Sarratt Septic

Septic Systems & Flood Events--Looking After Your System Following

Heavy Rains, Tropical Storms & Hurricanes

OMG!  My septic tank is flooded!

Slow down.

Breath easier.

There is probably not any money you need to spend.

Heavy rains from hurricanes and tropical storms can cause your tank to


Any source of excess water can

cause the soil pores to become filled (saturated).

Then the water from the septic system has no place to go and

it surfaces to ground level.

This is normal.

This regularly happens with septic systems after floods.

It can take several weeks for the soil to reabsorb the excess water.

So, is it rain water or effluent?

Who knows?!?

Honestly, if it is over your drainfield, it is probably a mix.

Don't play in it.

Let it dry.

Stop worrying.

Septic pro trick:
If the liquid has an odor put lime on it--the same kind you

put on your yard.

If you are worried about liquid with no odor put lime on it.

We actually regularly spill some effluent on the ground when performing

maintenance on certain types of septic systems (LPP a.k.a. Low Pressure

Pipe).  We have to spill effluent to clean out the lines.

We spill several gallons of effluent per trench line.

When the maintenance is done we throw lime on it, tell the homeowner to

stay out of that area for a couple weeks and go on to the next job.


What can you do to help your system?

Drastically decrease your water usage or ideally stop using water altogether.

The less water you use the easier it is for the ground to start absorbing

 effluent again.

Be wary of pumping your tank when the area around your septic system is

flooded as opening the lids can wash dirt into your tank.

If you decide to pump your tank while your drainfield is still saturated

your tank will probably fill back up within a few days.

Then it will start distributing water back out into the drainfield

as it is suppose to.

Septic tanks normally have about 800+ gallons of water in them.

Most people use about 60-80 gallons of water per day.

When do you need to call a septic professional?

~If the water doesn't dissipate after other water in the area has dried up.

~If waste is backing up in to your house (Honestly, this could be a plumbing

clog or it could be septic related.)

~If the tank has come out of the ground.

~If you have components--pipes, chambers or a distribution box, sticking out

of the ground.

~If the lids have come off of components and you cannot refit them.

~If your tank's pump (provided you have one), has stopped working.

~If your tank's pump runs constantly.

Before examining a tank with a pump shut off the electricity at the breaker.

Before examining a tank with a pump shut off the electricity at the breaker.

Before examining a tank with a pump shut off the electricity at the breaker.

I know you know how some of my brethren in the
industry work.

If you are really worried and don't want a septic person to examine your

problem call the health department.

That would be environmental health in North Carolina for septic.

I would snap a few pictures of what I was worried about and

email it to them.

They're nice people.

I've never had a bad interaction with an environmental health employee.

You could also ask them to drop by when they are in the area.

Unbeknownst to most people, environmental health is a good

unbiased sources of information on septic.

They are county employees with State benefits and do not get any kickbacks

from the industry.

They have no vested interest in making you repair a system when it is not


The EPA has a good article on this subject, Septic Systems - What to Do

after the Flood

Go there> 

Sarratt Septic

Serving the Inner & Outer Banks

Charlotte & the Foothills

Western North Carolina

Ph 828-447-5184



Western North Carolina

222 Falling Waters Road

Cullowhee, NC 28723

Charlotte & The Foothills

118 Church View Drive

Lawndale, NC 28090

Inner & Outer Banks

646 Core Point Road

Blounts Creek, NC 27814