What To Do When You Have A Septic Tank Emergency

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Septic tank emergencies can be stressful and inconvenient, but understanding how to respond and taking immediate action can help minimize damage, prevent health hazards, and save you from costly repairs. In this blog post, we will discuss the key steps to take when faced with a septic tank emergency.

1. Identify the Signs of a Septic Tank Emergency:

Recognizing the signs of a septic tank emergency is crucial. Symptoms may include foul odors, gurgling sounds coming from drains or toilets, slow draining sinks, toilets that won’t flush, or sewage backups. If you experience any of these warning signs, it’s important to act quickly to prevent further damage.

2. Prioritize Health and Safety:

During a septic tank emergency, the health and safety of you and your family should be your number one priority. Avoid contact with untreated sewage and hazardous waste materials. Keep children and pets away from the affected area and ensure that everyone washes their hands thoroughly to minimize the risk of contamination.

3. Shut Off Water and Electricity:

If you experience a septic tank emergency, it’s important to shut off the water supply to prevent additional sewage from entering the system. Locate the water shut-off valve near the septic tank and turn it off. Additionally, turning off the electricity in the affected area reduces the risk of electrical shock.

4. Avoid Additional Water Usage:

To minimize the stress on your septic system and prevent further damage, it’s crucial to refrain from using excess water during a septic tank emergency. Avoid doing laundry, taking showers, or using the dishwasher until the problem is resolved. Reducing water usage will help avoid overwhelming the septic tank and prevent additional backups.

5. Call a Professional Septic Tank Specialist:

While some minor septic tank issues may be resolved on your own, most emergencies require the expertise of a professional septic tank specialist. Time is of the essence, so contact a reputable septic tank professional as soon as possible. They will assess the situation, identify the cause of the emergency, and provide appropriate solutions to fix the problem.

6. Clear the Area:

While waiting for the septic tank specialist to arrive, it’s important to clear the area and remove any valuable or fragile items near the affected area. This will not only protect your belongings from potential damage but also allow the professional to work efficiently.

7. Take Preventive Measures:

Once the immediate emergency is resolved, it’s crucial to take preventive measures to avoid future septic tank problems. Regular septic tank maintenance, such as pumping and inspection, will help identify potential issues before they become emergencies. Avoid disposing of non-biodegradable items, grease, or excessive chemicals down your drains to prevent clogs and damage to the septic system.

8. Inform Your Insurance Provider:

In some cases, your homeowner’s insurance may cover repairs and damages caused by septic tank emergencies. Contact your insurance provider to understand your coverage and ensure that you follow any necessary procedures for filing a claim. Providing photos and documentation of the emergency can help streamline the process.


When faced with a septic tank emergency, it’s essential to act quickly and take immediate steps to minimize damage, ensure health and safety, and seek professional assistance. By recognizing the signs, shutting off water and electricity, and contacting a specialist, you can resolve the issue efficiently. Remember to prioritize preventive maintenance to avoid future emergencies and consult your insurance provider to understand your coverage.

Need Septic Tank Services in Prior Lake, MN?

Since 1956, Mike’s Septic & McKinley Sewer Services has been providing the local area with an invaluable service. We are a family-owned and -operated company that takes pride in the work that we do and the relationships we build with our customers. We strive for perfection with each job we take and make sure our customers are always happy. At Mike’s Septic & McKinley Sewer Services, we specialize in everything septic. We handle anything from tank and system design to the actual installation. We do septic system and tank repairs, cleaning, pumping, and routine maintenance. We also do tank and system compliance inspections and certification. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!