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Can I Get Sick From My Septic Tank?

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

The short answer is YES, it is possible to get sick from the fumes emitted from a tank or leach field that needs maintenance or repair. You can also become sick with contact of wastewater.


If your system is failing it can send mold spores back into your home, which may cause issues for those with asthma or mold allergies.

Septic fumes can carry airborne bacteria that can cause sinus infection and other respiratory problems. Fumes are made of a mixture of gases: ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane & carbon dioxide. At low levels, they can stink but may not be toxic, but chronic exposure or exposure to higher levels of the gas can cause symptoms of sewer gas poisoning.​


  • fatigue

  • headaches

  • dizziness/light headedness

  • nausea or vomiting

  • poor memory or concentration

More severe symptoms will be present if you have had prolonged exposure or higher levels of exposure:

  • loss of smell

  • mouth, throat, lung irritation

  • eye irritations/pink eye

and more sever symptoms can include seizure, coma, or even death.

Diseases caused by sewage or sewage contaminated water are listed below. For more info on them, go to the CDC website.

  • campylobacteriosis

  • cryptosporidiosis

  • e-coli diarrhea

  • encephalitis

  • gastroenteritis

  • giardiasis

  • hepatitis A

  • leptospirosis

  • poliomyelitis

  • salmonellosis

  • shigellosis

  • paratyphoid fever

  • typhoid fever

  • yersiniosis

  • methaemoglobinaemia (see EPA.gov for more info)

There has been no evidence found at this time that a person can get COVID from wastewater.


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