Job description of a septic tank cleaner

If there’s one profession that’s little understood, it’s that of a septic tank cleaner. It brings to mind unpleasant associations, such as odor and filth, as well as a number of common misconceptions about this often-denigrated activity. You may be surprised to learn that most septic tank cleaners embarked on this career by choice, out of a genuine desire to make a difference in the hygiene and sanitation of our homes.

With regard to the unpleasant aspects, according to Jonathan and Jocelyn, septic tank cleaners for four and eight years, respectively, they’re nothing in comparison with the satisfaction of a job well done that the profession gives them. Because in this field, clients always express their gratitude frankly and sincerely.

Let’s shed some light on this technical service profession that’s, above all, a human service profession.

camion de vidange de Fosse Septique Sanibert

Septic tank cleaning truck

What does a septic tank cleaner do?

As the name implies, septic tank cleaners drain, maintain and clean septic tanks and leach fields. But their responsibilities don’t stop there. They can also identify the various problems that may be impeding your septic tank from functioning optimally. After performing an inspection, they will present you with a full, precise report on what’s really going on with your septic system, regardless of whether it’s residential or industrial, in a building or in a public space.

This maintenance, which is both corrective and preventive, frequently necessitates traveling over long distances. To satisfy all the demands, they may travel up to 350 km each day. The busy season is definitely summer, when they may work 12 straight hours a day, 5 days a week. Fall is also a busy time, as many clients need reassurance when they’ve neglected this maintenance and, at the first sign of lower temperatures, are anxious to see that their septic tanks in good working order for winter.

Thanks to their equipment, septic tank cleaners don’t have to descend into the underground networks. On the other hand, the physical demands of the job shouldn’t be underestimated. Besides the non-stop pace already described, septic tank cleaners are on their feet most of the time, continuously coming and going, and they have to manage the handling of numerous components, not to mention the transport of various toxic materials and cleaning products.

A typical day in the life of a septic tank cleaner

A normal workday consists of a succession of trips and service calls. During the busiest time of the year, Sanibert professionals Jocelyn and Jonathan clean 7 to 8 residential septic tanks, spending between 25 and 30 minutes on each one before emptying the truck and heading back out on the road.

Jocelyn, septic tank cleaner for Sanibert

Jocelyn, septic tank cleaner for Sanibert for 8 years

Jonathan, septic tank cleaner for Sanibert

Jonathan, septic tank cleaner for Sanibert for 4 years

How does the cleaning process work?

The truck the technicians use carries 200 feet of hose, which an automated system unrolls and rerolls, as needed. Two sections are clearly demarcated inside the vehicle in order to separate liquid and solid materials. When the truck is full, the technicians empty it in the City of Valleyfield, which is responsible for treating the waste.

This procedure, which is timed down to the second, is far from routine and, most of all, far from unpleasant. Admittedly, the operations take place outdoors, so the teams are exposed to the caprices of the weather, not to mention the inherent odor of the septic tanks, which, however, isn’t nearly as strong as you may think. Nevertheless, Jocelyn and Jonathan enjoy their work. It’s precisely the lack of routine that they find motivating. But beyond this purely organizational consideration, they also feel that they’re providing service with a capital S.

Clients often don’t know exactly what the septic tank cleaners’ operations consist of and tend to take a negative view of the profession. However, their opinions quickly change once they become aware that the hygiene and sanitation of their residence—and consequently their peace of mind—is guaranteed by the reliability and commitment of the teams. They come to understand the importance of the septic tank cleaning profession, its demands and the way it benefits their day-to-day lives. For the professionals at Sanibert, that’s a significant reward.