As winter finally comes to a close, more of us are getting out into our yards as spring approaches. Everyone knows that April showers bring May flowers, but did you know that April showers can greatly impact your septic system?
After heavy rain, septic problems can be common. Significant rainfall can quickly flood the ground around the soil absorption area (drainfield) leaving it saturated and making it impossible for water to flow out of your septic system. With nowhere to go, the water eventually travels backward through the plumbing system and back into drains and toilets and into your home. A flooded drainfield can also lead to untreated sewage flowing into the groundwater and local streams, putting them at risk for significant environmental contamination.
What can you do to minimize your risk? Gulliford Septic and Sewer has a few simple tips to share to help you and your septic system before, during, and after a significant rain event.
- The best way to handle a heavy rainfall is to make sure your septic system is in good shape before the rains roll in. Septic problems can be worse if your tank needs to be pumped or the system has not been properly maintained.
- Direct runoff water away from the drainfield to keep the surrounding soils from getting extra soggy. Keep rain gutters clear of debris and make sure all gutters drain away from the drainfield area.
- Do not drive any heavy equipment or other vehicles that could compact the soil over the drainfield. Compacted soils can reduce the soil absorption field’s ability to treat wastewater. Plant only grass above the drainfield.
- If your drainfield is flooded or if you begin to notice that drains are not draining quickly, toilets flush slowly or make strange sounds, or water is backing up into your basement, your septic system is under significant stress. The only way to relieve pressure on the system is by using it less. If possible, reduce or eliminate water going down the drains until the drainfield dries out.
- Conserve water to minimize the load on your septic system. Don’t flush the toilet unless absolutely necessary. Skip a shower if you can. Don’t run the dishwasher. Put off doing laundry until the system has been restored.
- If you suspect any damage to your septic system or if the water over the drainfield does not recede after the rain stops, have your septic tank professionally inspected and serviced.
- If silt and debris have gotten into your septic tank, have the system pumped as soon as possible. Wait until the water has receded and the area is no longer saturated before opening the tank.