Question? Just ask us!
Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
InspectAPedia ® Home
SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
AEROBIC SEPTIC SYSTEMS
ALTERNATING BED SEPTIC SYSTEMS
BACKUP PREVENTION, SEPTIC
BACKUP PREVENTION, SEWER LINE
BACKWATER VALVES, SEWER LINE
BOD WASTEWATER TEST
BOOKSTORE, SEPTIC SYSTEMS
CESSPOOL SAFETY WARNINGS
CHECK VALVES, WATER SUPPLY
CHEMICALS & TREATMENTS for SEPTICS
CHLORINE IMPACT on SEPTIC
CHLORINE SOURCES in WASTEWATER
CLEANOUTS, PLUMBING DRAIN
CLOGGED DRAIN DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
D BOX TROUBLESHOOTING
DEFINITIONS OF SEPTIC SYSTEM TERMS
DISTRIBUTION-BOX INSPECTION, SEPTIC
DRAINFIELD FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
DRIVING or PARKING OVER SEPTIC COMPONENTS?
DRYWELL DESIGN & USES
EFFLUENT RETENTION TIME
FILTERS SEPTIC & GREYWATER
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOODED SEPTIC SYSTEMS, REPAIR
GARBAGE DISPOSAL vs SEPTICS
GRAVELLESS SEPTIC SYSTEMS
GRAVITY/SIPHON DOSING SYSTEMS
HOME BUYERS GUIDE to SEPTIC SYSTEMS
HOME SELLERS GUIDE TO SEPTIC INSPECT
HOW SEPTIC SYSTEMS WORK
LAGOON SEPTIC SYSTEMS
LEACHFIELD FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
MEDIA FILTER SEPTIC SYSTEMS
MOUND SEPTIC SYSTEMS
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS, PLUMBING SYSTEM
ODORS, SEPTIC or SEWER
ODORS, SULPHUR SMELL SOURCES
OUTHOUSES & LATRINES
PLANTS & TREES OVER SEPTIC SYSTEMS
PRESSURE DOSING SEPTIC SYSTEMS
RAISED BED SEPTIC SYSTEMS
SAND BED SEPTIC SYSTEMS
SEPTIC & CESSPOOL SAFETY
SEPTIC BACKUP PREVENTION
SEPTIC BACKUP REPAIR
SEPTIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS
SEPTIC CLEARANCE DISTANCES
SEPTIC CODES & REFERENCES
SEPTIC D-BOX INSPECTION
SEPTIC DRAINFIELD FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SEPTIC DRAINFIELD INSPECTION & TEST
SEPTIC DRAINFIELD LIFE
SEPTIC DRAINFIELD LOCATION
SEPTIC DRAINFIELD RESTORERS?
SEPTIC DYE TEST PROCEDURE
SEPTIC FAILURE SIGNS
SEPTIC FIELD INSPECTION
SEPTIC SYSTEM FLOOD DAMAGE REPAIR
SEPTIC HOLDING TANKS
SEPTIC INSPECTION & TEST GUIDE
SEPTIC LIFE EXPECTANCY
METHANE GAS HAZARDS
SEPTIC or SEWER CONNECTION?
SEPTIC PUMPING REPAIR
SEPTIC / CESSPOOL SAFETY
SEPTIC SUPPLIES & PARTS
SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION & TEST GUIDE
SEPTIC SYSTEM ODORS
SEPTIC SYSTEM PUMPS
SEPTIC SYSTEM SAFETY WARNINGS
SEPTIC TANK BAFFLES
SEPTIC TANK COVERS
SEPTIC TANK, HOW TO FIND
SEPTIC TANK INSPECTION PROCEDURE
SEPTIC TANK LEAKS
SEPTIC TANK LEVELS of SEWAGE
SEPTIC TANK PUMPING PROCEDURE
SEPTIC TANK PUMPING REASONS
SEPTIC TANK PUMPING SCHEDULE
SEPTIC TANK RISERS
SEPTIC TANK SAFETY
SEPTIC TANK SIZE
SEPTIC TANK TEES
SEPTIC TESTS: DYE & LOADING TESTS
SEPTIC TEST VOLUMES & DYE AMOUNTS
SEPTIC TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS
SEWAGE & SEPTIC CONTAMINANTS
SEWAGE BACKUP, WHAT TO DO
SEWAGE BACKUP TEST & CLEANUP
SEWAGE BACKUP PREVENTION
SEWAGE CONTAMINATION in buildings
SEWAGE GRINDER PUMPS
SEWAGE LEVELS in SEPTIC TANKS
SEWAGE PATHOGENS in SEPTIC SLUDGE
SEWAGE PUMP CLOG DAMAGE
SEWER BACKUP PREVENTION
SEWER GAS ODORS
SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
SOAKAWAY BED FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
TOILETS, INSPECT, INSTALL, REPAIR
TOILET FLUSHOMETER VALVES
TOILET INSTALLATION PROCEDURE
TOILET OVERFLOW EMERGENCY
TOILET PLUGS, SEWER BACKUP
TOILET REPAIR GUIDE
Toilet Types, Flush Methods
TOILETS, DON'T FLUSH LIST
TRAPS on PLUMBING FIXTURES
VIDEO GUIDES: Septic Videos
WASHING MACHINES & SEPTIC SYSTEMS
WASTEWATER TREATMENT BASICS
WATER, WELLS, WATER TANKS: TESTING GUIDE
WATER QUALITY TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WATER QUANTITY IMPROVEMENT
WATER QUANTITY USAGE GUIDE
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER SUPPLY & DRAIN PIPING
WETLAND SEPTIC SYSTEMS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Flooded septic tanks and drainfields - advice: if your septic system has been exposed to flooding, this document gives immediate safety and health advice and includes other advice from the U.S. EPA and other septic system experts. We set priorities: safety, health, maintenance, and repair for septic systems after flooding.
