Before you schedule a septic tank inspection and pumping it’s important to know what the professionals will be doing. A crucial part of a septic tank inspection is measuring and inspecting the scum and sludge inside the tank. Without this part of the inspection you may find yourself dealing with septic back-ups and overflow into the leach field. This can cause an environmental hazard and be dangerous to your home and land. If you’re practicing good septic maintenance you will be scheduling a septic pumping every one to two years. You can also schedule your inspection when the sludge layer inside your tank exceeds 24 inches in depth. How do you measure the sludge inside your tank? This should usually be left to the professionals but it’s a good skill to understand. You can measure the sludge depth by lowering a secure (and well wrapped) stick into the tank. Wait until it reaches the bottom of the tank (the stick should be at least 8 feet long) and then hold it for a few minutes. Never, ever enter the tank yourself. This includes putting your hands inside the tank. There are poisonous gases coming from the tank that can cause serious harm. You should also make sure that no one is near the tank such as children or pets. Once you have reached the bottom of the tank you can raise the stick. Measure the discolored portion of the stick to find your sludge layer depth. If it measures more than 24 inches deep it is time to have your septic tank pumped and cleaned. Always call in a professional for the cleaning and have your scum levels measured each year.