Rainy Weather and Your Septic System
By Amanda Furmage-Deck
One of the most important features of a septic system is the aerobic soil that lies beneath the surface of the drain field. In fact, aerobic or unsaturated, oxygen-rich soil is needed to properly treat wastewater by breaking down organic waste and removing contaminants. However, if this soil becomes oversaturated with water, the entire septic system can fail. As the water table rises, the only place for new wastewater to travel is either up onto the surface of your lawn or back into your home, creating a noxious toxic mess and a costly problem to clean.
Although Florida residents are currently experiencing dry winter months, warmer summer weather will be arriving soon, and it will be sure to bring heavy amounts of rainfall that can be detrimental to a septic system. Therefore, now is the time to understand how rainy weather can affect your on-site wastewater treatment system.
Before the rain starts to fall, it’s important to get your septic system inspected by trained professionals, especially if your system is over 10 years old or you live near water or in a low lying area susceptible to flooding. Greg Mayfield and his experienced team members at Southern Water and Soil will check your system for worn or loose seals, cracked pipes, and structural integrity to ensure unwanted water is not entering the tank, distribution box, or drain field lines.
Although you can’t control weather, you can re-route rainwater runoff from roofs, gutters, and external drains from oversaturating your septic system. According to ehow.com, “the average home, during a rainstorm that delivers about an inch of water per hour, can have a runoff of over 50,000 gallons of water.” If directed toward your drain field, your system will be sure to quickly fail. Southern Water and Soil can help you devise a drainage plan that will reduce the amount of rainwater runoff access to your drain field.
In addition to redirecting rainwater runoff, ease the stress on your system during rainy weather by reducing use of the system. This means reducing use of the dishwasher, garbage disposal, shower and bath, and washing machine.
In the meantime, look out for these warning signs for a failed septic system:
Toilets and sinks drain slowly
Toilets sound strange when flushed
Water backing up onto the floor of your basement
Constant bogginess above your drain field
Strange smells in your yard or house