The photo above shows red septic dye which appeared at the property surface when we tested a recently flooded and still saturated, failed septic system close to a stream. Citation of this article by reference to this website and brief quotation for the sole purpose of review are permitted
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2014 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
The following text is not part of the original US EPA document but has been added by this website author.
Immediate Serious Safety Hazards: Property owners whose septic system has been flooded should be concerned first for immediate safety hazards such as the increased risk of a dangerous collapse of a site-built septic tank, drywell, or cesspool. A site-built system, such as a cesspool made of dry-laid stone or concrete blocks, may have been weakened by floodwaters. Rope off and prevent access to the area where such systems are installed until you have made certain that there is no danger of collapse. Someone walking over a weakened septic tank cover or cesspool or drywell could fall in - a possible fatal event. Never leave the cover off of a septic tank, cesspool, or manhole. Someone can fall-in.
Electrical Hazards: if your septic system includes electrical components such as pumps, be sure that electrical power has been turned off before attempting to examine the equipment.
Health Hazards: the EPA advice on this topic (below) refers to the high risk of sewage backup into homes during flooding. Sewage backup into a home leaves a variety of pathogens and creates a serious risk of hidden mold in buildings.
Both of these can create health hazards, particularly for people who are at extra risk: infants, the elderly, people who are immune-impaired, people with asthma, etc. Further investigation, testing, and cleaning are likely to be in order. A simple "pumpout" of a flooded basement, for example, may leave wet building materials and insulation if the basement walls were finished with drywall or paneling. In these cases the wet materials should be removed promptly, the area dried, cleaned if needed, and inspected for evidence of contamination before rebuilding.
Major Structural or System Damage: do not enter a flooded structure if there is evidence that the building may be unstable or in danger of collapse. A building which has shifted off of its foundations, evidence of subsidence (depressions in the soil) over or near a septic system (or anywhere else), or buckled foundation walls are examples of dangerous conditions that merit professional inspection and advice.
Manholes and Tank Covers may have shifted or may even have been lost during flooding. Falling into an open septic tank or sewer is likely to be fatal. Watch for open, shifted, damaged, or otherwise unsafe covers or openings to these systems.
Property owners whose septic systems have been flooded should read the following articles as well as the advice offered from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and re-printed below.
The information below is provided by the U.S. EPA. Additional comments or suggestions, where provided by the web author, will be flagged as added text (such as the paragraphs preceding this section. I have re-ordered some of the original EPA text to put the obvious and most important information first. [DJF]
Once floodwaters have receded, there are several things homeowners should remember:
Remember: Whenever the water table is high or your sewage system is threatened by flooding there is a risk that sewage will back up into your home. The only way to prevent this backup is to relieve pressure on the system by using it less.
Please contact your local health department for additional advice and assistance.
For more information on onsite/decentralized wastewater systems, call the National Environmental Services Center at (800) 624-8301 or visit their website at www.nesc.wvu.edu.Exit EPA Disclaimer
How to Find The Septic Tank - (added by web author)
No! At best, pumping the tank is only a temporary solution. Under worst conditions, pumping it out could cause the tank to try to float out of the ground and may damage the inlet and outlet pipes. The best solution is to plug all drains in the basement and drastically reduce water use in the house.
[DF NOTE: As the EPA says above, however, pump and inspect the septic system (including the piping) as soon as possible after the flood, just not so soon that there is risk of floating the septic tank.
If a septic system is not going to be used for months and wet weather or high ground water conditions are expected to continue, I would not pump a fiberglass or plastic septic tank as there is risk that the tank will float up out of the ground.
This is not much of a risk with concrete septic tanks. Be sure to pump both the tank and lift station. Further inspection for safety as well as the overall condition of the system is needed.]
When to Pump a Septic Tank - (added by web author)
What if my septic system has been used to dispose wastewater from my business (either a home-based or small business)?
In addition to raw sewage, small businesses may use their septic system to dispose of wastewater containing chemicals.
If your septic system that receives chemicals backs up into a basement or drain field take extra precautions to prevent skin, eye and inhalation contact.
The proper clean-up depends of what chemicals are found in the wastewater. Contact your State or EPA for specific clean-up information.
End of edited, supplemented US EPA text
Green link shows where you are in this article series.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
No FAQs have been posted for this page. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Questions & answers or comments about flooded septic tanks and flooded drainfields or soakaway beds - what to do to restore the septic system to safe functional operation
Try the search box just below or if you prefer, post a question or a comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Search the InspectApedia website
HTML Comment Box is loading comments...
Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.