Flooding and Your Septic Tank

Posted on: 4 March 2016

Spring rains can bring serious problems for a homeowner. When your area floods, you have to deal with many difficulties, and a malfunctioning septic system can be one of them. During and after torrential rains, you need to take some steps to make sure your plumbing is intact and your home is protected.

During the Flood

To help prevent problems while the flooding is going on, you should seriously reduce your water usage to put less strain on your septic system. Do not let water from your basement sump pump drain into your septic field. Cut down on everyday tasks that use water, such as showers, toilet flushing, and laundry. Remember, your drain field is basically under attack and will be able to handle little additional water. Also, to prevent sewage backup into your basement, plug all the drains. 

After the Flood

According to the EPA, you should not drink any well water until it has been tested due to possible contamination from your septic tank and other sources. If the water in the drain field is higher than the water around your house, stop using your sewage system until it recedes. If sewage did back up into your basement, clean and disinfect the area completely using a mixture of water and chlorine bleach. 

Septic Tank Pumping

You may be tempted to pump out your septic tank immediately so that you can resume using your sewage system. This action can lead to some serious problems, however. If you pump too soon, lighter weight septic tanks can "float," coming right out of the ground and damaging the entire system. Even if this scenario does not occur, pumping out your tank while the water is still high will allow dirty flood waters to rush in, leaving troublesome debris behind that can clog up your system even after the floodwater recedes.

Professional Inspection

After a flood, you should have your septic system professionally inspected to make sure your tank and pipes are intact. Also, your drain field may have been seriously damaged as well. Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are an expert in this field.

Flood waters can cause a wide array of problems for homeowners, but those with septic tanks face additional issues, both with water quality and possible system damage. If you are faced with a flood, take measures to ease the strain on your tank. Afterward, have the damage evaluated so that you do not face expensive and unpleasant sewage problems in the future. If you have any questions, consider contacting a septic tank specialist, such as Mr Bob.