My first problem came a few years ago when sewage backed up into the house. Since I had only a general idea where the tank was actually located, the service guy had to hunt a while to find the access ports on the tank. See, newer septic tanks have two access points for different stages of sewage treatment and both of them have to be pumped out. When he uncovered it, I found out I had a filter inside the tank.
Yes, there is a filter that stops solids from making their way out into the leach field. The filter had plugged up and was not releasing fluid into the leach field. That filled the tank and caused me to have a mess in the bathroom. Nice. So, obviously, the tank filter needed to be cleaned and the tank pumped out to restore service. So, I had the service company install risers with nice green covers on them to allow (relatively) easy access to the septic tank so I could clean the filter. Total bill, around $800. Not something I wanted to repeat very often. Here's a picture that illustrates the kind of thing I'm talking about:
Fast forward a year. I had company with kids and the darn tank filled up again. I opened the wonderful new access points, and sure enough, the tank was full again. Called the same service company and they came out and cleaned it out for me again. I chose this solution to get the house working again since I had company at the house that needed to use the bathroom. Total bill, $340.
A couple of weeks ago, it happened again. This time I didn't have company, so I went out and cleaned the filter. The tank immediately started to drain into the leach field and drop the level, and by the next day, it was back to a normal level. No costs, this is the way to do it. However, about four days later the house backed up again. When I opened the access point, the tank was at the proper level, and the filter was clean. What the heck was up with that?
Seems when the tank was full, a clot of toilet paper formed on the inlet side and had turned to concrete. See, what happens is that the 'sanitary tee' caught all the toilet paper and allowed a plug to form on the inlet. When I lowered the level of the tank, the plug hardened and I had a new problem to deal with. I spent most of the day with a water hose and jet nozzle breaking up the plug and restoring septic service to the house. This needs some solution that doesn't require me to remember that the darn filter needs to be cleaned, and a way of clearing the pipes that doesn't entail a days work with a water hose.
So, I bought one of these: