Septic Tank and Holding Tank: What’s the Difference?

Home Septic Tank Pumping

Homeowners often use the terms septic tank and holding tank interchangeably. The two, though, are actually two entirely different mechanisms. People often call us to say they need to pump out their holding tanks. What they mean is they need a septic tank pumping.

What Is a Septic Tank?

Homes not connected to the municipal sewer line have a septic system. The septic tank collects all the waste and wastewater that flows out of the home. It doesn’t just hold waste, though. It also separates heavy solids from light solids; the latter floats to the top while the heavy solids sink to the bottom. In the center lies water that exits out the outlet pipe and into the drain field.

What Is a Holding Tank?

A holding tank also stores household wastewater. The main difference is that holding tanks do not have an outlet pipe. The waste remains inside until pumped out. Holding tanks are rare these days and are often in homes near bodies of water. Homes near lakes and rivers often lack soil suitable to act as a drain field. 

Pumping Intervals for Septic Tanks and Holding Tanks

Since holding tanks cannot remove waste on their own, they require more frequent pumping. Of course, this depends on how much water a household uses. The average household with a holding tank may require a pump every two to five months. Septic tanks, on the other hand, only require pumping every two to three years. Again, the interval may be shorter or longer depending on water usage.

We Take Care of Your Septic Tank

Our OSS inspections cover residential septic systems. For businesses, we perform grease trap cleaning. Call Lil John Sanitary Services for a cleaning or checkup. We’ll know what you mean whether you say you need a septic tank or holding tank pumping.

Home Septic Tank Pumping

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme