As a homeowner, sewage backups are among the last events you want to happen to your home. Wastewater coming back up your drains may not be as destructive as a fire or natural disaster, but it creates health hazards that may cause severe illnesses and injuries. If left unaddressed, it can also result in significant property damage and expensive repairs.
Sewage cleanup is a challenging and dangerous job that requires the intervention of professionals. With that said, you can take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones, minimize the damage, and kickstart the restoration process. Read on to find out.
What Is Sewage Backup?
Sewer backups happen when sewage and wastewater flow in the opposite direction and come back up a drain, sink, or toilet. This overflow of dirty water into your home typically occurs when a blockage or issue prevents wastewater from flowing freely.
The Dangers of a Sewage Backup
A wastewater overflow isn’t simply a nuisance or disruption to your comfort. Prompt and efficient sewage backup cleanup is critical because wastewater backups present the following dangers:
The contaminants in sewage spills put you and your loved ones at risk of infections and waterborne diseases. Viruses and bacteria can spread throughout your home after a wastewater backup, compromising your safety.
An excessive sewage spill can also cause severe water damage to your property. This will require you to repair or replace affected structural materials like drywall, insulation, flooring, and baseboards.
The spill can also create the ideal conditions for microbial growth. Without prompt and efficient sewage cleaning services, mold can further damage your property and introduce more health issues.
Signs of a Sewage Backup
Fortunately, there’s a way for you to avoid the hassle of dealing with wastewater mess inside your home. Have your sewer system checked as soon as possible if you notice any of these warning signs:
- The smell of rotten eggs coming from your drains
- Multiple slow-moving drains
- Gurgling noises from your toilets
- Water backing up your tub or shower drains
- Sinkholes or lush spots in your yard
Common Causes of Sewage Backup
Wastewater can flow the opposite way and back into your home for several reasons.
1. Blocked or Clogged Pipes
Clogs in the drain pipes or main sewer lines due to the buildup of hair, grease, soap, and other substances can cause wastewater to back up. However, note that a clog affecting a single drain will only cause issues in that particular area of your home. Meanwhile, a blockage in your main sewer line can cause a backup throughout multiple drains.
2. Tree Root Infiltration
Roots are naturally attracted to water and nutrients – usual components of a sewer line. As such, trees growing near your home may be the source of a root infiltration problem.
Once roots reach and penetrate your sewer line, the only way to address the issue is by cutting the roots before repairing or replacing the pipes. However, doing this yourself can end up causing further damage to your sewer lines. Consider getting professional help to resolve the infiltration problem safely and correctly.
3. Damaged Sewer Pipes
Earthquakes, sinkholes, and other movements in the earth can also damage sewer lines and increase the chances of a sewage backup. Such activities in the ground can put excessive pressure on your underground pipes, causing them to crack or break.
A cracked or collapsed sewer line can cause a blockage that causes dirty water to flow back into your home. This is why having your sewer line inspected regularly and repaired promptly is crucial.
4. Heavy Rainfall
Septic tanks can handle large volumes of water. However, too much rainwater can overwhelm the system and cause overflows. This is likely to happen during heavy rainfall or flooding due to hurricanes.
Sewer and onsite wastewater systems are not designed to handle massive volumes of water at once, increasing the possibility of a backup. Here’s a blog covering more on what to do when a septic system is flooded.
5. Older Sewer Systems
Older sewer pipes are usually made from clay, cast iron, or Orangeburg. While durable, these eventually break down and crumble with age like any other material.
If you know your sewer system is nearing or past its expected lifespan, it’s best to consider investing in a replacement before they break down and cause issues.
How To Prevent Diseases During Floods and Sewer Backups
Sewage can start flowing back into your home if even a part of your sanitary sewer system is flooded, creating a significantly hazardous situation. Here are some food safety reminders in case of a flood or sewage backup to protect yourself and your loved ones from diseases:
- Discard all food items directly exposed to flood water.
- Discard all food items stored in refrigerators and freezers that have been reached by flood water.
- Discard all partially thawed foods after a power outage unless cooked immediately.
