Summer Rain & Septic Tanks
Summer rains might be good for your lawn. Unfortunately, summer rains — particularly heavy summer rains — can cause septic tank problems. The problem is that after a significant amount of rainfall, water seeps deep into the ground, causing the water table to elevate.
If the water table rises too high, it can actually saturate your septic system’s leach field. (The leach field is the series of pipes used to drain contaminants from the liquid in the septic system.) This can actually cause contaminants to back up into the septic tank itself. This not only can be a hassle, but also could cause your entire septic system to fail in an extreme case.
It’s important to note that if you are having septic tank problems, the solution isn’t necessarily to drain the tank. That’s because when a septic tank situated in saturated soil is emptied, it becomes much lighter and subsequently buoyant. As a result, it will naturally rise to the surface.
Even if your tank rises just a couple of inches, it could sever the sewer line in the ground. And if the septic tank actually comes up out the ground, it will be a major issue. So, what can you do to prevent any major septic system issues during periods of heavy rainfall? There are two main things:
Put less stress on your septic system.
Ideally, you will want to cut back on the use of your septic system. That means flushing the toilet less, doing fewer loads of laundry, and taking shorter showers. Think of it this way: If you are going to add to the already high water level by adding more water, you’re going to exacerbate the problem. Basically, the soil around your septic system is like a sponge in that it can only absorb so much. But you can mitigate that amount by being more frugal and strategic about your water use.
Keep water flow away from your septic system.
One of the most effective ways to prevent rain-related issues when it comes to your septic tank is to direct all water flow away from it. That includes all gutter drain run-off and sump pump discharge. This will help keep the soil around your septic tank from getting too saturated.
Remember, if you do suspect some kind of issue, the sooner you address it, the better. The bottom line is that if you’re experiencing rain-related septic tank problems, your best bet is to get an expert in to address the situation before it gets any worse.