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Details for Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners


Clean and repair septic tanks, sewer lines, or drains. May patch walls and partitions of tank, replace damaged drain tile, or repair breaks in underground piping.


  • Ensure that repaired sewer line joints are tightly sealed before backfilling begins.
  • Inspect manholes to locate sewer line stoppages.
  • Locate problems, using specially designed equipment, and mark where digging must occur to reach damaged tanks or pipes.
  • Operate sewer cleaning equipment, including power rodders, high velocity water jets, sewer flushers, bucket machines, wayne balls, and vac-alls.
  • Break asphalt and other pavement so that pipes can be accessed, using airhammers, picks, and shovels.
  • Requisition or order tools and equipment.
  • Clean and repair septic tanks, sewer lines, or related structures such as manholes, culverts, and catch basins.
  • Cover repaired pipes with dirt, and pack backfilled excavations, using air and gasoline tampers.
  • Cut damaged sections of pipe with cutters, remove broken sections from ditches, and replace pipe sections, using pipe sleeves.
  • Install rotary knives on flexible cables mounted on machine reels, according to the diameters of pipes to be cleaned.
  • Measure excavation sites, using plumbers' snakes, tapelines, or lengths of cutting heads within sewers, and mark areas for digging.
  • Rotate cleaning rods manually, using turning pins.
  • Start machines to feed revolving cables or rods into openings, stopping machines and changing knives to conform to pipe sizes.
  • Withdraw cables from pipes and examine them for evidence of mud, roots, grease, and other deposits indicating broken or clogged sewer lines.
  • Communicate with supervisors and other workers, using equipment such as wireless phones, pagers, or radio telephones.
  • Dig out sewer lines manually, using shovels.
  • Drive trucks to transport crews, materials, and equipment.
  • Prepare and keep records of actions taken, including maintenance and repair work.
  • Service, adjust, and make minor repairs to equipment, machines, and attachments.
  • Tap mainline sewers to install sewer saddles.
  • Update sewer maps and manhole charts.
  • Clean and disinfect domestic basements and other areas flooded by sewer stoppages.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Some of these occupations may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.
  • Experience - Little or no previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, a person can become a waiter or waitress even if he/she has never worked before.


  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.


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