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Homeowner’s Guide to Cleaning Up a Sewer Backup

May 30,2019 | SEWER & DRAIN

Guide to Cleaning Up a Sewer Backup

Sewage backups are commonly caused by burst pipes, clogs, and sometimes tree roots growing into the pipes.

Whether it was an accident or not, a sewer backup and it’s spillage can be difficult to deal with.

Dealing with a sewage backup is one of the most hazardous and foul incidents a homeowner can face. Learn how to handle it properly to prevent danger.

Turn off Utilities if Necessary

Before you even start to deal with the deal with the sewage backup, you should turn off most utilities.

For example, you should have the gas and electric turned off by contacting the utility company. You’ll need to do this if the backup happened in your basement or near any appliances or electrical outlets.

There may even be extension cords or live wires in the sewage that you aren’t even aware of.

This will help make sure that you don’t accidentally electrocute yourself, and that you can remove the sewage safely.

You should also turn off any running water to that drain so that it doesn’t push more sewage out. The water may be helping to spread the sewage and contaminate the areas around it.

There could be a burst pipe that is helping with this, but you can fix this problem by just making sure you turn off the water.

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If there are items that weren’t touched or affected by the water and sewage, remove them and place them somewhere else. You may be able to save these items. By having these items out of the way, it may make it easier for you to start repairing and cleaning.

Remove Sewage

The next step is to remove the sewage.

First, you should get rid of the water from the sewage backup. If the water levels aren’t too high, you can use a wet/dry vacuum if you have it.

However, if the water levels are too high, you will need a pump to make sure you can get it all out.

Once you’ve removed the water, you should try and move out anything that is in your way. For example, this could be furniture, clothes, toys, boxes — anything movable that was affected. Once you remove it, you can separate it into two piles.

One pile can be for things that you will be able to salvage, and the other pile can be for things that should be thrown out. Throw out the contaminated items in a trash bag and clear it from the area.

Clean up the Area

After you’ve removed all the items, then you can start spraying down the area. Even though you’ve gotten most of the water out, there still might be some sewage on the floors and possibly even sticking to the walls.

To get rid of this, you can get a garden hose and start spraying the contaminated area. You may need your vacuum or pump again to get rid of the water from this.

If there are solids left on the floor, just sweep them up and put them in a garbage bag.

After you hose most of it down, you can get a bucket of cleaning solution and a bucket of warm water and start disinfecting and scrubbing the area. You want to get rid of any bacteria the sewage may have left.

To make sure you don’t have to do extra work, start in the back of the area and make your way closest to the exit.

Make sure that you try and clean the mess as soon as possible. The longer the sewage sits there, the more of a chance it has that it can contaminate other things and cause illnesses.

However, don’t feel like you need to rush it so fast that you make a mistake and end up causing more damage or harm to yourself.

Clean Yourself

Once you’re done cleaning the contaminated area, now you need to make sure you clean yourself and anyone else who may have been in the area.

Don’t let any pets or children into the area, and let others know what happened.

Sewage spills can cause serious illnesses because they can contain all kinds of viruses, parasites, and bacteria. It’s important to take precautions when handling the situation because you could possibly contract Hepatitis A.

While you’re cleaning, you should open any windows and doors to try and ventilate the area to make sure you’re not breathing in all of the waste and chemicals.

Make sure that you take a hot shower and wash all of your body with antibacterial soap. You should also get a small brush for under your nails to make sure that there is no bacteria hiding under there either.

You shouldn’t eat or drink until you are done with that because you could risk putting some of the bacteria in your mouth.

Know When to Call a Professional

Sometimes you can clean up the spill by yourself, but if you’re not sure you think you can handle it, it’s always best to call a professional.

If the sewage backup spillage is too much for you don’t hesitate getting help from someone better equipped.

For example, if the sewage spill is on more than one room in your house, you will probably have to call a professional. Some other examples where you might have to call in help would be:

  • The sewage has been sitting out for more than a day
  • You think that the sewage may have had contact with the air conditioning system
  • The spill was from a septic tank or sewer
  • You or someone else has health concerns that prevent you from trying to clean it yourself

If you are debating whether or not to call a professional, don’t wait long. The longer the water and sewage sits in your house, the higher risk you have of contamination.

Clear Out Your Sewage Backup Today

A sewer backup can be a big problem to deal with.

Luckily, you don’t have to handle it all on your own.

To ensure your health and safety, contact us for a quote today. Our plumbing team can handle any sewer backup situation before it turns into a more serious problem.

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