Snowmelt causing septic systems to overflow in northern Arizona

Hundreds of residents in northern Arizona are experiencing septic tank issues due to snowmelt.
Hundreds of residents in northern Arizona are experiencing septic tank issues due to snowmelt.(Arizona's Family)
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 4:55 PM MST
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FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Residents in northern Arizona are continuing to deal with problems from this year’s winter weather and record-breaking snowfall. Hundreds of residents in Flagstaff’s rural neighborhoods are reporting septic issues due to snowmelt backing up their systems. Some have even seen their septic systems flood multiple times as snowmelt continues to drench the Earth.

The Arizona Daily Sun spoke with septic cleaning companies that are keeping busy, clearing out tanks full of snowmelt. “We’ve been slammed with tons and tons of tanks just flooding out,” said Crista Bonaparte, co-owner of Busy B Septic Cleaning. “We’re pulling out tanks that have like 1,000-gallon capacities, we’re pulling out 2,500 gallons because as we’re pumping, water is just pouring back in.” The company says they have pumped between 75-100 systems for homes that have been experiencing runoff issues.

It may be almost April but a taste of winter blasted the High Country on Thursday.

According to the Arizona Daily Sun, septic cleaning companies have helped residents around Mountainaire, Baderville, Locket Ranches, and Munds Park near Flagstaff. Visiting homeowners in Munds Park also told the Arizona Daily Sun that they’ve considered going home and returning once the area is dry. Others said they’ve decided to move in with friends in Flagstaff or stay in a motel until the ground dries again.

The overflowing of septic tanks has also impacted the area’s water wells, bringing bacteria such as E. coli and brown water coming out of faucets. Homeowners need to buy bottled water and have their well water tested regularly. The Arizona Daily Sun says that as things dry out and septic systems stop flooding, dilution will solve most of the contamination issues.

The National Weather Service in Phoenix is predicting more moisture this week, which they say will accelerate the snowmelt.