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sewage restoration

Sewage Backup Information for Residential Homeowners

Coming home to find a sewage backup is no one’s fantasy. Many homeowners cross their fingers and toes and hope that one day they don’t come home to the smell of something… unpleasant smelling emanating from their bathroom, basement, or elsewhere on the property. But the fact is, sewage backups do happen for an array of reasons (which we’ll get to soon). And there’s a lot more you can do to prevent and minimize the potential damage to your home, should it happen to you one day. If you’ve just come home to a disaster and are here looking for guidance on what to do next, we’ve got you. All of this information is also beneficial to know before a situation arises. 

Sewage restoration – Causes of a sewage backup

First, let’s take a look at some of the things that may have caused a sewage backup in your home or on your property. However, it is important to keep in mind that sometimes there’s no real “reason” or anything that could have been done to prevent it. The pipes are simply outdated. This brings us to our first point… Aging and outdated sewer systems. Everything has a shelf life, even city-wide sewer systems.

  • An inundated sewer system. Potentially from excess rainwater, storm debris, or large dumping of snow.
  • Broken or collapsed pipes or sewer lines.
  • A deteriorating or broken sewer lateral. This is the pipeline that connects your home and the city’s sanitary sewer main.
  • Tree roots seeking out water and entering sewer lines
  • Blockages originating from your internal plumbing system
  • Blockages in the city sanitary mains, commonly trees, branches, and trash.
  • Sump pump failure. This, of course, only applies to those who have a sump pump within their home.

 Potential damages that can occur after a sewage backup

Sewage backups are often followed by a plethora of other issues, especially if the situation isn’t dealt with fast and effectively. Potential damages that could follow, and are not limited to, include the following.

  • Sickness from exposure to raw sewage.
  • Water damage requires a full sewage restoration process; inspecting, removing, restoring, cleaning, and sanitizing.
  • The structural integrity of your home or landscape could be compromised if the damage is extreme or, unfortunately, located.
  • Costly repairs.
  • Mold growth, resulting in more potential health risks. 

Sewage Restoration – What to do upon finding a sewage backup issue

Sewage backup contains contaminants and often excessive amounts of water. The longer you allow the sewage materials to sit in your home, the likelihood of you and the other inhabitants getting sick rises. And the longer the watery materials sit, they will sink into your home, and before you know it, you could have extensive water damage on your hands. 

First steps

  • Do NOT flush the toilets. Flushing your toilet during a sewage backup can actually backfire, and the bowl may begin spilling over with everything you were attempting to flush away.
  • In some cases, it may be necessary to turn off the water main and contact a plumber.
  • Keep your children and pets far away from the affected rooms.
  • Grab a pair of latex gloves or work gloves to avoid contamination.
  • Do your best to avoid touching raw sewage. If you do, wash your hands immediately, and don’t touch anything in between.
  • If a municipal sewer system serves your area, contact them as soon as possible.
  • Contact your local health department if your property is installed with a septic system. 
  • Call your insurance provider and allow them to guide you through the impending process.
  • Call a professional sewage backup restoration company to extract the raw sewage and begin the cleanup and restoration process.

Can I get sick from exposure to sewage backup?

The short answer is yes. You can absolutely get sick from exposure to sewage backup materials. Let’s pause and consider what sewage backup actually is. It’s everything that you have sent down the drain. So you might think that the water from hand washing and cleaning dishes isn’t so bad. But what about the food scraps, dirty water, and human feces that have been flushed down the toilet and drains? Yeah, ew. Aside from the ew factor, sewage backup often contains bacteria that, if ingested or absorbed, could lead to gastrointestinal issues, respiratory issues, and skin irritations or rashes. 

Sewage Restoration – Protective gear checklist

  • Coveralls. Ideally, ones that can be tucked into your boots and have a hood to pull over your head to prevent contamination. 
  • Gloves. Either worker gloves or latex gloves. After you have used the latex gloves once, they should be thrown out and a fresh pair put on each time.
  • A mask. Trust us, you don’t want anything that is lurking in this water to splash up and enter your mouth. It won’t taste good, and you could get sick. 
  • Protective eyewear. Either clear goggles or safety glasses.
  • Work boots or rubber boots. If you don’t have work boots, rubber rain boots will suffice.
  • If the issue is extreme and structural integrity is a concern, a hard hat or helmet.
  • Additionally, ensure you wash your hands or shower after any cleaning or inspection processes.

Should I DIY or hire a sewage restoration expert?

At this point, you may be trying to estimate the cost of all of these repairs and processes in your head and contemplating doing the restoration yourself. You say to yourself; I’m pretty handy; I can fix the odd thing around the house; I can do this. Well, unless you are a fellow sewage restoration professional in the industry, know the procedures and process, and have access to professional equipment, we’re going to advise you don’t DIY. 

A professional sewage restoration professional will know what needs to be done and in what order. They will know what safety considerations need to be made. They will know what warning signs to look out for in regard to future issues like mold growth, water damage,  and compromised foundations. In addition to this, they will have all of the equipment and resources needed to handle the job thoroughly. 

Things to do to mitigate and minimize sewage backup damage

Proactive tasks

  • Make sure that your sump pump, downspouts, and rain gutters are not connected to your house’s sanitary sewer line. They carry objects that can overload your sanitary sewer pipes’ capacity.
  • Confirm that your external downspouts, gutters, and drains are directed away from the foundation of your house.
  • Consider getting large trees and bushes cut down that are at risk of spreading their roots and interfering with your sewer lines. You can refer to an arborist for help on this.
  • Avoid using carpets in lower-level floorings, like basements. If exposed to sewage backup, they would be required to be removed. 
  • If you don’t already have one, consider installing a sump pump. This pumps out water and liquids that pool in the lowest point of your home. This minimizes the likelihood of severe flood damage.
  • Keep prized personal possessions above flood level. For example, avoid leaning paintings and photographs against the wall; get them hung higher with a hook. 

Most importantly, remember to act fast and ensure your and your family’s safety first and foremost. If you’re looking for help with a sewage restoration job, give us a call, and we’ll be on-site ASAP!

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What our clients say

What an amazing response! I had a great experience with Restoration Operators – Connecticut! I called them immediately after my house flooded and they came out within 45 min. It’s a great choice!

Joe Rios

Amazing job. Our basement flooded twice
and the did outstanding work drying it out
quickly. Very responsive and were very easy
to work with.

Jack Thomas

I cannot express how grateful I am for the amazing service provided by this sewage cleanup company. They arrived promptly and efficiently cleaned up the mess left by a broken sewer line. 

Wayne Hunter

Restoration Operators did an awesome job for us fixing water damage! We would not hesitate to recommend them to friends and to use this company again if the need arises.

Lindy Nelson