Septic Tank Full of Water–Excessive Rain

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    • #278491
      Avatar photoAnonymous

        Last week we had over 5″ of rain in a period of about a day. I live down in a valley and get alot of the runoff from neighbors above up a long hill during each rain. I also have a creek that’s about 5 or 6′ across. There are numerous natural springs here, too. I have one in my yard.

        During the 5″ of rain that fell last week, my septic tank filled up for the first time since I moved here 3 years ago. (First time we had major snow this winter, too, since I’ve been here). During this rain storm, everytime we flushed or ran water, it came out of the top of the septic. I had a company come and pump it out. I called them again when I noticed the water still coming out. They said that as they were pumping it, water was pouring in from the drain field because of the rain and the ground is just not taking anymore water. They also said they left the tank full of water. They said this is necessary for a septic tank to work right. (This doesn’t make sense to me because every time you flush or run water, you start filling the tank). My mom (who has had a septic tank forever) said they never used to do this. That everything is supposed to be taken out. The septic tank company said to give it time to dry out. Lots of people are having problems.

        Well, we had two rainless days since the 5″ of rain and it rained all night last night. (I still had water coming out of the ground in my driveway from an underground spring, I guess) It’s supposed to rain again today and for two more days at the end of this week.

        Can I insist that a company pump all of the water out? If not, can I rent a pump and get it out? Is there a way of checking if the area between the drainfield and the septic tank is clogged? Or should I just wait it out? It’s not coming into the house. Thanks!

      • #298613
        Avatar photohj


          The septic company charges you by the gallon for pumping and disposing of the water. If you want to pay them to take away all the rain water that is and has fallen, that is your choice, but no matter how much they pump out, the water in the ground is still going to fill it up, almost immediately. And a septic tank is always full except immediately after it is pumped and in that case, it does start filling as soon as you use water. But once it is full, any water you send into the tank is balanced by that same amount of water going into the field. When the ground is saturated, as it is in your case, water in the field cannot soak into the ground so it just lies there waiting for everything to dry up. Ans as far as pumping goes, where would you pump it to? If you pump it onto the ground it will just run back into the tank, or do you have someplace a long ways away where you can punp it without it running right back onto your property. Because any water in the area that flows down to the lowest point, (namely your yard), is going to go into your septic system.

        • #298614
          Avatar photoSandi

            Good news–didn’t get the last expected rain and it’s slowly going down. (I still have groundwater coming up in my driveway). So I think I need to start thinking about the landscape/drainage around the place. (There was excavating done when I had a new well put in 2 yrs. ago–cut into a small hillside out above my house). And the area is full of springs. Thanks for your help.

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