Harsh winter weather can create many problems for property owners, but this time of year is especially hard on septic systems. If you don’t take the proper precautions to protect your septic tank when the temperatures drop, it may sustain serious damage or leave you dealing with a messy situation. As such, it’s important to know potential complications that could arise and what you can do to prevent them. Here are some of the most common issues that occur during the colder months.

Winter Septic Problems to Avoid

1. Frozen Components

When temperatures plummet, the pipes, tank, and various other parts of your septic system are at risk of freezing. If this happens, the wastewater leaving your home can’t be broken down properly, which may result in a system overload. It will also present a health hazard if wastewater builds up in a frozen line and causes it to burst. To avoid this, cover the ground over your tank with mulch, straw, or leaves for insulation, and plant vegetation nearby to provide a barrier against the cold. Additionally, use the system daily to keep warm water flowing through the pipes.

2. Overloaded Tanks

septic systemThe winter months often bring more house guests, such as college students returning home from break. In turn, your septic system will experience an increase in usage with all of the extra cooking, showers, laundry, and toilet flushing. The added stress can lead to backups and breakdowns. You can prevent an overloaded tank by making sure your visitors understand what can and can’t go down the drains and toilet, preparing big meals over a couple of days, and staggering out showers and laundry. It’s also wise to schedule a septic pumping before guests arrive to reduce the risk of the tank overflowing.

3. Compacted Snow & Soil

With snow accumulation on your property, your septic system and drain field area may not be easily visible. Thus, cars and plows could drive right over them. This will compact the snow and soil on the surface, causing a variety of problems. Compacted snow and soil aren’t effective at insulating the tank, which means it will become vulnerable to freezing. Too much pressure over the system can also damage the tank and pipes. Remove excess snow from this area as soon as possible, and be sure to tell visitors where it’s safe to drive and park.                                                                                                                                                                             


If you need septic system maintenance or repairs this season, turn to Great Bear Septic Service in Putnam County, NY. They offer a range of high-quality septic solutions that will keep your tank working efficiently through the winter. Using their extensive industry expertise, they’re proud to serve residents throughout Westchester and Southern Dutchess counties. Call (845) 621-0250 to schedule an inspection or visit them online to learn more about their services.