Well, it's that time of year again. The season where the April showers are meant to bring May flowers, but those showers can sometimes get out of hand and cause serious flooding. If you have a septic system and are unfortunate enough to suffer through a flood, there are several things you should know about how to handle the situation. Your septic system will require extra care before you begin flushing your toilets again.
Cut the Power
You don't want your septic pump kicking on due to the rising flood waters. Cut the power to the system to keep the pump from kicking on and to eliminate the risk of electrical shock to anyone in the area.
Locate and Secure the Tank Cover
Tank covers can get washed off of the septic tank completely or can just be pushed out of place. The first thing you should do is locate and reposition the cover to ensure that people and pets don't fall into the tank.
If the flood waters have resided from your home but are still covering your septic system, it is not safe for you to use the septic system. The water covering your absorption field must dry up before the field can do what it is designed to do. If you get impatient, you could end up with a home filled with raw sewage as the system won't have anywhere to push the waste water and could cause it to back into the home.
In most cases, it is best to have a septic professional inspect your system before you begin using it after a flood. Sometimes, the water from the flood can cause the pump chambers to fill with water and debris which must be removed before the system should be used.
The inspection will help to identify any damage to the pump, the absorption field and the pipes under the ground and help to prevent further damage from occurring.
Pump the Tank
The holding tank must be pumped out after a flood. This will remove the debris that the flood has introduced into the system before it has a chance to damage the pump and clog the plumbing.
It is possible that the flood has disrupted the bacteria level in your tank which will decrease how effectively the solids are broken down and eventually cause system failure. Having the tank pumped and the bacteria levels tested immediately after a flood will help to avoid that.
After a flood, play it safe! Have your system inspected by a professional (such as one from Chavis Septic Services) to avoid further repair costs down the road.