Septic Tank Dangers
Septic tanks are very dangerous installations. Hundreds of people are killed worldwide every year due to septic tank lids collapsing underneath them, or by being overcome by septic tank gases and falling in.
Never enter into a septic tank unless you have had all the necessary training and are wearing the necessary safety clothing including self contained breathing equipment.
Never work alone on a septic tank. Getting stuck alone in a septic tank or falling into one, can be fatal, even with a maintenance team member on the ground above you, let alone if you are on your own. Dangerous gases including Methane and Hydrogen Sulphide may be present and with the possibility of being overcome by these noxious gases, working alone is not a safe option.
Never stand on a septic tank. Hydrogen Sulphide converts to Sulphuric Acid on contact with a moist surface and if this happens to be the concrete lid of your septic tank, the acid will eat into the concrete over time and destroy it. In 2010, 14 people died in a single incident due to a septic tank lid collapsing under them.
Never, ever, lean over into a septic tank as you could quite easily fall into the opening or even become overwhelmed by the gases, causing you to fall in.
Ventilation is essential due to the gases produced by the decomposing organic matter. If no ventilation is present, the septic tank will soon become an explosive environment. One should also bear in mind that in a confined environment like a septic tank, Methane can become an asphyxiate which kills you in seconds.
Never go into or lean over a septic tank to help someone who has fallen in. You may both be knocked unconcious by the toxic gases present. Throw a rope in from a distance and call the emergency services for assistance.
The gases present in a septic tank are very toxic and combustible therefore never light a naked flame, strike a match or flick a lighter anywhere near a septic tank.
If it is noted during the inspection of the septic tank that the tank covers are damaged or parts of the installation have collapsed then the area should be marked off indicating to other people that danger is present in the impending area until the necessary repairs are undertaken.
Never drive over septic tank installations or pipes.
Be very careful when digging around septic tanks as electrical cables may be present.
Always arrange for a septic tank inspection by experts before you buy a house with a septic tank system.
When a septic tank comes to the end of its life, either dig it out or fill it in. Do not just leave it as it could become a death trap.