What those with homes connected to septic tank need to know before major storm

2017 hurricane season officially starts next week

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The 2017 hurricane season officially starts next week, and if you live in a home connected to a septic tank, there are some things you need to know before a major storm threatens the local area.

Earlier this week, anyone with a septic tank most likely had to deal with some type of problem as a result of the heavy rain. Consider it practice for this upcoming hurricane season.

"A symptom for a septic tank problem of any kind is 'bloop, bloop, bloop' in the toilet," said Michael McInarnay, of Jax Plumbing.

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It's a problem that can pop up when the area experiences heavy rainfall, especially if the power source for the septic pump is close to the ground.

McInarnay said electrical outlets for pumps should at least be 18 inches off the ground in the event of a flood.

"Sometimes I go to a lot of them where they're right on the ground and so if we get a flood, it's underwater and can short out the outlet and the pump," McInarnay said.

When that happens, the pump stops working and you're left with a backup of wastewater that can flow back out of your sink and toilet. Fortunately, a lot of the new septic systems are equipped with an alarm to alert you when something is not working properly.

"I tell people that when that alarm goes off, you need to hold off on washing clothes. Just do what you need to do and go call me," McInarnay said.

Here's another bit of advice: If you have a pump with an electrical outlet really close to the ground and there is a threat of a storm that can cause flooding, it's a good idea to turn off the pump to prevent it from shorting out as water begins to rise.

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