Trash Disposal and Septic Systems after Weather Emergencies

Keep trash covered and away from your home when cleaning up after a weather emergency. If plumbing is flooded, don't use your septic system and consider portable toilets.

Take out the Trash

Local authorities will announce when and where trash collection will occur to pick up the large amounts of waste you will likely collect during cleanup.

  • Avoid insects, bacteria, and rodents by storing garbage in heavy duty garbage bags inside containers with tight lids.
    Keep garbage in a convenient location, away from your drinking water well and home.
  • Place flood-damaged, hazardous household materials (pesticides, fertilizers, paints) in leak-proof containers and remove them from the home for proper disposal.
  • If pests are a problem, purchase mouse and rat traps at hardware, lawn, garden, and grocery stores.

Septic Systems

Do not use your septic system (toilets, washing machine, etc.) if the soil around the system is flooded. Wastewater can rise and mix with surface water, exposing people to human waste. If you are unable to use the toilet(s) in your home, use portable toilets, such as those used for camping. Your community may set up commercial portable toilets for use during emergencies.

Once floodwaters have gone down, have your septic system professionally inspected and serviced if you suspect damage. Signs of damage include sluggish plumbing, sewage backup, and soil erosion around the drain field. Do not pump the septic tank and do not dig or construct around the drain field while the area is flooded. Contact your health department for assistance.