Septic Emergency 9-1-1 … Don’t Panic, We’ll Get You Through It

August 15, 2019

The Municipal Water Use Report from 2011 showed that around 12.5% of Canadian households use a septic system, with their number steadily growing. Septic systems come with various benefits and their increase in popularity is understandable.

However, septic tanks need to be maintained properly and, even then, they have to be pumped so that they don’t overflow or get clogged. This is something that has to be done at minimum every 3 years but, even then, there is no guarantee that issues won’t arise.

There are many reasons why this could happen and, sometimes, it can’t be anticipated. These kinds of emergencies don’t happen that often, but still, it’s important to be prepared and to know how to react. We’ll show you how.

When Emergency Strikes, Don’t Use Any Plumbing or Appliances

septic tankThe first, most important thing you need to do if you notice that there is something wrong with your septic system is to stop using any plumbing connected to the septic tank. No matter if we are talking about your water heater, kitchen, washing machine, toilet, etc. Turn everything off and don’t let any water out.


We don’t know how bad the issue is and it’s best not to risk making the problem even worse.

If you have a toilet tank that is constantly circulating with water, make sure to close the water supply. Additionally, make sure to check your drain field to see if there is any erosion damage. This is a sign that the septic tank is backing up.

Avoid fumes

Sewage fumes are a common thing when the pipes get clogged or when the septic tank is backing up. This can cause a terrible smell that is not only unpleasant to breathe in but can also be harmful. Septic tank fumes could manifest in several areas of your home including:

  • Pipes & joints
  • ACs & heaters
  • Wastewater
  • Toilet seats
  • Drains

septic pipesThe fumes could expose you to various bacteria and diseases so, if you notice a strong smell, make sure to stay clear. If possible, open up the windows to let the smell out. The safest bet is to just leave your home until you’ve dealt with the issue.

Avoid the water

In case the water is backing up constantly, make sure to stay clear of it as well. Who knows where the water is coming from and how much it stayed in the pipes or the tank.

If there is a lot of water coming back and you want to contain it in some way to stop a potential flood, be careful. Use some thick waterproof gloves to ensure your skin isn’t exposed.

Pump out the septic tank

If you have all the necessary equipment and knowledge, open up the septic tank. If you see that it’s full, pump it out. This won’t guarantee that the problem will be completely fixed but it could buy you time until professional help arrives.

As the top Kelowna septic professionals, D&L Environmental can quickly come to your aid and help you pump out your tank if you can’t do this yourself. If the tank is full and there is water dripping around, make sure to contact us, because you might cause your septic tank to collapse.

Unless you’re well versed in septic tanks, it’s better to avoid handling anything by yourself. Call us at 250-765-0999 and our Okanagan septic experts will rush to your aid to help you.


Note: Though “9-1-1” is in the title of this article, we remind you that the 911 emergency telephone system is reserved for actual emergencies – do not call 911 for septic situations (even urgent ones) – unless someone has been injured or there is a fire.

D & L Environmental Ltd. has been doing business in the Okanagan for over 30 years. We have grown into the largest full service hydro vac & vacuum truck company in the BC Interior.

670 Beaver Lake Road
Kelowna, BC V4V 1S7

250-765-0999 (Main Number)
250-766-3260 (Lake Country)
250-769-8040 (West Kelowna)
250-769-8040 (Vernon)
236-425-2232 (Kamloops)

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    D&L Environmental is hiring experienced operators immediately for hydro vac, haz waste, septic and grease vac trucks. Very competitive wages, benefits, boot allowance, overtime etc. Out of town camp work available and as well local area work.

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