The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) recently issued a warning saying that during heavy rains and floods, the ground can become saturated and in such time, residents who use septic tanks might face some severe problems.
Thad Pittman, director of the community and environmental protection division for ADPH, said low-lying areas which floods without heavy rain are not rare. In order to help residents in such areas and provide them relief, the ADPH has suggested people to reduce the use of water when possible. They have urged people to reduce toilet flushing, dish washing, washing of clothes and showering.
Pittman said, “It’s not a fun thing if you can’t flush your toilet, or you can’t take a shower, or you can’t wash dishes. But at least this will help them some until it can dry out”.
The department officials also suggest that the residents must inspect disposal areas for depressions where rainwater ponding may occur. They recommend that people should fill those depressions with soil.
The ADPH also advises to check roof draining and gutters to ensure that rainwater run-off is diverted away from the disposal area. People having septic tank pumped out every three to five years must eliminate sludge build-up, recommends ADPH.
Until and unless the water is completely free of contaminants, residents must only use clear water which has been brought to a full boil for one minute, according to the ADPH.
Private wells covered by flood water might have also been contaminated, therefore it is advised to not drink water from your well or feed it to your animals.