What you need to know about septic systems and the cold

Cold temperatures can cause problems if you rely on a sewer system to run your home. Frozen conditions can affect drainage or cause blockages. There are a few simple guidelines to follow when you have a sewage treatment plant on your property. Fort Bend County officials sent out these recommendations for septic tanks.

  • Do not add antifreeze to the sewer system. Antifreeze can damage the bacteria in the sewer system. This could cause major problems in the future. Pumping the tank may require a special type of waste transport.

  • Do not pump wastewater onto the soil surface.

  • Do not start a fire over the system in an attempt to thaw it

  • Do not change the water usage. For example, do not run water for a long time to defrost the system. But not using the systems at all is not the answer either. Septic tanks are more likely to freeze when not in use. So use the water in your home to reduce the risk.

The sinks do not drain. If your sewer system is frozen, none of the sinks in the house will drain. This includes the sinks in the kitchen and bathroom. Basically, the drains are clogged with ice.

Bathtubs and showers do not drain. If the septic tanks are frozen, bathtubs and showers won’t drain either. The washing machine’s water pipe does not work either.

If you have extra people in your house right now, remind them that all they can do is flush trash and toilet paper. Fort Bend County officials said they should keep an eye on your sewer system. If you find that the system is leaking or building up, contact a licensed professional.


* Not all plumbing companies are licensed to work on sewage treatment plants. So check this out before you bring someone home to you.

Homeowners with well water systems should take precautions even in the cold. Here’s how to prevent your water from freezing.

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