A sewer emergency occurs when a blockage, obstruction, or pipe damage keeps wastewater from moving freely through the sewer system. It can happen as a backup or a sewage spill, both creating an overwhelming and frustrating mess.

While it might seem like just a messy inconvenience, a sewage emergency can cause a host of hazardous situations that can severely impact your health and home. Prompt and thorough cleanup is crucial to protect your property, safeguard your and your loved ones’ health, and get things back to normal as soon as possible.

The first step to protecting what matters to you is identifying and understanding the main hazards of an emergency sewer backup.Sewage Hazard Clean Up

1. Electrical Dangers and Fires

Water conducts electricity, and if it comes into contact with exposed wires or outlets, it can lead to short circuits, electrical shocks, and, worst-case scenario, fires. The combination of water and electricity can be deadly, causing significant damage to your property and putting your family’s safety at risk.

If the sewer water has already reached any plugs, electrical outlets, or appliances, it’s best to stay on a dry surface and keep everyone away from pipes, ladders, and other metal objects. You may turn off your home’s main power supply if it is safe; otherwise, it’s best to get help from sewage cleanup experts and wait for them to handle the situation.

2. Contamination and Diseases

One of the most concerning hazards of an emergency sewer backup is the potential for contamination and the spread of diseases. Sewage water contains a plethora of harmful bacteria, viruses, and pathogens that can pose serious health risks to you and your loved ones, like the following:

  • Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a type of bacteria present in contaminated water, raw vegetables, or undercooked meat. It can also be transmitted through person-to-person contact, causing symptoms like severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea.
  • Hepatitis A virus is a highly infectious virus that spreads through direct contact with an infected person or ingestion of contaminated food or drink.
  • Norovirus, also called the “winter stomach bug,” can be contracted by ingesting contaminated food and water. Symptoms of Norovirus include severe vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Rotavirus is a highly infectious stomach bug present in an infected person’s stool and can be spread through hand-to-mouth contact. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.

Direct contact with contaminated water can lead to infections and diseases, even through a small cut or open wound. The foul odors emitted from the backup can also negatively impact indoor air quality and exacerbate respiratory conditions, making professional sewage removal and cleanup services critical.

3. Chemical Exposure

Sewer symptoms are not just conduits for waste; they can also carry various chemicals and hazardous substances.

During a sewer emergency, these chemicals can be released into your living spaces, increasing your risk of exposure. Depending on the substances present in the sewer water, exposure can cause skin irritation, eye problems, respiratory issues, and other health concerns.

One can never know what chemicals are and are not present in a sewer backup or spill, so it’s crucial to exercise caution at all times and seek professional help for cleanup immediately.

4. Property Damage

Like any other liquid, sewer water can soak your floors, walls, and other nearby structures. Without prompt cleanup and intervention, the resulting damp conditions can cause issues such as wood rot, structural damage, and loss of personal belongings.

It’s also worth noting that sewer emergencies can cause or result in plumbing problems – or both. Backup-causing clogs can exert excessive pressure on your drainage systems, eventually causing pipes to burst and fittings to fail. However, burst pipes and leaky fixtures can also result in spills and water damage hiding behind walls, floors, and ceilings.

Performing a cleanup after a sewage emergency is challenging because it often requires restoring affected structures. While some can be saved, most components damaged by contaminated water must be removed and replaced to secure your family’s health and safety.

5. Mold

A sewage emergency introduces a significant amount of moisture into your home and property, creating the ideal conditions for mold to grow and multiply.

Microbial growth affecting your living spaces can lead to various health issues, especially for those with allergies and respiratory conditions. It can also stain and contaminate your surfaces, walls, and ceilings, compromising your building’s structural integrity over time and further adding to your restoration costs.

A certified property restoration company offering both sewage cleanup and mold remediation services can help you make your home clean, healthy, and comfortable again.

What To Do After an Emergency Sewer Backup

There are significant health and safety risks involved in dealing with a sewer backup or spill, so it’s best to allow professionals to handle the cleanup and restoration task for you. They are better equipped with the skills and tools needed to address the mess, eliminate odor, sanitize the affected area, and prevent mold.

However, while waiting for help to arrive, taking these simple steps can help you get started with the restoration process smoothly:

  • Turn off the main power supply if it is safe and easy to do so. Otherwise, stay in a dry area.
  • Avoid contact with a sewage backup or spill, and never wade in flood waters as they may contain disease-causing microorganisms.
  • Throw away all foods exposed to contaminated water. Milk, cheese, and other food items that spoil quickly must also be discarded as soon as possible to minimize the chances of contamination.

Reclaim Your Home and Life After a Sewer Emergency

An emergency sewer backup presents many hazards that can compromise the health and safety of your family, damage your property, and create long-term problems.

Understanding these potential hazards can guide you on what to do when sewage disasters strike. Avoiding direct contact with contaminated water, ensuring electrical safety, and watching out for chemical exposure, property damage, and mold all help you mitigate the impact of a sewer backup or spill on your life.

However, when it comes to the main cleanup work, it’s best to seek assistance from skilled and experienced professionals like Restoration 1. They can tackle critical sewage removal and cleanup tasks using modern equipment and industry-approved techniques to return your environment to normal.

The threat of disease and property damage is a harsh reality for homeowners experiencing a sewer emergency. Get in touch today to find a local Restoration 1 team ready to perform professional sewage removal and cleanup 24/7.