Home Safety and Septic Tanks

Does your home have a septic tank? Does your neighbor’s? Renters and homeowners should be aware of the variety of reasons that septic tanks are dangerous to children and adults.

One danger of septic tanks is their accessibility from the ground. Wells run to septic tanks. Although they should be closed tightly, if they are not, children can fall into tanks and become stuck. Make it your responsibility to know where your septic tank access is located and keep it covered and locked. Place something decorative like a statue on top of it to make it easy to find.

Maintaining your septic tank is also potentially dangerous. Septic tanks trap various noxious odors and gases, making even the opening hazardous. People can pass out and fall into the tank itself and die. Maintaining a tank takes specialized gear and training. Never work near a septic tank alone. Your property insurance might cover damage to septic tanks and other sewage problems. Septic tanks are highly flammable. Do not use open flames or smoke while near a septic tank.

Old septic tanks are a huge hazard. They may be structurally unsound. Even in areas far from openings they may pose a danger to children by causing sinkholes or cave-ins. Seepage from old tanks is also a major problem. Many of the by-products of septic waste are toxic if inhaled or ingested. They can also foul water lines and poison drinking water. Septic backups into living spaces expose families to bacteria and viral infection.