A flooded septic field is a nightmare, especially if you don't know the precautions to take to avoid complications. For example, the flooding can cause sewer backup or force you to stop using the septic system temporarily. Here are four things you shouldn't do to avoid these and other dangerous complications:
Don't Pump the Tank
Even if the tank is full and requires pumping, don't do it during the floods because the tank may pop out of the ground. A typical septic tank experiences pressure from all sides except topside. The pressure increases when the soil is saturated with water. If you pump the tank, it becomes light and may be pushed out of the ground. Pump the tank as soon as the flooding subsides.
Don't Use Heavy Equipment around the System
It is easy for the septic drain field to compact if it is saturated with water. Operating heavy machinery, such as tractors, around the system isn't advisable at this time. The weight of the machinery will compact the soils and reduce its ability to treat the wastewater. This is because the absorption capacity of compacted soils reduces considerably.
Don't Put More Pressure on the System
Go easy on your septic system if the water table is high, as is usually the case during flooding. This is because floodwater may overwhelm the system and silt in the water may block your municipal sewer line. Both of these scenarios may cause sewer backup into your house. Additionally, the system may fail to treat the waste water efficiently, which may pollute your home. The risk of backup is especially high if you are operating an old septic system. Therefore, minimize the flow of wastes into the system by taking appropriate measures, such as:
- The number of times you flush the toilet
- The frequency of laundry
- The number of showers or baths
Don't Inspect the Tank on Your Own
Septic tank inspection or cleaning isn't a DIY project. Sewer wastes emit dangerous waste gasses that may overwhelm you and cause you to fall into the tank. The edge of the tank may also cave in, especially if you have been using the tank for some years.
There may be a few problems with the septic system after the flood. For example, the tank may settle, or it may not accept water as efficiently as before. Contact a plumber from a company like Lutzky Contracting to diagnose the issues and correct them so that you can go back to using it as usual.