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Extreme Weather & Your Septic System – What To Know

In the US alone, over 60 million households thrive on septic tanks – a sustainable and more affordable alternative to relying on public sewage lines. Unlike standard sewage lines that carry the waste to water treatment plants, septic tanks work by independently dissolving the waste on-site. 

These tanks use naturally occurring bacteria to separate the waste into layers and dispose of the separated waste types through different channels. This alternative system makes septic tanks incredibly durable, independent, and eco-friendly – all characteristics that appeal particularly to homeowners who wish to live off-grid or in remote areas. 

However, for how powerful and convenient septic tank systems are, some extreme weather events, such as excessive rain, flooding, snow, freezing ground, extreme heat, and wildfires can affect their functionality. Here is what to expect if you live in an area prone to adverse weather and what you should do to prevent any septic tank failures. 

Excessive Rain and Flooding

Everywhere in the world that receives rain could experience flooding. However, some US states in the South and Southwest are particularly prone to excessive rain, flooding, and flash floods. 

Generally, septic tank systems are built to withstand excessive rain and flooding without reporting failures – especially because, being underground, they are often unaffected by what happens above the ground. However, there are some collateral effects of excessive rain and flooding that you should be aware of. 

In fact, debris, dirty floodwater, and silt can compromise the tank’s exosystem and will require your tank and pump chambers to be cleaned professionally. Ideally, you should avoid using the system until the floodwater has receded and carried out a full inspection to prevent further damage. 

Snow or Freezing Ground

Blizzards, sub-zero temperatures, heavy snow, and freezing ground can affect the functionality of your septic tank – especially in the Northern states where winters are particularly long. Without the right preparation and maintenance, your septic tank can freeze, which means that you won’t have a plumbing system to rely on. To avoid costly septic repairs, all you need to do is keep up with your septic maintenance. You can protect your septic tank from extreme cold by:

  • Insulating it and winterizing the plumbing
  • Letting protective vegetation and grass grow over it
  • Preventing compacted soil that will freeze more easily
  • Investing in snow cover
  • Examining your septic tank for leakages, broken fixtures, and waterlogged plumbing.

Extreme Heat and Wildfires

Extreme heat and wildfires are becoming increasingly devastating episodes that mostly affect the Eastern states, including California, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. Septic tank systems work thanks to biological reactions, and extreme heat can affect the bacteria living in your septic tank and, thus, its functioning. 

Because heat speeds up the process at which waste and constituents are decomposed, extreme heat changes the oxygen uptake and the digestion phase of your septic tank process. Generally, this is a positive change, but you should also prevent overheating by insulating and covering your tank. 

Bottom Line

Septic tanks require minimal repairs and maintenance – you will need septic tank emptying services every 4-5 years and replacement services after 20! They are also long-lasting, resilient, economical, and stand out as one of the most durable and sustainable waste disposal systems. 

However, extreme weather episodes, especially frozen ground, snow, and floods, can impair your tank’s functioning. If you live in an area prone to extreme weather events, Economy Septic Tank Service is a professional septic company that can help you better look after your septic tank system – get in touch today!


Economy Septic is here to get you weather ready!

Some weather events can’t be predicted soon enough. But for combatting the usual weather patterns in your region that may adversely affect the operation of your septic system, there’s Economy Septic Tank Service. Economy Septic can get your septic system ready for harsh, anticipated weather. For more information about how to weather-proof your septic system, or to schedule regular maintenance or repair, call Economy Septic today at (256) 435-1086!