How do I know if my septic system was damaged by flooding, and how can I get it fixed?
  • Signs of damage include settling or an inability to accept water. Most septic tanks are not damaged by flooding since they are below ground and completely covered. However, septic tanks and pump chambers can fill with silt and debris, and must be professionally cleaned. If the soil absorption field is clogged with silt, a new system may have to be installed.
  • Have your septic tank professionally inspected and serviced if you suspect damage.
  • Only trained OSS specialists should clean or repair septic tanks because tanks may contain dangerous gases. 
  • Do not pump the tank during flooded or saturated drainfield conditions. At best, pumping the tank is only a temporary solution. Mud and silt may enter the tank and end up in the drainfield. Under worst conditions, pumping out a tank that is in saturated soil may cause it to "pop out" of the ground may damage the inlet and outlet pipes. (Likewise, recently installed systems may "pop out" of the ground more readily than older systems because the soil has not had enough time to settle and compact.) Only trained OSS professionals should pump the tank.
  • Pump the septic system as soon as possible after the flood. Be sure to pump both the tank and lift station. This will remove silt and debris that may have washed into the system.
  • Do not compact the soil over the soil absorption field by driving or operating equipment in the area. Do not dig into the tank or drainfield area while the soil is still wet or flooded. Saturated soil is especially susceptible to compaction, which can reduce the soil absorption field's ability to treat wastewater and lead to system failure.
  • Examine any electrical connections for damage before restoring electricity.
  • Be sure the septic tank's cover is secure and that inspection ports have not been blocked or damaged.
  • Check the vegetation over your septic tank and soil absorption field. Repair erosion damage and sod or reseed areas as necessary to provide turf grass cover. 

Show All Answers

1. Can I use my septic system during or after a flood?
2. How do I know if my septic system was damaged by flooding, and how can I get it fixed?
3. Should I use an additive in my septic tank?
4. When is an OSS permit needed?
5. Can I design my own OSS?
6. Can I install my own OSS after I obtain an OSS permit?
7. Do you have a copy of my OSS permit?
8. How do I clean up sewage that has backed up into my house?
9. What are some signs that my OSS is failing?
10. How can I find my septic tank?
11. What is the reserve area?