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Partner Blog

Information of use to those who serve private well owners.

Disaster Preparedness for Septic System Owners

Disaster Preparedness for Septic System Owners

As we continue to encounter extreme weather events in 2019, it’s important for septic system owners to be aware of their role in natural disaster preparation, response, and recovery.  A natural disaster can include anything from a major hurricane, earthquake, wildfire, seasonal flooding, cold weather event, or an unforeseen power outage. During these events, septic system owners can either prevent or encourage drinking water contamination, the spread of disease, injuries, and hefty recovery expenses depending on their response.

A recent webinar by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency highlighted some great resources septic system owners and sanitarians can use in disaster preparation. One of the best tools was developed by the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) this year to provide guidance to septic system users before, during, and after a disaster. What’s frequently included in most of these guidelines is to maintain a healthy, leak proof system. Owners should keep documentation of their system components that include photos, a description of the tank location, and who to call for assistance. Before a disaster, users should turn off system power and reduce water use. When a seasonal vacation home is left empty, the septic system should already be prepared for a natural disaster. During the disaster, proceed to follow the emergency and evacuation advice for your area. Correspond with your local health department and have the system inspected before returning to regular use when the emergency has passed.

With roughly 20% of U.S. houses relying on a septic systems, it’s important that owners are educated and aware of how to respond during a natural disaster. Check out NEHA’s guidelines to make sure you’re ready!

Blog contribution was written by Jill Wallitschek

The Private Well Class is a collaboration between the Rural Community Assistance Partnership and the University of Illinois, through the Illinois State Water Survey and the Illinois Water Resources Center, and funded by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.