Septic Systems

A well-designed and properly maintained septic system should normally perform as expected, even if it is located on a flood plain. However, during flooding, wastewater from isolated homes is not treated, and groundwater and flood waters may become contaminated as a result. Normally, the impact of flooding on septic systems is minor because, as a rule, it lasts only a few days. In addition, most septic systems are not damaged by floods because they are buried underground. However, septic tanks and pumping stations may fill up with silt and debris and must be pumped and cleaned out by professionals. The following recommendations aim to help you prevent damage to these systems.

During flooding:

  • If you haven’t already done so, cut power to all treatment systems
  • Do not empty your septic tank or holding tanks during flooding because doing so could damage them.
  • Refrain from using your treatment systems to prevent potential wastewater backups into your home.
  • Read the instruction manual or contact your manufacturer for specific recommendations if you have an NQ 3680-910.410-certified system.
  • Avoid or minimize contact with flood waters.

After flooding:

  • Refrain from using the treatment system while the ground is still flooded or saturated with water.
  • Empty the septic tank as soon as possible after flooding, once the ground is no longer saturated with water. Empty the pumping station too, if you have one.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations if you have an NQ 3680-910.410-certified system.
  • Have your septic system inspected by a qualified professional if you suspect that it has been damaged or if you notice that it isn’t working properly.
  • Ensure that septic tank lids are safe and that inspection ports are not blocked or damaged.
  • Check all electrical connections for damage before restoring power. Ensure that all components are clean and dry.
  • Check the vegetation cover above the septic tank and in the leaching field. Repair any damage caused by erosion.
  • Clean out the surrounding area and decontaminate the ground if any wastewater has backed up into the basement.
  • Refrain from driving on the leaching field so as not to compact the soil.

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