It is quite common to experience rain in the spring months. For homeowners, it is time to keep tabs on weather reports and make the necessary preparations to protect their septic tanks. While septic systems are specially designed and equipped to handle heavy rain, there are still a few issues that may arise due to excessive water.

To get a better understanding of how rainfall affects your septic systems, let’s first understand how your septic system works.

What Does Your Septic System Do?

When wastewater leaves your home, it travels through pipes into the septic system. Your septic system consists of two components – a tank that collects dirty water and a drain field that filters out that water to release clean water into the ground. Once the dirty water is in the tank, the enzymes present in it begin treating the water. During the process, the water breaks into floatable matter (such as oils and grease) and solids, forming their own respective layers. The liquid layer, or effluent, then flows through the drain field into the ground, where soil filters the water completely.

How Does Rain Affect Your Septic System?

When it rains heavily, excessive water enters your septic system, resulting in over saturation of the ground around the drain field. Since it is impossible for effluent to flow out of the system, it gets collected in the drain field and eventually travels back into the drains and pipes of your home. This means that your toilets, showers, and drains will start flooding with dirty sewage water that can prove to be very hazardous for you.

Excessive water in the drain field can also harm the environment. If dirty water is left on a soil’s surface for too long, there is a chance that it can flow into the local drinking water supply and contaminate it.

How To Prevent Septic System Problems?

You cannot prevent rainfall, but you can prepare for it. Here are a few things you can do to minimize any damages and keep your septic system functioning before, during, and after a rainstorm!

● Before A Rainstorm
1) As they say, prevention is better than a cure. Get your septic system serviced by a professional before the rains roll in. Make sure that your system is regularly pumped and maintained throughout the season.
2) Gutters are important. They help in directing runoff water away from the drain field and preventing its surrounding soils from over saturation. Just make sure that your gutters are placed far away from the drain field. Also, keep your gutters clean and debris-free for proper water flow.
3) Abstain from driving heavy vehicles or equipment over the drain field, as this will compact the soil and reduce its ability to absorb and treat wastewater properly.

● During A Rainstorm
1) If you notice that your drains are not draining quickly or toilets are getting clogged with water, know that your septic system’s drain field has been flooded. The best thing to do here is to use it less to take pressure off the system and let it recoup. Flush slowly., avoid doing laundry and dish washing and skip showers as much as you can.
2) You can also opt for an emergency septic cleaning service for temporary relief.

● After A Rainstorm
1) Look for any damage to the septic system. If you identify any problem with your septic tank or drain field, contact professionals immediately for inspection and thorough service.
2) Have your system pumped to clean any debris or dirt inside it.

Are you experiencing backups or slow drains in your toilets after a rainstorm? Call our experts at Five Star Septic for instant service! Get in touch with us at 703-716-0707.