Safety Tips for Septic Systems and Wells Use Experts to Check Them Out

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Release date: 
November 1, 1998
Release Number: 

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Public health officials urge homeowners who have problems with their septic system and private wells to have them professionally checked.

Septic Systems:
Floodwaters can cause septic tanks to fill up, causing back-flow problems and soil erosion around the septic tank, producing seepage above ground.

"Septic systems won't work until ground water is below the distribution lines," said Environmental Investigator Arthur Locke, Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. "Since flood waters are receding, now is a good time to make sure septic tanks are working."

Experts suggest pumping septic tanks to see if the system is working. A licensed sewage transporter should perform the procedure.

Water pumped from wells that have been submerged by floodwater should be disinfected before being used for drinking, food preparation and other domestic needs.

Wells located in lowland areas along streams or drainage ways may be contaminated with silt, bacteria and other hazards if floodwater entered through the top of the well. Anyone unsure whether a home water supply has been contaminated by floodwater should purify all water before using.

Homeowners should have their water tested if any of the following conditions exist:

  • the well was actually flooded;
  • the well was in close proximity to a flooded area; and
  • there has been a change in the water quality (odor or taste).

Residents who are concerned about the quality of their water should contact their local health department to have their water tested.

  • If major repairs are needed for either septic systems or wells, residents should contact county officials regarding any new regulations that may apply before any repairs are made.

  • Financial assistance for repair and restoration of water systems may be available through various financial resources. Anyone with damage due to the floods should call the toll free registration number at 1-800-462-9029 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585).
Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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