All of the wastewater from your toilets, showers, sinks, and appliances flows into the septic tank in your backyard. Solids sink to the bottom of the tank, while liquids flow out into the surrounding dirt. The dirt filters out any bacteria that's present, and then the treated water rejoins the groundwater. The whole process works very well, at least until you forget to get your septic tank pumped, and the solids back up into your house. Here's what you need to know about this serious plumbing emergency.
Why is a septic tank backup a big deal?
A septic tank backup is obviously a smelly mess, but it's also incredibly dangerous to your health. The main danger is sewage, which is full of bacteria and viruses, and gases such as methane, which have their own set of dangers.
What kinds of germs are in sewage?
Sewage contains about 100 different viruses, and you don't want to expose yourself to any of them. These viruses are responsible for causing serious and potentially life-threatening diseases like cholera, dysentery, E. coli, or Hepatitis A. Any surfaces that come into contact with the sewage, such as your carpets, furniture, or walls, should be considered contaminated, and you'll need to have a professional either dispose of them or clean them.
What are the dangers of gases?
There are a couple different types of gases that can enter your house when your septic tank backs up. Hydrogen sulfide is one of these gases, and even in low concentrations, it's dangerous stuff. Low concentrations will make your eyelids and throat swell shut, while high concentrations will paralyze your lungs and kill you quickly.
Methane is another dangerous gas that's found in sewage. It's crated when your waste breaks down inside your septic tank, and it's both odorless and colorless. The danger with methane is that it's very explosive, even in low concentrations.
What should you do if your septic tank backs up?
If your septic tank backs up, you need to get out of your house right away. Staying inside your house puts you at risk of getting sick from the many viruses and gases that are present in your sewage. As soon as you get outside, call a plumber. The plumber will pump your septic tank and recommend a contractor who can clean up the contamination inside your house.
A septic tank backup is a serious problem, but you can avoid it by having your septic tank pumped regularly. For more information on plumbing emergency response, contact a company like Pipeworks Inc.Share
15 May 2015
I live in the middle of the desert, so I never thought that flooding would be a problem. However, a few months ago my town was hit with a huge storm. These freak storms are called "Hundred Year Storm" because the chances of them happening are once in a hundred years. Needless to say, no one was prepared for the aftermath--especially not the city sewage system. All this extra water had no where to go, and suddenly, I found my basement flooded. It wasn't a fun experience, but we dealt with it the best we could. Since then, I have spent a lot of time looking into different options for sewage, water lines, and other related things. We're now even looking into building a new house. This blog is the result of my ongoing research.