The Ottumwa Courier

February 25, 2014

Health Department Reminds Residents of Winter Septic System Safety


Marion County Public Health

Knoxville — The Marion County Department of Public Health and area septic system contractors have seen an increase in freezing septic systems due to a very cold winter and frost running deep into the ground.

Rural residents using a septic system should not run water to keep water lines open if the discharge is going into the septic system.  A constant addition of water into a septic system can cause the system to freeze up which will lead to back-ups into the home.  Rural residences should find an alternative way to keep water lines flowing.

“Lots of communities are having trouble with freezing water lines, which is a fairly new issue for the larger systems,” said Cory Frank Environmental Health Program Manager, Marion County Department of Public Health.  “The easy fix is to tell people it’s a good idea to let the water drip.  That is one of the worst ideas for a septic system because it really increases the risk of freeze up.”

Here are additional tips to help prevent septic system freezing:

• No drips – don’t let your water run if using septic system

• Be sure to fix all dripping fixtures (faucets, toilets)

• Heaters – use an immersion type tank heater to help keep the tank unfrozen (commonly called stock tank heater)

• Caution – condensation discharge from high efficiency furnaces can contribute if connected to the septic system

• Pile snow or use cover over the top of septic tank

If you are having freezing issues, please contact a certified septic system installer.

For more information about septic systems, please call (641) 828-2246 Ext 250