How Does Flooding Affect a Septic Tank?

by Ri Industries Ri Industries No Comments

At Ri-Industries, we often talk about changes in our environment and anyone paying attention is sure to have noticed an increase in storms around the globe. We have seen pictures of unbelievable flooding creating unlivable conditions. Whilst torrential flooding has not affected South Australia as it has other parts of the world, it’s still important to realise the impact of flooding on septic systems.

The good news is that most septic systems should not be damaged structurally by flooding. Our septic tanks are made of concrete and are installed underground so you can have confidence they will stay structurally intact.  However, flood water may enter your septic tank system through the toilet, other fixtures, or the overflow relief gully grate and may wash out solids from the tank causing blockages or system damage.

According to the WA Government (, in the event of flooding, the following safety issues should be checked:

  • open covers/pits
  • ruptured/leaking systems (including pipes)
  • damaged/exposed pipes that may need capping/sealing off.

Failed systems are not easy to identify. However, some simple indicators may include:

  • a pungent odour around the tank and land application area
  • blocked fixtures, with wastewater overflowing from the relief point
  • high sludge levels within the primary tank
  • sewage flowing up through the toilet and sinks.

Some onsite wastewater treatment systems may rely on mechanical and electrical equipment, such as pumps, aerators and filters.

This equipment may be damaged by flood or loss of power.

To prevent injury or further damage to your system contact your service agent.

Floods can also reduce the capacity or effectiveness of a septic system. Tanks, leach drains, pump pits and irrigation pipework can fill with silt and debris, crust can lift and block the inlet or outlet of the septic tank pipes.

If your septic tank has been under flood water, do not use toilets, laundry, kitchen, or bathroom utilities which connect to the tank until it has been checked by a trained specialist. If there has been sewage overflow, assume anything that has been touched is contaminated and wear protective gear when doing a clean up.

We are here to answer all of your questions regarding the care and maintenance of our concrete septic tanks. Call us at 08 8444 8100 to speak with one of our experts.



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