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Protecting Yourself From Septic Backflow

Plumbing drain pipe is being connected to septic tank for waste treatment
One of your worst nightmares as a homeowner is probably to have sewage flood into your home and damage all your belongings beyond repair. If a septic or sewer system becomes overwhelmed by water during a particularly wet storm, the stormwater could cause backups that could end up flooding your basement or your entire home.
Here are a few ways to protect yourself from this nightmare if you have a septic system.
1. Installing a Check Valve
To prevent problems, you can install a check valve, which is designed to prevent pressure from forcing wastewater back up the main line towards your house. You shouldn't install a check valve by yourself - you'll want to hire a professional plumber to do it. While installation costs extra, if you've ever experienced septic backup or overflow, you'll realize that the costs are totally worth it.
The valve works by allowing wastewater to flow through in one direction, but closing up when water pressure reverses. If you already have one of these valves, don't rest on your laurels; you'll still need to check it regularly to make sure it works.
Also make sure an alarm is attached. You'll want to know when the valve deploys, because it closes off the drain and you won't be able to use your drain systems until after the septic overwhelm problem has been taken care of. If your alarm goes off, you'll want to have a septic professional come out and make sure there isn't a deeper problem causing the backup.
2. Completing Regular Maintenance
Another way to avoid backups is to keep your septic system in good shape. Regular septic maintenance visits are recommended yearly. The tank doesn't have to be pumped that often, but the sludge levels can be monitored and the contractor can check on the condition of septic baffles and other important components.
If the septic inlet baffle crumbles, for example (which often happens if you have concrete baffles), it could block the inlet pipe, which could be what triggers the backup. However, if your contractor performs regular inspections, he or she can let you know if that's likely to happen and what needs to be done to prevent it.
3. Avoiding Damage
You may not realize it, but you can accidentally damage your septic system or slow down its processing power. For example, heavy machinery or even just a lot of foot traffic and livestock on the leach field or septic mound can compress the soil. This prevents the aerobic microbes in the system from doing their job properly.
Machinery and vehicles can also damage other parts of the system, such as by bending or crushing pipes or breaking septic baffles. So you need to make sure everyone knows where your septic system is and knows that it's off-limits for driving or parking of any kind.
You should also avoid planting trees or bushes near the system, covering any part of the leach field with something impermeable (including a greenhouse or tent, landscape fabric, or even a sheet of plastic), or over-watering the plants on the septic leach field or septic mound. You can water the plants a little when first planting them, but you should stop once they're established.
4. Using the System Wisely
The more water you flush into your septic system, the more pressure you put on it to process large amounts of water through the soil in the leach field. The leach field can only process a certain amount of water in a given time, and if the ground is saturated from rain already, that can significantly reduce its capabilities.
So you should know what your system is capable of and be careful not to do too many water-heavy activities in one day. If your area is experiencing heavy rainfall and flash floods, try to avoid using the drains at all as much as possible.
These tips will help you reduce your chances of experiencing sewage backup into your home due to an overwhelmed or damaged septic system. They'll also help you keep your septic system in great shape so that it processes water well for years to come.
If you live in the Greenville area, call American Waste Septic today. We can do regular maintenance or any septic repairs or inspections you may need.
American Waste Septic Tank Service
161 S Hammett Road
Greer, SC 29651

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