important to use septic-friendly toilet paper to limit the buildup of solid materials. Some households are able to reduce their frequency of pumping by disposing of bathroom tissue in trash cans instead of flushing it. Annual costs are decreased if the frequency of cleaning can be reduced.

Costs of Ignoring Your Septic System

It's important to watch for issues like the slow draining of water or unusual odors stemming from your plumbing fixtures. These can signal that your septic system is over-filled, and you should be sure to have your tank cleaned promptly if you notice these conditions. Similarly, if your leach field appears to be damp or if you notice water standing near your septic location, you need to investigate. Your pumping company may point out problems with system frailties that will need to be addressed. Additionally, your pumping contractor can bring problem products to your attention. Excessive grease from kitchen activities, disposal of feminine hygiene products in toilets, and other products used for grooming can affect the system and trigger a need for more frequent cleaning.

Last updated on May 19, 2016

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