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Your Septic Tank is Overflowing, and You’re Panicking. Here’s What You Need to Do.

There’s a rancid smell permeating into the house, you step outside into your back yard to feel the water splash against your feet. The realization that your septic tank is overflowing now sets in and so does panic. The glorious cacophony of joyous chirping birds that normally brings light to your every waking morning has suddenly become silent. They know. 

The birds know that what is slowly beginning to creep up onto your lawn is not the stunning scent of fresh spring rain or the inviting scent of your morning coffee. No, no instead you are met with what anything with a nose would avoid. As reality sets in, homeowners left in this situation don’t know what they should do when this happens.

All imaginative suppositions aside, this may not be exactly what you experience when something goes wrong with your septic tank. This could also be noticed from gurgling drains and noticing backups within your home. However, the problem remains, what do you do when this happens? 

Today we will cover a crash course on what you need to do when placed in this situation. Mitigating damages and the costs that are consequently associated is a major focus. Additionally, understanding how to manage the worst-case scenario will prepare you for properly avoiding this disaster in the first place.

Step One: Understand the “Why”.

Septic tanks can fail for a number of reasons. It could be from a leak, overflowing, poor maintenance, faulty parts, weak soil, sinkholes, and so many more possibilities. Either way, the solutions tend to remain the same. However, understanding why this is happening will help you know what your next step will be. 

This will also help ease your mind somewhat. In order to come up with solutions, you must understand what’s at hand. 99% of the time, it’s a problem of overflowing that tends to be noticed first. That, or the smell. Either way, your next step is simple.


Stop the dishwasher, cut the morning shower short, and don’t flush the toilets. Essentially anything in your house using water that is sending wastewater to your tank is something you want to stay away from for now. This will be key to limiting damages and getting things under control.

It’s understandable that this may not be 100% possible, however, limit as much as you can for the time being. Use your better judgment, if you don’t NEED to use water at the time, then don’t.

Step Three: Call a Professional. 

Professionals, such as your friendly neighborhood Sanatec Environmental team, need to be contacted. This way the emergency can be treated as soon as possible. Depending on who is available where you live, most of these waste management professionals will not only have the expertise, but also the tools needed to get things cleaned up and fixed. 

Using things like vacuum trucks to clean up spills and excess water is a valuable tool at their disposal. Additionally, they deal with things like this as their jobs, so it’s best to have the professionals on-site as soon as you notice this problem. Luckily companies such as Sanatec Environmental usually have 24/7 emergency services available. 

Step Four: Avoid Sewage!


As most of us are aware, sewage is considered a bio-hazard. Avoid contact with any sewage that has overflown into your yard or inside your home. Once the cleanup process starts, be sure to properly sanitize any affected areas in order to avoid contamination resulting in various health concerns. Time to bust out the bleach, essentially. 

Step Five: Time to Become Prepared

With the help of your local professional, the problem should be solved in no time with an assessment of damages. Necessary repairs are of course the first step. However, depending on what caused this issue, it’s worth considering a plan of future action. In order to stay on top of things, it’s best to have maintenance done every 3 to 5 years. 

Additionally, there are now septic tank options with online reporting and remote monitoring capabilities. This way you can stay up to date with the latest innovations in septic tanks. Whatever caused this to occur will also help you understand what to avoid in the future. In some cases, it may be an issue of too much traffic in your home. There are times where there are simply too many people using water systems in your home, not giving your septic tank enough time to react and as a result, overflow. 

That About Covers It!

This is a fear that most people with septic tanks have. So it is best to be prepared rather than reacting last second. So keep in mind that having routine maintenance (Every 3 to 5 years), and taking advantage of the new technologies out there such as the iTank from Sanatec will better protect you from disaster. 

However, if this does occur to your septic tank system, this article covers a step by step guide to solving this problem. It won’t be easy, and it is sometimes messy work. So don’t be afraid to call a local professional to take care of this for you and repair/improve the necessary components of your septic system. 

Stay calm, and limit your usage of water when this occurs. This will help mitigate further damages. Next, get a professional on the line. When it comes time to clean up the aftermath, be very careful, as you are handling toxic biohazards. Be sure to sanitize and scrub any affected areas and items. Lastly, get a plan in motion and make sure what you are using it up to date.

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