Hurricane season inevitably brings the possibility of severe and damaging weather. As always, it’s best to be prepared before disaster strikes and there are steps every homeowner should take to protect their septic system this year. And to have a plan in place for after the storm passes to get your system back up and running.
Nobody wants to return home after a hurricane only to find thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to their septic system. This can spiral an already stressful situation into an even more expensive one. When hurricane-force winds and storm surges are headed to your area, you’ll want to protect your home and septic system before evacuation.
Hurricane Preparation for Septic Systems
In the event of a hurricane or severe weather warning that suggests flooding, there are a few basic steps you can take to give your septic system the best chance of remaining unscathed.
- Ensure that your system is at least halfway full. If you’re planning to evacuate, this should be done within a day or two of leaving. An empty septic tank can collapse or float with rising floodwaters.
- Turn off your pump if it runs on electricity. Hurricanes often bring flooding with them, which can cause damage if your pump is hooked up to an outlet — such as an electrical fire.
- Take steps to waterproof the electrical connections. If the connections haven’t been waterproofed, the surge of water can cause dangerous shocks or expensive damage to the wiring.
- Cover your tank if there are any exposed openings, such as the risers or the lids. You don’t want excess water to flow into the tank, especially debris-filled storm water.
For those who have access to a backup generator, these can be helpful in the case of a power outage. Generators can pump out any excess water from your system, as well as power other essential appliances within your home.
What to Do After the Hurricane — Checking on Your System
After a severe flooding event, septic systems should not be used right away. Drain fields are unable to properly fulfill their function until the water has receded enough.
Homeowners should check the ground around their septic system to determine whether it’s saturated or not. If the ground is saturated, attempting to pump the tank can actually cause further damage — especially to the delicate pipes. No vehicles or other heavy machinery should be driven over a saturated drain field, as this can further compact the soil and prevent it from treating wastewater in the future.
If you notice fallen items, such as tree limbs, near your septic system it’s best to call out a professional to inspect your septic tank. There could be damage to the pipes or the electrical components that requires attention. Other signs of damage include settling and the tank not accepting water.
Before restoring the power to your home, all electrical connections (both inside and outside) should be inspected. This can prevent any unexpected sparks if there is still water covering an outlet after a flood.
Since many septic systems sit below ground, homeowners can sometimes neglect to check their tanks for obvious signs of damage. If the tank itself or the chambers have filled with silt and other storm debris, this can spell trouble in the form of clogs if they’re not cleaned out. Due to the dangerous fumes released by a septic tank, this job is best left to the professionals.
Concerned About Hurricane Damage? We’ll Check Your Septic System.
After a hurricane flooding or other severe weather event, many homeowners want the peace of mind of having a professional inspect their septic system. Our trusted technicians at Advanced Septic Services are ready to service your system after hurricane damage.