Natural Disaster Assistance for Missouri Citizens - Disaster Response for On-Site Wastewater (Septic) Systems

Department of Natural Resources fact sheet
03/2014
Department of Natural Resources Director: Sara Parker Pauley
PUB00761

1-800-361-4827

Natural disasters can damage on-site wastewater systems. Some of the systems may be so damaged that repairs will be required before they will work again. Health and safety hazards can exist from exposed sewage and damaged systems. Take personal safety precautions when examining your system for damage and when making repairs.

Many septic tank systems at individual properties may be flooded. Most of these systems will remain inoperable until the flood water recede and the ground where the sewage is absorbed becomes somewhat dry. Some of these systems may be so damaged that repairs will be required before they will work again.

One big problem with a septic tank that doesn’t work is the release of untreated sewage onto the top of the ground or into stagnant pools left behind by the flood. The pooled sewage from these tanks can be significant health hazard. The other big problem is the backup of sewage into the building, caused by a blockage that results from the damaged tank system or piping.

Recommendations:

Wastewater System Abandonment
Some on-site wastewater systems might be abandoned after a natural disaster. The following are recommendations that will help ensure that the site formerly used for wastewater treatment and disposal is safe:

Produced in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.