Common Health Risks Caused by Septic System Failures

June 8th, 2020 | By | Posted in Uncategorized |
Pumping Septic Tank

When a septic tank overflows or your septic system otherwise fails, it’s more than just a nuisance–it’s a genuine health risk for everyone who lives on your property. Your septic tank holds toxic waste that can be a threat to your health in more ways than one. So if your septic system fails, it’s vital to get septic service in Atlanta, GA, right away. If you don’t, here are just a few of the most common health risks you’ll be facing.


When a septic system is failing, the fumes from your system can back up into your home. These fumes can be toxic to both the human and animal inhabitants of your home. One of the fumes that can enter your home in this way is methane gas. It’s colorless, odorless, and tasteless, so you might not even know that it’s seeping into your home. While methane itself is not toxic, it’s what’s known as a simple asphyxiant; this means it displaces the oxygen in your home and can make it more difficult to breathe. It’s also highly flammable and can easily explode.


Another gas that can seep into your home during septic system failure is nitrate. This gas is especially dangerous to any infant in your home. If ingested, it interferes with the blood’s ability to transport oxygen throughout the body. This can lead to methemoglobinemia, or “blue baby” syndrome, which can be fatal.


Sulfide gas can easily be sniffed out and has a smell resembling rotten eggs. At low levels, sulfide can cause shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, and eye irritation. It some individuals, it can also cause fluid to build in the lungs. Prolonged exposure, even at low levels, can lead to headaches, irritability, dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite, memory loss, and pneumonia. If high levels of sulfide accumulate in your home, they can lead to loss of consciousness and even death.

A Threat to Drinking Water

If you have a water source on your property, a failing septic system is an even bigger health hazard. Untreated sewage from a failing tank can contaminate drinking water; in fact, it’s the most frequent cause of groundwater contamination. If your septic tank contaminates your water source and you drink it, you’re at risk of all of the following illnesses:

  • Typhoid fever
  • Dysentery
  • Acute gastrointestinal illness
  • Hepatitis

These are just a few of the more serious illnesses you might develop; the full list of illnesses that can be caused by untreated sewage is extremely long and can’t all be included here. If sewage leaks enough that it begins soaking the land above it, contact with this sewage water also poses the same health threats as the ones outlined above.

The best way to prevent septic system failure from occurring is regular maintenance and septic tank pumping in Atlanta, GA. Take care of your system, and you’ll be protecting the health of everyone on your property. If your septic system does begin to fail, it’s vital to get it repaired the moment that you know something is amiss. Every moment you wait is a moment you’re putting your family at risk! Give us a call today to schedule your inspection or other septic tank service.

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