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When April Showers Bring May Septic Issues

Heavy Spring Rains Can Cause Septic Problems

As April creeps into May and warmer weather becomes the norm, flowers bloom, and birds return. Rains are a beautiful part of this springtime process, but they can also cause problems for those homeowners who have septic tanks. There are several reasons that a septic tank can back up, but rains can contribute to the issue. 

The Problem of Ground Flooding

flooded yardWhat could possibly be worse than a clogged toilet or tub drain? Perhaps having an entire yard full of raw sewage comes to mind. This is an example of ground flooding. Heavy rains can cause puddles but may also lead to something much worse. Ground flooding happens when the drain field or leach field on a septic tank is entirely saturated, and the wastewater from the septic tank has no place to go. The system will then either bubble up outside or back up into the house. When rains come and the groundwater levels are higher than usual, backups and flooding will occur.

What is a Clogged Drain Field?

The drain field or leach field is the filtration system that purifies the water from the septic tank and allows it to return to the groundwater. When the filtration system becomes overwhelmed with rising groundwater from rain, mud and debris may clog up the system, causing backups and flooding. Though the root of the problem may be something within the tank itself, it is likely to limp along, seeming to function until the rains come down and the floods come up.

Maintenance: Guarding Septic Tanks against the Heavy Rain of Spring

Just as it is with any piece of a functioning home,  maintenance is the key to success in dealing with septic tanks during the rainy season. Though not all problems can be avoided, there are a few proactive strategies that can keep things flowing as they should.

  • septic tankMindfulness: Do not flush anything down the drain that is not meant to break down in a septic tank. Say no to feminine hygiene products, diapers, trash, and other items that are not biodegradable.  These can clog the system, and the rain will only compound the problem. 
  • Conservation: When there is a high volume of precipitation outside, it is best practice to conserve water in the house. If the system is already coping with lots and lots of rain, adding more water to the system through long showers or multiple loads of laundry can be detrimental to the proper workings of a septic tank.
  • Maintenance: Though unforeseen problems do occur, there is significantly less chance of these circumstances if the septic tank is maintained appropriately. There are small maintenance steps, and there are complete overhauls, but below are a few procedures that might be useful.
      • Cleaning:  A septic tank should be pumped out every three to five years to prevent clogs and backing up. 
      • Access points with lids: Having these on a septic tank help solve problems when they happen by giving someone an easy way to investigate the septic system.
  • Risers: If the septic tank continues to have difficulty draining, it may be to the point that it needs to be dug up and risers or supports put under it in order to maintain its level and ensure that gravity is working with the system instead of against it.

About Guardian Plumbing & Drain

Guardian Plumbing and Drain and its employees proudly provide same-day service and free estimates on septic services in Cobourg, ON. They will find customized solutions to fit every homeowner’s needs. 100% satisfaction guaranteed.


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Cobourg, ON K9A 0H9
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