Why Does My Septic System Back Up After a Rain? – Affordable Sanitation

Why Does My Septic System Back Up After a Rain?

Western Pennsylvania is a region where frequent, heavy rains can occur any time of year, even when it should be snowing.

Soil saturated with moisture from precipitation causes enough problems on its own, but when the already soggy soil is also being pumped full of treated wastewater from a septic system drainfield, then the issues multiply.

Problems Caused by Oversaturation of the Drainfield

There are two main results of an oversaturated drainfield:

  1. With no way to exit the drainfield pipes, the excess water will take the path of least resistance, traveling back through the septic system pipes and eventually re-entering your home’s fixtures such as sink drains and toilets.
  2. Another, more serious effect of a waterlogged drainfield is that, because the soil can’t hold it, wastewater that is meant to be treated in the drainfield will run off into streams and other bodies of water, contaminating them and putting animals and humans at risk.

Avoiding Septic System Backups Due to Excess Water

While you can’t control the amount of precipitation that hits your drainfield, there are a few simple steps you can take to reduce the chances of excess water creating a septic system nightmare. These few tips will help you to protect your family and the surrounding environment while keeping you from facing costly repairs due to septic system backups:

  1. Schedule Regular Pumping-Keeping your septic system running smoothly is a key step in avoiding backups. You should schedule septic pumpings every 2-5 years, depending on the amount of use it gets in your household.
  2. Redirect Runoff- Downspouts from your home or garage should be directed away from the drainfield to prevent excess water collection in the area. Consider installing a french drain that will carry this runoff in a direction opposite your drainfield.
  3. Don’t Compact Soil-Driving on the drainfield is always a bad idea, but you should also avoid doing anything that would cause the soil to become compacted, like constructing a building or parking cars and heavy machinery on it. The soil here needs to allow for the absorption and free flow of water, and compacting it will compromise the effectiveness of the water treatment process.
  4. Check Drainfield After Rains-If you experience heavy or prolonged periods of rain, be sure to examine the soil in the drainfield. If it is abnormally muddy or you see water pooling, reduce water usage until the soil returns to normal.
  5. Any time you see pooling water that does not absorb in a normal amount of time, or if you think the drainfield has been damaged in some way, do not hesitate to call your septic service professionals to investigate the problem. Ignoring a drainfield issue can cause widespread and expensive damage.

Whether you need regular septic tank pumping or you think you may have a drainfield issue that needs immediate attention, the Affordable Sanitation team of experts is ready to investigate, diagnose, and fix any septic system issue. Call us today!

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