The worst possible residential plumbing emergency is the flooding of a septic system. It causes a mess that could cost you plenty of money and time in repairs and renovations. If your home or the surrounding area around your septic system experiences flooding, it may result in the waterlogging of your entire system.
Whether this occurs due to the development of leaks in the lids, saturated drain fields, or rising groundwater entering the inlet or outlet, flooded septic systems are every homeowner's worst nightmare. You need to prepare for this eventuality as a septic tank owner because almost all of you experience it at some stage.
The extent of the flooding depends on the system's elevation in relation to the lowest drains or toilets. The flooded system may result in sewage backing up into the bathrooms and invading your home. In this worst-case scenario, you're going to be spending plenty of renovations to get the smell and bacteria out of your home.
If your septic system backs upon you, make sure you have a plumbers number handy to call for immediate help. Most plumbing services will run a 24-hour emergency service that deals with these situations in your time of need.
What Is the Risk to the Septic System with a Flood?
During flooding scenarios, most septic tank systems don't experience any damage to the components. Most of the tanks are subterranean installations, and leaks that allow floodwaters to enter the system may result in debris and silt entering the system, damaging other components.
Inundated septic tanks experience leaking through various openings, such as maintenance hole covers, the outlet, and inlet pipes, or even the tank covers. These leaks can cause clogs in the drain field if soil and silt enter the system
Influxes of water to the septic system results in the rising of the layers of floating solids, causing blockages in the pipes. Water from flooded drain fields may, therefore, flow backward into your septic tank.
All these issues combined can cause slow-running drains and prevent your toilets from flushing correctly. In more severe circumstances, it may cause the backing up of sewage into your home.
What Do You Do If the Septic System Floods?
When flooding conditions occur, you need to stop your home's water consumption immediately. That means turning off the water at the mains as soon as possible. Look for the mains near the house's front walls on homes with basements and outside the boundary walls for homes built on concrete slab foundations.
Flooded systems might not allow you to run sinks or flush your toilets until the floodwaters recede. If the flooding is severe, you might have to consider evacuating your home until the floodwaters subside.
Even if your home submerges during a flood, make sure you conserve your water usage as much as possible.
Things not to Do in a Flood
- Don't pump out the septic tank while the groundwater conditions are still high.
- Some old tanks might collapse, and recent installations might float to the surface.
- Don't compact soil over the drain field by driving heavy machinery over it.
- Don't try to disconnect anything – call a professional for help.
Things to Do in a Flood
- Continue to conserve your water usage, even as the floodwaters recede.
- In flooded conditions, the tanks will be under extreme stress. This situation goes even if they are subterranean installations. Therefore, you won't get the same functionality out of the tanks.
- Limit the flushing of toilets and the use of sinks. Stop showering and bathing for a few days if possible, to help the system dry out.
- Stop doing laundry and running the dishwasher for a few days.
- Make sure you check all the electrical connections to your home.
- Clean any affected areas of your home using antibacterial products, or book a professional cleaning service.
- Have a professional inspect your plumbing and electricity before getting back to using the amenities of your home.
Let the Professionals Do the Work
If you're involved in flooding, make sure you contact your local plumber immediately. A professional service will know how to handle the emergency, ensuring that the septic system does as little damage to your home as possible.
A professional service gives you everything you need to claim from your insurance company. You'll get a scope of work and an itemized invoice to show the insurance company on your claim. Always ensure that you're dealing with a reputable plumber. Check to see they have the correct insurance and licenses to operate in your area.