If a septic tank is waterlogged and will not drain, consider the following options:
– reduce water use in the home where possible to reduce the volume of effluent
produced, for example by only putting full loads of washing in the washing machine.
Continue to do this until the ground is no longer as waterlogged
– block septic tank outlet (provided it is safe to do so) to prevent release of the effluent
into the drainage area and tanker the effluent away as necessary. This is unlikely to be
a sustainable long term solution due to costs and risks
– consider hiring temporary portable services
Short term actions:
– ensure there is no surface water or clean water connections to the dirty water system.
This will reduce effluent volume. It is usually acceptable to dispose of clean surface
water via a soakaway or stream without treatment
– keep away from the septic tank drainage area, as standing water/wet ground/ponded
water may contain untreated sewage, and avoid doing any works until the ground is
‘back to normal’
After the flooding event:
– inspect the system for signs of damage and to determine if removal of silt or debris is
required, then take any actions required.
Long term actions:
– consider connecting to the public foul sewer if this is possible
– keep your system well maintained, so it’s better able to cope in extreme weather
– consider more appropriate siting of the septic tank and soakaway, away from areas
associated with flooding / waterlogging if these are available
– consider an improved treatment option which can be discharged directly to surface
water, removing the need for an infiltration system
07 January 2014
About John Redwood
John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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