Emergency preparedness often evokes thoughts of building food storage, assembling roadside kits for your car, and even packing three days’ worth of clothing to help you and your loved ones in the event of a disaster. One thing you might not consider, though, is preparing certain aspects of your home’s physical structure to withstand the unexpected.
If your home has a septic system, you’ll have to take a few steps to prepare it sufficiently for a disaster. Read below to discover several tips that can help you prepare your septic system as much as possible before a flood or hurricane occurs in your area.
1. Inspect the Plumbing Indoors
You want to make sure your plumbing is in working order well before a hurricane or flood hits. Inspect your sinks and toilets to see how well they drain. Examine your floor drains for any overflow. If these components in the main portion of your home appear to be in working order, inspect other plumbing fixtures at lower elevations, as these places typically indicate issues with the septic system first.
2. Check the Visible Components Outside
Stroll around your property, especially where the septic system connects to your home, and check for signs of seepage or leaks. If you notice any sewage outside your home, note those and contact a septic tank contractor to make the necessary repairs.
Other external components to check include the manhole cover and the land surrounding it. The land should be sloped away from the cover, and the cover itself — along with the inspection ports — should be tightly sealed.
3. Keep Record of Your Septic System
In case any part of your septic system becomes damaged during a storm, keeping record of it will make it easier to request repairs later on. Take pictures of the location of your septic system, and if possible, keep copies of drawings or records of your specific system to help your contractor during the repair process.
4. Know What to Do Before, During, and After a Disaster
Whether you’re experiencing a flood or a hurricane, one of the best ways you can prepare for a disaster is knowing what to do before, during, and after one occurs. While the above steps are important for you to undertake regularly, the below information is essential in the event of a disaster.
Does your septic system require electricity? You might consider investing in a generator that will power your lift station and reduce potential sewage backups into your home in the early stages of a flood. Waterproof the other electrical components — such as the wiring and pumps — to prevent damage to the system itself and electrical shock to you or anyone else.
You’ll also want to prevent your tank from floating in a flood or collapsing at any point during a disaster. Ensure the tank is filled halfway up with effluent to secure it and prevent additional issues.
To further safeguard yourself and others nearby, section off the area surrounding your septic system and its external components with rope. This marking will also help you clearly avoid the area in the days shortly after the disaster has passed.
First and foremost, if you’re in a natural disaster, follow all emergency guidelines and evacuation orders declared for your area.
Where possible to do so safely, note any damage to the system and standing water that occurs during the disaster. Limit how much water you use inside your home as well to reduce your exposure to any potentially contaminated water. Avoid drinking water directly from your tap, especially if you’ve noticed sewage outside your home or if any components of your system have been damaged during a storm or flood.
Continue limiting your water intake and use at home. Avoid flushing the toilet too often, doing laundry, and drinking tap water. Steer clear of the electrical components until they’re dry and there isn’t any standing water in the area.
While you may want to pump your septic tank after a natural disaster, avoid doing so. As mentioned above, you want to keep the tank filled at least halfway with effluent to avoid a floating structure. Likewise, you shouldn’t pump it immediately afterward to prevent the same issue. It’s best to wait until the area is clear of any flooding and standing water before pumping the tank.
Did you experience a backup in your home? If so, stay clear of those areas of your home until they can be deeply cleaned and disinfected. Any damage that your septic system sustained should be repaired as soon as the area is safe.
5. Contact a Professional
When you schedule service with your septic tank contractor, consider asking if they offer follow-up services, and even if they don’t, schedule a follow-up appointment about a month after the initial service so they can ensure everything is working correctly.
If anything seems out of the ordinary at any point before, during, or after a natural disaster, contact Abbotts’ Constructions Services, Inc. for septic tank repair services. Inspecting and repairing your septic system now could make all the difference later on. Moreover, having the system repaired after a disaster ensures it will continue to work well in the future.