Sewage Overflow Caused by Flood Waters

The Chester County Health Department offers the following recommendations for residents who have septic/sewage systems affected by flood waters:
  • If sewage from your home is running into the road or onto properties other than your own, and you are connected to public sewers, call your local municipality (or sewer authority if one exists) to inform them of the overflow.
  • If your house is served by an on-lot sewage disposal system, it is likely that the severe weather has flooded the system. Once the severe weather has ended, it is likely that the system will need to be pumped. The owner is instructed to call a sewage pumper or other sewage contractor to inspect the system and determine if the system may also require some type of repair, in addition to pumping. It is noted that a sewage permit is required to be issued by the Health Department prior to any repairs being made to an on-site system.
  • If sewage from your system is running into a stream, notify your municipality and call the Department of Environmental Protection 24 hour emergency number - 484-250-5900.
  • If sewage is backing up into your basement or other areas of your home, the first priority is to get the sewage out of the home. Use a sump pump or other means to get the sewage outside. This is a temporary solution. Once the weather emergency has ended, call a plumber as soon as possible to have the system repaired. A sewer backup is normally caused by a clog or a break in the sewer line, or some other type of obstruction. If you are connected to public sewer and are experiencing a backup, contact your local municipality immediately as the problem may be in the sewer main. The municipality or sewer authority is normally responsible for the maintenance of the sewer main. If the obstruction is in the lateral (the line from the house to the sewer main), the homeowner is normally responsible for its maintenance. If you are connected to a septic system, the backup may be caused by a clog or broken pipe or a flooded drainfield. Please refer to the discussion in the second paragraph above.
For additional information, call 610-344-6526.