Septic Emergencies

What to do in a septic system emergency

Don’t turn off water in a panic

If water seems to be flowing from under a toilet or out of a bath tub or shower, then determine where your water is running in the house. Turn off the water source that is running. Check your washing machine, dishwasher, running toilet, etc. You’ll need to eliminate the water source.

If system alarm is sounding

Go ahead and find your mute switch on your alarm panel. Turn the switch to mute it so it won’t disturb everyone around you. Then contact us during normal business hours to come take a look at your system if not backing up.

Check your breakers

Check the breakers on your septic system. Make sure you do not have any breakers tripped inside your control panel or inside your house. To reset, turn your breaker to the off position, then back to the on position. If it pops immediately then there is an issue. Always be careful when dealing with electricity due to electrical shock hazards. If you are uncomfortable handling breakers, give us a call to set up a work order. Be extra careful inside the aerobic control panel due to circuits in this type of panel being more open to electrical hazards.

Diagram of typical septic tank system

Remote two-way cleanout cap

In the event you need to allow the flow to leave your house when backed up, open your cleanout cap with a pair a pliers. Be sure to wear rubber gloves for personal protection and remove the cap slowly. Sewage may come out quickly. We recommend purchasing our sewer relief caps which, in most cases, will automatically allow sewage to dispose of itself onto the ground in the event your septic system backs up.

Limit your water use

If your system alarm is going off or you have a backup and have taken your cleanout cap off, and the water seems to be going out onto ground and not backing up into the house, please use your water with caution. You may still have toilet paper or other debris trapped inside, which can cause a clog further under the house.

Our septic emergency response time

We will make every attempt to respond quickly during emergency hours, such as weekend and holidays. Please leave a voicemail outside of normal business hours. We do charge emergency rates during weekends and holidays. Currently, our emergency calls are covered on a volunteer basis by our employees but we are actively searching for a permanent weekend employee.

Septic system emergency how-to videos

How to silence your septic alarm

Depending on your box configuration, there should be a button or switch that shuts off the system alarm. Watch this how-to video for help.

How to take the top off of your cleanout

Typically, your cleanout cap is near your house sticking out of the ground or level with the ground.  It is either 3″ or 4″ in size and may require a tool to remove it.

Spray head removal

There are several brands of spray heads. This how-to video shows two of the most commonly-used style of spray head.