- Completely thawed meats and vegetables must be discarded right away.
- Discard food items prone to spoilage, such as milk and cheese.
Flood water can carry contaminants and harmful microorganisms, so it’s crucial that you also keep children from playing in the water. If you do come in contact with flood or wastewater, thoroughly wash all exposed body parts and clothes.
What To Do After Sewage Backup
If you are already dealing with a sewage spill, taking the following steps helps you safeguard your home and family.
- Evacuate Everyone: In the event of excessive flooding, evacuate family and pets to a safe and dry place to protect them from accidental exposure to contaminated water.
- Turn Off the Water Supply: Turn off your water supply and refrain from using your tubs, sinks, and toilets until the backup clears. Doing so keeps the overflow from worsening and helps prevent further damage.
- Contact Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance provider about the situation as soon as possible to learn how to begin the claims process.
- Enlist Professional Sewage Cleanup: The safest and most efficient way to get your home and life back to normal is to get professionals involved promptly. Sewage cleanup companies have the skills and equipment to tackle the mess and get things back in order.
Sewage Backup Cleanup: Steps and Important Reminders
Cleaning sewage backup is not only tricky but also unpleasant and even dangerous. This is why hiring professional cleaners is highly recommended, especially when dealing with major spills.
Still, there are steps you can take to get the restoration process off to a good start while waiting for the professionals to arrive. Take note of these pointers on cleaning up sewage water to reclaim your property after a wastewater backup disaster.
1. Wear Personal Protective Gear
Before doing any cleanup work, make sure you’re wearing proper protective equipment. Protective eyewear, face mask, rubber gloves, and rubber boots are the basics you want to have. These help protect you from direct exposure to wastewater or any contaminated item.
2. Remove the Sewage Water
Cleaning sewage water entails using the appropriate equipment for the water level. Excessive wastewater requires a pump, but a wet/dry vacuum with a suitable filtration device can cover minor spills.
Once the water has been removed, shovel the remaining debris and put them in strong plastic bags for safe disposal.
3. Sort Affected Items
When sorting affected items, you want to separate those that can still be cleaned, dried, and used from those that can no longer be thoroughly sanitized and dried.
For example, all soaked carpeting, flooring, and insulation beyond saving must be removed and disposed of promptly. It’s also best to discard cosmetic products reached by flood or wastewater, as they are likely already contaminated and unsafe for use.
4. Clean All Surfaces Thoroughly
Wash down all walls, floors, and surfaces in the affected area with hot water and bacterial disinfectants. Then, scrub the walls and floors with a cleaning solution, changing the water regularly after covering a section of the room.
Rinse the entire area with clean water and allow it to air-dry by opening the windows if the weather permits.
5. Restore Affected Items
Cleaning your salvageable belongings and returning them to their proper places is crucial in your return to your routine. However, content cleanup and restoration are best left to professionals, especially when your items have been affected by a major backup event.
Experts have the proper skills and solutions to clean, sanitize, and restore water-damaged items, preventing cross-contamination and allowing you to get things back to normal.
When To Call the Professionals for Sewage Backup Cleanup
While some minor spills can be cleaned easily, professional sewage cleaning services are recommended. DIY solutions may not be as effective in making your home safe and healthy again, especially with spills affecting multiple rooms or sitting for a long time.
With professionals cleaning sewage overflows for you, your property can be restored to its pre-wastewater condition as soon as possible. Most sewage cleanup companies offer not only sewer water extraction but also water damage repair and contents pack out and restoration – all the solutions you may need to return your home to a livable and comfortable state.
Need Reliable, 24/7 Sewage Cleaning Services?
A sewer backup allows wastewater to flow back into your home and creates many problems. It can quickly introduce mess, property damage, and health hazards into your living space, disrupting your life and daily activities.
If your life has been put on hold by frustrating sewer backups, Restoration 1 is here to help. With our professional sewage backup cleanup services, we not only attend to the mess but also eliminate odor and sanitize the damaged area for your safety.
Contact us to find an expert near you. All our teams are ready to help 24/7.