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Can Heavy Rain Affect Septic Systems?

Can Heavy Rain Affect Septic Systems?

Spring showers bring flowers, but they also bring septic system problems. Has your septic tank alarm ever gone off after a heavy rainstorm? Has heavy rainfall caused your sinks and toilets to back up? It is important to learn about how downpours can impact your septic system and what you can do to prepare for the upcoming rainy season and prevent problems before they arise.

Why Does My Septic Tank Fill Up When It Rains?

Most rain-related issues involve your septic system's drainfield, which is the only component exposed to the elements. Heavy rainstorms can potentially cause many septic system-related problems, including ground flooding and clogged drainfields.

Ground Flooding

If you experience significant rainfall, it can flood the ground around the drainfield. The drainfield's job is to purify water so that it can be safely dispersed into the surrounding soil. Your septic tank is designed to accommodate a certain amount of wastewater. However, if rainwater merges with that wastewater, the tank may have more liquid than it can handle. It will be impossible for water to flow out of the septic system.

If it does not have anywhere else to go, water can come out of the septic tank and pool in your yard. Worse yet, it can back up into the drains and toilets of your home.

Clogged Drainfield

Heavy rain poses another potential problem to the septic system's drainfield. As the rain comes down, it can collect inside this component. If the drainfield becomes saturated, it will be unable to absorb wastewater properly. The water won't have anywhere else to go, and it can potentially overflow your septic tank. Over time, this overflow can creep into your plumbing and cause slowed drains, gurgling pipes and foul odors.

A clogged drainfield can also allow untreated sewage to flow into the groundwater, where it can seep into local streams and risk serious environmental contamination.

How to Keep Rainwater Out of Your Septic Tank

While heavy rainfall can potentially cause some serious septic issues, there are many ways you can prepare your septic system for any upcoming storms. Here are some tips to protect your septic tank from heavy rain and help prevent backup:

  • Be mindful of what goes down the drain: From flushing feminine hygiene products or paper towels to pouring oil or chemicals into the sink, many things should not go into your septic tank. Be mindful of what you flush or pour down the drain.
  • Redirect runoff from the drainfield: Runoff water combined with an already saturated ground can cause your drainfield a lot of problems. Redirect runoff water so that it moves away from your drainfield, and direct gutters away as well.
  • Keep vehicles away from the drainfield: Cars and other vehicles can compact the soil around the drainfield, decreasing the area's absorption.
  • Conserve water during rainstorms: When it's raining, try to avoid heavy water usage, such as long showers, baths and laundry.

Prepare for the Storm With Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Greater Syracuse

The best way to keep your septic system in good shape is to prioritize proper septic maintenance. When you choose Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Greater Syracuse as your licensed plumber, we can help catch septic system issues early on before the rain starts to fall. To request a plumbing estimate, call us at 315-472-1203 or contact us online.