A sewage backup is no joke—in addition to unpleasant odors and expensive property damage, this kind of disaster is dangerous to the health and safety of occupants and cleanup crews.
If the damage is minimal, the steps below will guide you through the cleanup process. However, Professional Restoration recommends that businesses and homeowners call an experienced restoration company to ensure sewage cleanup and repair work is sanitary and safe.
Got a backed up sewage line? Professional Restoration can help! Call 303-922-4001 to speak with an expert now.
Health Hazards and Cleanup Concerns
When sewers back up into office spaces and homes, the damaged area must be properly cleaned and disinfected to reduce the risk of disease.
Untreated sewage contains disease-causing organisms like bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Contact with contaminated water can cause painful skin irritations and rashes.
Accidentally ingesting contaminants may cause nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and could result in hepatitis A.
Inhaling airborne microorganisms can cause respiratory infections and allergic reactions.
Contact with contaminated water should be avoided at all costs. For minor damage, wear rubber boots, protective gloves, goggles, and a facemask. If the water is standing or making contact with electrical outlets, do not attempt cleanup.
Extensive sewage damage should be left to professionals who specialize in this kind of cleanup. Experienced cleanup crews have the required equipment and safety gear needed to mitigate water damage, disinfect the space, and rebuild where necessary.
Professional Restoration is also a useful resource for homeowners dealing with insurance companies. We’ll document the damage thoroughly and advocate for your losses.
For fast and reliable sewage cleanup, call 303-922-4001 today!
What Causes Sewage Backup?
In most residential cases, homeowners will see signs of a backup before an overflow occurs. Drains will often emit a foul smell and slow draining bathtubs or laundry lines are a red flag.
There are several ways sewage backup can become a problem for unsuspecting property owners. The most common causes are due to:
- Broken/leaking pipes—tree roots, ageing or corroded building materials, like clay or fiber conduit sewer lines, are often problems leading to extensive water damage.
- Blocked pipes—avoid using the toilet as a waste basket. Don’t flush things like paper towels, diapers, or sanitary napkins. Avoid dumping oil, grease, or large food pieces in the garbage disposal.
- Poorly designed sewer systems—newly developed housing communities corporate campuses may suffer inadequate system capacity.
- Heavy rain or snow melt—in Colorado, excessive precipitation can infiltrate leaky sewer pipes resulting in a backup.
- Sump pump failure—an electrical power outage can cause a sump pump to fail; a bad sewer line can also infiltrate a sump pump.
Whatever the cause, the best way to avoid sewage backup is to check plumbing, drains, and equipment on an annual basis. If you have a sump pump, a backup generator can help if the primary power fails.
Newer office spaces and homes generally come equipped with backflow prevention devices called a check valve or backwater valve. Older properties typically don’t have this safety feature. If you’re serious about deterrence, a sewer backflow prevention device is a wise investment.
How to Cleanup and Disinfect Minor Damage
If contaminated overflow water can be cleaned quickly and the affected area is relatively small, maintenance staff* or homeowners may be able to disinfect and clean on their own. This involves disinfecting and washing all surfaces and personal belongings within close proximity to the overflow. *Be sure your business is following OSHA requirements if you’re asking an employee to clean this type of mess.
Read the labels of commercial and household cleaners. When used correctly, common cleaners are safe and effective. However, mixing cleaners or disinfectants can be dangerous. For example, mixing bleach and ammonia creates chloramine and ammonium chloride, both are toxic gases.
Open windows and use fans to ensure airflow is present. This will also help mitigate moisture and deter mold or mildew.
If you’re not sure what cleaners to use, one-quarter cup of bleach mixed with a gallon of water is effective. Use this mixture to sanitize all hard surfaces. Leave this solution in contact with the affected area for at least one minute for best results.
Rinse the bleach solution off and wash with soapy water. Rinse, dry, and repeat as necessary.
For carpet or other fabrics, bleach won’t be a good sanitizer. It will fade any color on the fabric. Instead, sanitize fabrics with a less abrasive ammonia product like Lysol. Rinse, clean with soap and water, and repeat as necessary.
If overflow has seeped under the flooring or beyond what you can clean on your own, don’t take any chances: call Professional Restoration at 303-922-4001.
If sewage backup occurs, we’re ready to take the call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call or contact us online today!