Septic Tank Safety Warnings
Please follow these safety rules at all times.
- Never lean over a septic tank opening or stick your head into tank to examine its interior - you could become
overcome by gases, fall into the tank, and suffocate. Leave tank cleaning and repairs to trained professionals.
- Never enter a septic tank unless you are specially trained and are wearing special equipment and gear for that
purpose, including a self-contained breathing apparatus.
- Do not go into a septic tank to retrieve someone who has fallen in and was overcome by gases unless you are
equipped with a self-contained breathing apparatus. Instead, call for emergency services and put one or more
fans at the top of the septic tank to blow in fresh air.
- Never work alone in or around a septic tank.
- Don't ignite flames or smoke cigarettes at or near the tank. This can cause an explosion.
- Be sure that the tank and its access ports have sound and secure covers that do not risk collapse and which
cannot be removed or nudged aside by children or animals.
- Beware of old, collapsing septic systems. Abandoned septic tanks with unsafe covers have caused deaths among
children, adults, pets, horses, and livestock. Watch out for evidence of sinking soil, rusted-through steel
septic tank covers, home-made wooden or flimsy tank covers, or home made cesspools and drywells which risk
- Watch for electrical hazards when digging outdoors. Watch out that you don't dig into and cut an electrical wire
(or other buried mechanical line such as a gas or water line). Buried electrical wires can look a lot like tree
- Rope off and mark dangerous sites.
- Be alert for unsanitary conditions such as surface effluent or sewage backups into buildings, events which may
expose your family to serious viral and bacterial hazards. Indoors, these backups may require professional
- Do not drive over your septic tank or septic piping. It can collapse. If a septic line must be run under a
driveway, the line must be protected with special materials or placed in a concrete-covered and protected trench
of adequate depth.