If you have a septic system, extreme weather can cause you major problems. Flooding is particularly problematic and can damage or even destroy your septic tank. Sewage may back up into your home. If you experience a flood, you need to handle your system with great care both during and after the flood to protect it and your residence.
During the Flood
While your area is experiencing flooding, do not drink your well water as sewage may have washed into it. Also, realize that any standing water may contain sewage and wear protective clothing when you must wade into it. Put as little water as possible into your septic system by cutting down on showering, laundry, and toilet flushing. Block the drains in your basement. Do not attempt to pump your tank until flood waters recede and your drain field is no longer flooded. If you pump too early, your septic tank can float right out of the ground.
After the Flood
What you do after the flood is vitally important to the health of your septic system and drain field. When the flood waters have ebbed, you do need to pump your tank and the pump/lift station. The flood may have deposited a great deal of debris in your system as well as pesticides and other contaminated materials that can compromise its effectiveness. You will also need to cordon off your drain field so that the ground will not be compressed during the flood cleanup process. Your drain field cannot treat wastewater properly if the ground is compacted. Also, stay away from the system's electrical equipment until it is clean and dry. If you have any doubts about the safety of the electric components, have them inspected by a professional.
If sewage from the system backed up into your house during the flood, you need to clean it up quickly and safely. Wear protective clothing and throw away any materials that cannot be adequately cleaned. All contaminated areas will have to be scrubbed and then disinfected using hot water, detergent, and a bleach solution. Throw out any food or beverage containers that have been in contact with the sewage.
Flooding can cause you many problems with your septic system. You need to take specific steps during and after the flood to limit the damage done to your septic tank, drain field, and home. If sewage does back up into your house, take care to carefully clean and disinfect everything it contacts. If you are worried about damage to your system, contact a septic system professional to evaluate your tank. For more about flood clean up, click the link or do an online search.