What to Do In the Event of a Septic Tank Emergency

What to Do In the Event of a Septic Tank Emergency

Published on May 21, 2014

Septic systems are only expected to last for so long before they fail, so it’s always best to prepare for a septic septic-tank-pooling-wateremergency before you actually have one in order that you can act quickly and decisively. Should you ever experience a septic tank emergency, it’s vitally important that you do not panic no matter how extreme the situation may be and contact a professional plumber at once. You have to remember that a failed septic system can potentially expose you, your family and your neighbors to viruses and pathogens from the sewage, and panic won’t do anyone any good.

Warning Signs

If you pay attention, you’ll have a bit of a warning as to when your septic system might possibly fail on you, allowing you to take action and call a team of  plumbing experts, which could possibly avoid an emergency. Check out Carlson Plumbing Company website at https://carlsonplumbing.co/. Specifically, you’ll want to keep your eyes, ears and nose open for:

  • Fixtures that are slow to drain
  • Gurgling in your plumbing system
  • Foul odors coming from the drainfield area after rain or heavy water use
  • Water backing up into your basement
  • Septic tank or plumbing backups
  • Standing water in the drainfield

Preventative Steps to Take

To keep your system from failing faster than normal, it’s vitally important that you not use more water than you absolutely have to since using too much water is one of the main reasons that septic systems fail in the first place. You’ll also want to avoid using additives since they will do more harm to your system than good. A septic tank cleaning performed by professionals at regular maintenance should also help considerably in this as well as in identifying potential issues well ahead of time.

Avoid paving over, driving over and parking on top of your septic system. If it’s possible try your best not to direct excess rainwater to the spot where your septic system is buried. Septic tank water navigates through laterals before draining through soil. If the ground is already wet where the septic tank water drains, there’s a chance that the water will start to back up either into your system or your ground pool. Always ensure that yard drainage and downspouts are redirected to other locations on your lawn.

It is recommended that you install inspection ports and risers. Septic systems are buried, which makes them hard to thoroughly inspect for problems. It’s easy to install a small inspection port so that you can check your system.


If you ever do find that you have sewage in your home, lift up the lid of the septic tank and take a look at the water level. You can also call a professional septic services company to check the water level for you. You might have to call a plumber Gold Coast if the water level is lower than the outlet since there’s a chance that a pipe that runs between your tank and your house could be clogged.

According to an emergency plumber, if you look and see that the water level is higher than the outlet, your problem is either the tank or something beyond it. Get your tank pumped so that you will have a bit of extra time to decide what to do next. Not only that, but having your tank pumped will give the pumper a chance to see whether or not the issue is an easily apparent one or one that’s more complex.

In the event that the drainfield is filled with water, it’s best that you put off getting your tank pumped since emptying the tank out can cause it to float, which can lead to broken pipes. If you notice that the drainfield is soggy or has a foul odor coming from it, make sure that you keep people away from the area since there’s a chance that you might have a biohazard on your hands. Think about putting up a fence if you have any pets or children in order to make sure that they stay away from the area. You’ll also want to have your tank pumped and use as little water as you can in order to help with the odor.

Repair or Replace?

Should your septic system ever fail, you’ll have the option of either replacing it or repairing it. Standing water or sewage odor is mostly likely caused by a broken pipe, which can easily be replaced for about $600. With advanced treatment systems, you might need a part replacement or adjustment. If it’s your drainfield that has completely failed, then chances are good that you’ll need to find septic tank replacement near me. That being said, there’s still a chance that you might be able to use the septic tank again, which can go a long way in saving you money.

Do what you can to avoid and handle a septic system emergency, but realize when it’s time to call in an emergency plumber.


If you are having a septic tank cleaning & maintenance emergency or just need help, call us at 804.232.6774 or contact us via email.